September 30, 2008
"A Solemn Proceeding"
A judge was ordered to appear before the Florida Supreme Court for administration of a public reprimand. The sister of his former law partner was arrested for domestic battery against her husband.
Even though the matter was not assigned to him, [he] thereafter contacted the Broward County Sheriff's Office and authorized her release to the Pretrial Release Program without the benefit of a first appearance. [He] authorized the defendant's release notwithstanding the fact that she was currently serving a sentence of five years probation for obtaining controlled substances by fraud, thus making her ineligible for [release ].
The court noted that the judge acted without full knowledge of the alleged offense or the prior record of the defendant. The Judicial Code provision requiring integrity and impartiality "is not an aspirational principle but a clear and unequivocal mandate." The reprimand will be "administered before the entire Supreme Court in a solemn proceeding." (Mike Frisch)
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