Manuel Casabielle Partner

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Background

Manuel “Manny” Casabielle was born in Santa Clara, Cuba. He came to this country in 1961 as a small child. Manny has spent most of his life living in Miami, Florida. He knows the people, the culture, and the language.

Manny graduated from Coral Gables Sr. High School. He attended the University of Florida and graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He graduated from the University of Florida School of Law in 1982.

While in law school he served as a summer law clerk for a medium size civil law firm in Miami. Prior to graduation a small civil litigation firm, also in Miami, hired him. In 1983 Manny was hired by Janet Reno, State Attorney in and for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, as one of her prosecutors. While working as a prosecutor Manny tried numerous cases, from the simplest bench trial to serous felonies. It was during this time that he distinguished himself as a trial attorney and found his true passion, being a litigator.

After leaving the State Attorney’s Office Manny became a partner in a small litigation firm representing clients in criminal and civil cases, in both state and federal courts. In 1989 he opened his own firm, Manuel L. Casabielle, P.A., where he worked until joining Boyd, Richards, Parker, and Colonnelli, P.L..

Manny’s career has spanned over 35 years. During that time, he has tried hundreds of cases, form the simplest to the most complex multiple defendant cases in federal and state courts around the country. Manny has been and remains a passionate litigator.

Admissions, Recognition & Memberships

Manny is a member of the Florida Bar and is admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Manny has also been admitted Pro Hac Vice in the United States District Court in Puerto Rico, United States District in Chicago, Arkansas, and Georgia. Manny has been rated AV Preeminent by his peers via Martindale-Hubbell and is a member of the Cuban American Bar Association.

Education

1979-1982 UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, COLLEGE OF LAW
Juris Doctor (J.D.)

1977-1979 UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, COLLEGE OF BUSINESS
Bachelor of Science, Cum Laude

1975-1977 MIAMI-DADE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Associates of Arts Degree

Representative Cases

State of Florida v. John Connolly, Case No.: F01-8287D

This complex case involved the prosecution of a former F.B.I. agent (John Connolly) for the 1982 murder of John Callahan, former president of World Jai Ali. The prosecution’s theory was that the defendant provided sensitive information to Boston gangsters James “Whitey” Bulger, Stephen Flemmi and John Martorano which caused the gangsters to murder Callahan. The State’s presentation included “Williams Rule” evidence of bad acts and uncharged crimes allegedly committed by the defendant dating back to the 1970s. Witnesses called by the State included the gangsters themselves (excluding James “Whitey” Bulger who was on the F.B.I.’s 10 most wanted list) who had committed or participated in a total of 45 murders. The sheer volume of discovery (the initial discovery consisted of approximately 122,000 pages), the complexity of the legal issues, the somewhat novel theory of the State’s case, and the extraordinary resources (both the State Attorney’s Office and the Office of the United States Attorney in Boston were involved in the prosecution) pitted against Mr. Connolly made this case a very challenging and significant case for me

State of Florida v. John Taylor, Case No.: F82-028427-A

John Taylor was convicted of murder on August 5, 1983. After exhausting all of his appellate and post-conviction remedies in state court and having his writ of habeas corpus denied in federal district court, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals granted Mr. Taylor a new trial and I was appointed to represented him. By then Mr. Taylor had served over 15 years in prison. When Mr. Taylor was first tried, the State’s theory was that two perpetrators committed the murder: John Taylor and Jesse Ortiz. Mr. Ortiz provided a statement that he (Ortiz) went to the victim’s home with another man named “Mark”, not Taylor. Ortiz was prevented from testifying on behalf of Taylor because Taylor was forced to go to trial before Ortiz (this was the reason Mr. Taylor got a new trial). Taylor was convicted based on his statement which was obtained under questionable circumstances (Taylor’s mental evaluations established he was borderline retarded). Upon evaluating the case it came to my attention that latents of value and blood had gone unidentified. Upon bringing this to the attention of the State and the Court, the prints were identified, and “Mark” was identified and the blood on the scene was matched to “Mark’s” D.N.A.. “Mark” was eventually arrested. An agreement was reached with the State which allowed Mr. Taylor to walk out of prison. Amazingly, when I asked Mr. Taylor how he would like to leave prison as a free man, he responded that he had to think about it. Of significance, Mr. Taylor’s case represents the case that every lawyer can only hope to be involved with. There can be no greater satisfaction than being part of a process that gives a person his freedom after having it wrongfully taken away.

USA v. Ralph Fuentes et al, Case No.: 01-0208-CR-GOLD

This federal prosecution centered around allegations that Miami Police Department officers illegally fabricated evidence to justify shootings, by planting guns at the scenes of the shootings and/or by making false and misleading statements to investigators. Each defendant was involved in at least one of four police shootings. My client was Ralph Fuentes, a member of the S.W.A.T. team that was involved in one of the four shootings. What sets this case aside from the many that I have tried was that it lent itself to the use of forensic experts. I became responsible for identifying, hiring and working with experts in the fields of crime scene reconstruction, ballistics, fingerprint identification, identification of particles and the creation of an animated reconstruction of the shooting my client was involved in. The case also provided an opportunity to work closely with members of our law enforcement community and indirectly experience the demands placed on them in their daily lives. Because of the number of the participants, and the length of the trial, I also received a lesson in dealing with the challenging logistical issues associated with such a trial.

State of Florida v. Wilber Mitchell, Case No.: F93-36795

Wilbur Mitchell was charged with first degree murder of Officer Evelyn Gort. The State sought the death penalty. Officer Evelyn Gort was a popular police officer, featured on a recruiting poster for the then Metro Dade Police Department. She was also the mother of two young girls, who at times attended the trial. From the beginning of the trial the courtroom was filled with uniformed police officers, as well as Officer Gort’s family. Needless to say, my client was the focus of great anger and intense hatred. As his attorney, some of that anger and hatred was directed at me and my 2nd chair counsel. When the jury came back with a compromise verdict of manslaughter with a firearm, much of that anger and hatred was directed at me both privately and publicly. The significance of this case to me can be summarized by quoting a letter sent to me by a respected colleague:

“Dear Manny:

The truly great lawyers are those who can prevail despite the vilification of their client and the unpopularity of the cause.

My hat’s off to you.”

That letter hangs on my wall as a reminder of the awesome responsibility members of the Bar have to those that seek justice under the law.

USA v. Herbert Pierre Louis, Case No.: 00-00434

In this case my client was charged with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”). It is a crime under the CFAA to transmit a computer virus with the intent to cause damage to a protected computer (commonly referred to as computer hacking). My case was only the second prosecution under the CFAA that was reported in appellate opinions. The jury convicted Mr. Pierre-Louis, but the trial judge set aside the conviction and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the trial judge. When I first became involved in representing Mr. Pierre-Louis I barely knew how to send an email, let alone understand the intricacies of computer hacking. However, with the help of experts and some effort on my part, I learned what was necessary to represent my client successfully. This case was significant to me because it served as a real-life example of how the law does not always keep up with the pace of technology and advances in other aspects of our lives. I also learned that old dogs could learn new tricks with a little effort.