January 29, 2009
Judge Reprimanded For Filing Mandamus Petition
A county court judge was reprimanded by the Florida Supreme Court as a result of his filing a petition for writ of mandamus seeking to compel the public defender, states attorney, county sheriff and various judges to "comply with the constitutional, statutory, and procedural rules...long ago put in place to provide for a meaningful first appearance hearing for all citizens accused of a crime who cannot immediately make bond." The court held:
While we agree that much of the judge's criticism [in the petition] would not be subject to sanction if presented in another context, such as a discussion at a judicial conference, we agree with the JQC [Judicial Qualifications Commission] that the filing of the petition was inappropriate. In sum...the petition was highly critical of the local judiciary and its filing clearly crossed the line between what is appropriate and what is not.
The court held that the judge had not followed proper channels regarding the alleged misconduct of other judges but rejected the charge that the pro se filing involved the unauthorized practice of law. (Mike Frisch)
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