Disagreement With a Legal Holding of Itself Is Not Evidence of Malice

In Florida Bar re Vernell, 520 So. 2d 564 (Fla. 1988), the Bar opposed the referee's recommendation of reinstatement on the basis that Vernell demonstrated malice and ill feelings toward those involved in bringing about the disciplinary proceedings. The Bar based this allegation on Vernell's statements at the reinstatement hearing that he believed the Court's decision to suspend him was legally incorrect. The Court found, however, that the record supported the referee's conclusion that Vernell was remorseful, and further held that: Disagreement with a legal holding, in and of itself, is not evidence of malice. It is not uncommon that reasonable people disagree as to how a court disposes of a case without evidencing malice or ill-will towards the court. Frequently such disagreement arises within the court itself. The court did not agree with the Bar that disagreement with this Court's discipline ruling constitutes grounds for denying the petition for reinstatement. Id. at 565.