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Store owner: Miami judge told me 'Go and f--- yourself' over Campaign sign

Miami-Dade County Judge Jacqueline Schwartz spotted a large-sized campaign sign for one of her opponents posted in the parking lot outside a Miami convenience store.

 

It was two months before the Aug. 26 primary election. Schwartz, a 12-year veteran of the bench, didn't like the large political advertisement.

 

So she marched into the Kwik Stop at 3101 Grand Ave. on June 2 and asked to speak to the person in charge, according to the store cashier.

 

The owner was out. But he had returned by the time Schwartz returned a few hours later.

 

The judge demanded that she be allowed to put up a sign of her own, or that the sign for opponent Rachel Glorioso Dooley be removed, according to the owner and cashier. When she didn't get her way, Schwartz lost her temper, owner Firas Hussain said.

­

"She got so mad, she raised her voice," Firas Hussain told the Miami Herald. "She started to curse at the cashier and me. She said, 'Go and f--- yourself.”

 

Schwartz directed a reporter to her campaign manager, Bob Levy, who said he didn't know what the judge's exact words were -- only that she reported a sign she called "offensively large" to the convenience store.

 

"It's a violation of law," Levy said. "I do know that she did notify code enforcement."

 

As for Schwartz's alleged choice of words, he added: "That's not her nature. That's not her

Temperament, I'm surprised that word is in her vocabulary."

 

Code enforcement officers from the city of Miami showed up at the shopping center the day after Schwartz's apparent outburst and cited the mall owners for having a "nonconforming temporary sign."

 

The officers said the shopping center couldn't have a political ad on the property until 30 days before an election, according to Sky Smith, an attorney for the mall owners and a contributor to Glorioso Dooley's campaign.

 

“What are you talking about?” Smith said he responded. "'It's that you're supposed to take it down 30 days after an election."

 

Finally, the officers told Smith the sign was too big. "We got ticketed and made the sign smaller," Smith told the Miami Herald Herald.

 

And he filed a complaint June 13 against Schwartz with Florida's Judicial Qualifications Commission, complete with a sworn statement by the convenience store cashier, Mildred Cervantes, who corroborated owner Firas Hussain's account.

 

Complaints against judges are supposed to be confidential, to deter false allegations filed for political reasons, though they sometimes leak during campaigns.

 

Hussain said he declined the judge's request to include her sign or take down her opponent's because he didn't put up the sign and doesn't own the shopping center property.

 

"We told her, 'We have nothing to do with that,'" said Firas Hussain, adding that he didn't find out until later that Schwartz was an elected official.

 

"I was surprised she's a judge," he said.

 

Schwartz came close to defeating her two opponents in August. She won 49.4 percent of the vote but, because she didn't receive a majority, will be on the ballot again in a Nov. 4 runoff against second place finished Frank Bocanegra.

Tuesday, Sep. 23, 2014

Judge reprimanded for using ‘one of the worst

 

profanities known to the English language,’ fined

 

$10K

Judge Jacqueline Schwartz was reprimanded Wednesday for using “one of the worst profanities known to the English language.”

 

Judge Jacqueline Schwartz told a convenience store owner in Coconut Grove in June 2014 to “Go f— yourself” and threatened to sue him after he posted an opponent’s campaign sign and refused to post hers. She was subsequently re-elected.

 

“Judges are not privileged simply to erase their potential mistakes from the public record,” Labarga told Schwartz. “This misconduct we cannot and will not tolerate.”

 

Schwartz, who also agreed to a $10,000 fine and a 30-day suspension to resolve the legal ethics case, said nothing to the supreme court and declined to comment after the reprimand.

 

She wrote a letter of apology (PDF) to the store owner in May of this year.

Dec 9, 2015

Supreme Court of Florida

Briefs & Other Documents in Case No. 15-312

Briefs & Other Documents in Case No. 15-312 PDF
Judge Jacqueline Schwartz
Judge Jacqueline Schwartz

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