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The Judicial Qualifications Commission has filed formal charges against Judge Ana Gardiner
MARCH 3, 2010
The Judicial Qualifications Commission has filed formal charges against Judge Ana Gardiner.
Gardiner, the first Hispanic woman ever to sit as a Broward Circuit judge, had been accused of exchanging hundreds of phone calls and text messages with then-prosecutor Howard Scheinberg as she oversaw a death penalty case he was arguing before her.
The state Judicial Qualifications Commission launched proceedings that could lead to the Florida Supreme Court stripping Gardiner of her judgeship.
Gardiner has been accused of failing to disclose her relationship with Scheinberg during the 2007 murder case against Omar Loureiro. A jury convicted Loureiro of fatally stabbing a man, and Gardiner sent him to Death Row.
Gardiner and Scheinberg had socialized during the Omar Loureiro murder trial in which Scheinberg was prosecutor and Gardiner judge, and that they laughed about the case together at Timpano’s and, after that, the Blue Martini (naturally). They allegedly talked about gory photographs of the murder victim, James Lentry, and joked about the sexuality of both Lentry and Loureiro. This while Gardiner was presiding over the case that sent Loureiro to death row (his conviction has since been overturned because of these revelations, and he will be retried).
Loureiro is set to have a new trial before a Palm Beach County judge in June as a result of the accusations involving Gardiner and Scheinberg. If he is again convicted and sentenced to die, the relationship will become something Loureiro’s attorneys intend to mention in future appeals.
Gardiner had essentially lied under oath about it and that she and Scheinberg had numerous phone calls between each other.
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