Public Reprimand for Judges Due to Violation of Conduct

In an interview with a newspaper reporter regarding a case pending before him, a judge made several biased comments about the defendant and the merits of its litigation strategy. In re Andrews, 875 So. 2d 441, 441 (Fla. 2004). The Court agreed with the Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) that the conduct violated Canons 1, 2, and 3. The court imposed the recommended discipline a public reprimand. Similarly, in In re Angel, 867 So. 2d at 379, the judge stipulated to seven violations of Canon 7 and a statute, which were based on his conduct during his 2002 election campaign. Noting that the case did not involve implications that the judge would "make partisan decisions on the bench," the court agreed that no fine was needed and again approved the JQC's recommendation of a public reprimand. Id. at 383. In In re Schapiro, 845 So. 2d 170 (Fla. 2003), the judge stipulated to ten violations based on his unseemly, rude, arrogant, and intemperate behavior towards attorneys and litigants in his court over a period of years. The Court found the judge's conduct "clearly undermined the public's confidence in and respect for both the integrity of the judicial system and Judge Schapiro as a judge" and concluded these violations were "extreme in their seriousness, in their number, and in the length of time over which they occurred." 845 So. 2d at 173-74. Yet, in view of the judge's participation in behavioral therapy, we held that his appearance in our Court for a public reprimand and letters of apology were sufficient discipline. Finally, in In re Holloway, 832 So. 2d 716 (Fla. 2002), the Court found several violations, including making misleading statements in a sworn deposition and angrily confronting and crudely upbraiding another judge in a hearing room about his handling of an ongoing case, in which the offending judge had an emotional involvement and had appeared as a witness. Noting the judge's acceptance of responsibility for her misconduct and evidence that she was otherwise an able judge, we imposed a public reprimand and a thirty-day suspension without pay.