Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Avoids Meeting with Broward Judges

 

Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Avoids Meeting with Broward Judges

Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Avoids Meeting with Broward Judges-

Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Avoids Meeting with Broward Judges Chief Justice Jorge Labarga.
Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Avoids Meeting with Broward Judges.

In our last article, Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice is coming to Broward Thursday to talk to ALL Broward Judges, we told you about a leaked meeting with Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga and all Broward judges had been scheduled for Thursday, April   26, at 12:15 Am at the main courthouse.

Here’s the Letter

Florida-Supreme-Court-Chief-Justice-Avoids-Meeting-with-Broward-Judges-FSC-Chief-Justice-Coming-to-Broward-Thursday-to-Talk-to-All-Broward-Judges-Chief-Judge-Tuter-Letter.jpg
Chief Judge Tuter Letter to Broward Judges

Then on Wednesday, the day before the scheduled meeting, JAABLOG contacted the Public Information Officer for the Florida Supreme Court.

The following email exchanges were between JAABLOG and Craig Waters, PIO for the Supreme Court, on Wednesday, April 25:

JAABLOG: Please advise what the agenda will entail and if public comment will be permitted.

WATERS: The chief justice had only tentatively put this on his schedule. His travel itinerary is very tight right now and it still is not clear that he will be able to go … No agenda on our end. The chief justice has made a habit of visiting courthouses around the state as he travels.

JAABLOG: Also, is the Chief Justice available to be interviewed pertaining to some of the ongoing problems with the 17th Circuit, and in particular, the need for mandatory judicial rotation to stem burn-out?

WATERS: We are very aware of what is happening there. You can be assured that the Florida Supreme Court is looking into the matter in its administrative capacity, but its role is complicated by the fact that judicial ethics cases are legal matters that it must review in its judicial capacity, if a JQC case is brought against any judge in Broward.

Then a little later the same day, JAABLOG posted one final email from Public information Officer Craig Waters:

PIO WATERS: The chief justice will be unable to attend … The chief justice has no plans to visit Broward at this time.

So did the meeting still happen?  Why did the chief judge cancel?

According to JAABLOG in a post the day of the meeting, MEETING NOTES; they claim multiple sources for the follow items that were discussed, and not discussed.

First, what wasn’t discussed, according to multiple sources: at JAABLOB:

  • Ms. Sandra Twiggs.  There wasn’t even a moment of silence.
  • A judicial rotation plan to conform with the Rules of Judicial Administration,* and to stem burn-out.
  • Professionalism panels for judges to cut down on JQC complaints, contested elections, and the far too common meltdowns and ethical lapses that distinguish the Broward judiciary in terms of scope and volume from judicial circuits across Florida and the nation.
  • Recent incidents involving Bobby Diaz and Barbara McCarthy.
  • Tuter’s perceived preference of using transfer to the Criminal Division as “punishment detail“.
  • Tuter’s perceived role in sparking Ehrlich’s resignation and corresponding inexcusable and cruel meltdown at First Appearances by notifying her of his intention to transfer her to the Criminal Division.

Next, what was discussed, according to multiple sources: at JAABLOB:

  • High fives all around for the great job the majority of hard-working judges are doing, and a message of approval from the Chief Justice to same.
  • An implied warning for judicial “leakers” to a blog that only wants to make them look bad, and a confirmation that the Chief Justice cancelled his trip to avoid a circus after the announcement appeared on the blog.
  • The overall strong condition of the circuit, despite a handful of blog malcontents.
  • Unspecified plans to improve things in the future and avoid pitfalls provided by a few bad apples.
  • A focus on the large number of new young, talented judges who will be taking the circuit forward.
  • The great strides in reducing the jail population, and in electronic scheduling for both civil and criminal.
  • Tuter’s close working relationship with Howard Finkelstein.

If you didn’t catch it, the answer to the second question was above;

Why did the chief judge cancel?

An implied warning for judicial “leakers” to a blog that only wants to make them look bad, and a confirmation that the Chief Justice cancelled his trip to avoid a circus after the announcement appeared on the blog.

To the best of our knowledge, the only ones that published that information were first JAABLOG, then us.

Since the JAABLOG is for attorneys that want to vent about judges anonymously, attorneys are not allowed to criticize a sitting judge and can get into trouble with the Florida Bar if they do,   we are assuming they could be talking about either.

Guess we are getting their attention both at the courthouse of The Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, and even The Supreme Court in Tallahassee.

For the record, we don’t need to try to make any of the Broward judges look bad, they do that all by themselves. We just expose them.

We feel it is terrible that there was not even a mention by all these judges that were there, of Sandra Faye Twiggs.

What we find even more terrible and frankly insulting is that The Chief Justice would blow Broward off.

And for what reason at that?

The Chief Justice cancelled his trip to avoid a circus after the announcement appeared on the blog.”

It would seem that the press and we the people are just considered a “circus” by him.

If justice Labarga wants to see a circus, let him watch the video of Judge Ehrlich! What does it take for Tallahassee and The Florida Supreme Court to do something about the most disciplined circuit in the State?

Broward-Judge-Caught-On-Hot-Mike-Telling-Prosecutors-not-lit
Broward Judge Caught-On Hot Mike

A Clerk of the Court that just got caught back dating court documents for Judge Joel Lazarus as a recent 4th DCA decision last week shows. The same judge caught discussing criminal cases with prosecutors and granting time and doubling bonds for crimes near his home, without opposing council present?

Claudia Robinson and her deal with attorney Michael G. Ahearn? Causing her resignation, but with no action at all for attorney Ahearn.

JUDGE MERRILEE EHRLICH- 59-year old Sandra Twiggs
JUDGE MERRILEE EHRLICH- 59-year old Sandra Twiggs

Of course now while the whole world watched, Sandra Faye Twiggs appeared before Judge Ehrlich, gasping for air, trying to tell the judge possibly she wasn’t getting the care she needed at the jail.

She is told by the judge she doesn’t care, possibly contributing to her death.

If the jail is not treating you right who do you tell? This was her first, and so unfortunately her last appearance in a courtroom.

Did you catch this part?

“High fives all around for the great job the majority of hard-working judges are doing, and a message of approval from the Chief Justice to same.”

Is This For Real?

a message of approval from the Chief Justice to same

We are not really sure how to interpret that, but it sure sounds like Chief Justice Labarga just rubber stamped Broward’s so blatant and in your face corruption.

a message of approval

a message of approval

a message of approval

Let that sink in.

The Florida Supreme Court is made up of seven judges. The Chief Justice, and six members.

This year, most of the court will be gone.

Three Florida Supreme Court Justices face mandatory retirement & one Merit Retention.

ALAN LAWSON

Took office 2016

Merit retention vote 2018

BARBARA J. PARIENTE

Took office 1997

Mandatory retirement 2019

 

FRED LEWIS

Took office 1999

Mandatory retirement 2019

 

PEGGY A. QUINCE

Took office 1999

Mandatory retirement 2019

Only one, we will get to vote for this year, and the argument has already started whether Governor Rick Scott, or the new governor elect, has the authority to appoint the replacements for the ones retiring.

The Governor makes those appointments from a list supplied to him by the Florida Judicial Nominating commission, or The JNC.

 

WordPress.com

A RAY  OF HOPE

Florida-Supreme-Court-Chief-Justice-Avoids-Meeting-with-Broward-Judges-Full-Court
Florida-Supreme-Court-Chief-Justice-Avoids-Meeting-with-Broward-Judges-Full-Court

Don’t be so quick to criticize the Florida Supreme Court as a whole.

OK, so the chief justice blew off Broward, but let’s look at this statement again made by the court’s Public Information Officer, Craig Waters.

WATERS: We are very aware of what is happening there. You can be assured that the Florida Supreme Court is looking into the matter in its administrative capacity, but its role is complicated by the fact that judicial ethics cases are legal matters that it must review in its judicial capacity, if a JQC case is brought against any judge in Broward.

Let’s take a closer look at that statement for a minute. What the court’s PIO is really saying is that at this point, the court’s hands are a little tied until JQC complaints are filed against judges.

They are saying until then, the courts jurisdiction in an administrative capacity is pretty limited as ethics and other complaints are legal matters.

The Florida Judicial Qualifications  Commission  (JQC) is a judicial disciplinary  agency in Florida, created by a 1968 amendment  to the Florida Constitution  for the purpose of investigating  allegations  of judicial misconduct  by the state’s judges. It is not a part of the Florida Supreme  Court or the state court system.

They investigate, hold hearings, call witnesses and anything else they need to do to investigate complaints that come to them about judges.

Once their investigation is concluded, they make recommendations to the Florida Supreme Court. Their authority stops there, and now it all up to The Supreme Court of Florida as what to do.

They can either adopt the recommendations, send them back asking for more, or toss the recommendations altogether and impose their own sentence. The court has the authority to remove these elected official, or judges.

That’s the RAY OF LIGHT

Over the past several years The Florida Supreme Court, when it comes to judges from Broward County,  has decided to impose much harsher sentences on the judges from Broward and ignore the recommendations of the JQC.

To give you some idea of how bad the problem is in Broward County, we’ve prepared the chart below of a three county comparison of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

JQC-COMPLAINTS-TRI-COUNTY-COMPARISON
JQC COMPLAINTS TRI COUNTY COMPARISON

Source-JUDICIAL QUALIFICATIONS COMMISSION CASE ARCHIVE

The numbers above are based on the actual number of JQC complaints filed against judges in each county. The number of judges disciplined varies slightly.

In Broward County, the number of judges is actually fourteen. Former judge Laura Watson had two complaints.

In Miami-Dade County, the number is actually only two.  Both judges Ana Marie Pando, and judge Jacqueline Swartz had two complaints each.

Palm Beach County remains at two, but has one currently pending.

The only word for that is shameful

 

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