Scope of Review In Judicial Misconduct Cases
In In re Andrews, 875 So. 2d 441, 442 (Fla. 2004), the Supreme Court of Florida specified the scope of review in judicial misconduct cases, stating:
This Court reviews the findings of the JQC to determine if they are supported by clear and convincing evidence and reviews the recommendation of discipline to determine whether it should be approved.
"While this Court gives the findings and recommendations of the JQC great weight, 'the ultimate power and responsibility in making a determination rests with this Court.' " In re Kinsey, 842 So. 2d 77, 85 (Fla. 2003) (footnote omitted) (quoting In re Davey, 645 So. 2d 398, 404 (Fla. 1994)).
Accordingly, the Court reviewed the findings to ensure that there is "clear and convincing evidence" to support the alleged ethical violations--a standard of proof which has been described as "more than a 'preponderance of the evidence,' but the proof need not be 'beyond and to the exclusion of a reasonable doubt.' " Id. (quoting In re Davey, 645 So. 2d at 404).
The second issue for this Court is whether the JQC's recommendation of a public reprimand is an appropriate discipline in this case. Id.