Penalty for a Judge Attempting to Keep Fee for Himself Rather Than His Firm
In In re Davey, 645 So. 2d 398, 410 (Fla. 1994), the Court rejected the Judicial Qualifications Commission's (JQC) recommendation that a judge be removed from office, and reprimanded him instead for misconduct occurring when he was in private practice. This Court chose the lesser penalty because the evidence met the clear and convincing evidence standard on only one of two alleged violations found by the JQC.
The Court rejected the JQC's finding that after his election as a judge but before he assumed office, the judge attempted to keep a fee payment for himself rather than share it with his law firm, but was frustrated in the attempt because the check was made out to the firm.
The evidence was insufficient because one witness gave contradictory testimony as to whether the fee payment check had been made out to the judge personally or to his law firm, while the only other witness to testify on the matter could not say conclusively that he ever saw the check. See id. at 404-05.