Thursday, June 5, 2014
The Florida Supreme Court has disbarred former Broward County Circuit Court Judge Ana Gardiner for misconduct involving her relationship with the prosecutor in a death penalty case in which she presided
The relevant facts in this case are essentially undisputed. While serving as the presiding judge in a capital first-degree murder case, Gardiner commenced a significant emotional relationship with the lead prosecutor in the case. During a five-month period, Gardiner and Scheinberg exchanged 949 cell phone calls and 471 text messages, including 44 phone and text communications on the day before,the day of, and the day after Gardiner imposed the death sentence. Gardiner intentionally chose not to disclose this relationship to the defense. She also did not disclose the true nature of the relationship to the JQC during its investigation in November 2008.
The conviction was vacated on motion of the prosecutor's office as a result. The defendant eventually received a life sentence.
The Prosecutor received a two-year suspension. The court here rejected rejected the referee's proposed one-year suspension for the judge.
Earlier coverage from the Sun Sentinel is linked here. (Mike Frisch)