How To File A Complaint About A Florida Judge With The JQC

 

How To File A Complaint About A Florida Judge With The JQC

How To File A Complaint About A Florida Judge With The JQC
How To File A Complaint About A Florida Judge With The JQC

How To File A Complaint About A Florida Judge With The JQC-That’s a question we’re getting a lot after the very public meltdown of Broward judge Merrilee Ehrlich on Sunday May 15, 2018, while presiding over Broward’s First Appearance Court.

Judge Merrilee Ehrlich Bond Court Meltdown

Some of the comments posted on YouTube about the judge:

Doug Owen
How do we report this judge for review? I have never seen this kind of behavior from a so called impartial judge?

Ken Bailey

She should be fired with no retirement !! You just can’t treat people this way regardless chair or not. She also opened up a possible lawsuit from the ADA.

jlsortore

This judge is whacked, remove her from the bench forcibly.

The video has 215 comments to date, all very negative toward the judge.

So, using judge Ehrlich as an example, we are going to show you step by step how easy it is to file a JQC (Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission) complaint about a Florida judge.

At the end of this article, we’re going to give you links to a partially filled out JQC complaint form, the letter from Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein to Broward Chief Judge Jack Tuter regarding the conduct of judge Ehrlich that day, and a link to an eleven minute edited version of the video you can download, for anyone interested in filing a JQC complaint about judge Merrilee Ehrlich.

Before we continue, you need to know a little about who the JQC is, and what their jurisdictional limits are.

WHAT IS THE FLORIDA JQC

 

From the Florida JQC complaint form, and website:

Please note that the Commission only has authority to investigate allegations of judicial misconduct or permanent disability by persons holding state judicial positions.

The Commission has no jurisdiction over and does not consider complaints against Federal Judges, magistrates, lawyers, police, court personnel, or State Attorneys.

The Commission does not act as an appellate court and cannot review, reverse or modify a legal decision made by a judge in the course of a court proceeding.

For example, the Commission does not investigate claims that a judge wrongfully excluded evidence; imposed an improper sentence, awarded custody to the wrong party; incorrectly awarded alimony or child support; incorrectly resolved a legal issue or believed perjured testimony.

FLORIDA JUDICIAL QUALIFICATIONS COMMISSION

Beginning March, 2010, the Commission established this site, http://www.floridajqc.com/ , as its official web presence. Here you will find basic information about the Commission, the downloadable complaint form that may be filled out electronically, as well as information on who they are and how they are structured.

Who is on the JQC?

There are 15 members of the JQC. Go to the Members Page. Two must be district court of appeal judges chosen by all the judges of the 5 district courts. Two must be circuit court judges chosen by all the judges of the 20 judicial circuits. Two must be county court judges chosen by all the judges of the 67 county courts. Four must be registered voters who also are lawyers, chosen by the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar. The final five must be non-lawyers who are registered voters, chosen by the Governor.

How is the JQC Structured?

The JQC is divided into two panels, an “investigative panel” that acts much like a prosecutor, and a “hearing panel” that acts much like a panel of judges reviewing the case. Judges accused of misconduct often are represented by a private attorney.

You can find more Frequently Asked Questions and case-related information, along with other Commission information on the Florida Supreme Court JQC page.

JUDICIAL QUALIFICATIONS COMMISSION RULES

These rules apply to all proceedings before the Judicial Qualifications Commission involving the discipline, retirement or removal of justices of the Supreme Court, and judges of the District Courts of Appeal, Circuit Courts, and County Courts pursuant to Article V, Section 12 of the Constitution of the State of Florida, as amended, and removal or disqualification of members of the Commission.   These rules shall be known as Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission Rules and may be abbreviated as “FJQCR.” . 

READ THE ENTIRE DOCUMENT

READ THE ENTIRE DOCUMENTPDF

More information about the Florida JQC on our website:

https://southfloridacorruption.com/What-is-the-JQC/

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.

The commission may investigate a judge for misconduct if a complaint is filed at any time while the judge is in office and for one year afterward. The commission has no authority over federal judges, judges in other states, magistrates, lawyers, law enforcement personnel, court employees or state attorneys. A majority of the misconduct complaints received by the commission ask for a review or reversal of a judge’s rulings or decisions.  However, the commission also has no authority to reverse, review or change any decision or ruling made by a judge or court. 

Florida Code of Judicial Conduct

You’ll also need to familiarize yourself with the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct, also known as the Judicial Canons. These are the “rules” all judges in Florida must follow at all times.

There are seven in total, and any complaint to the JQC will be based on at least one of these rules.

Now that you have familiarized yourself with the JQC Rules, and The Florida Code of Judicial Conduct, (The Canons),  We’ll go on to filling out the complaint form.

 

FILLING OUT THE COMPLAINT FORM

How To File A Complaint About A Florida Judge With The JQC
How To File A Complaint About A Florida Judge With The JQC

The JQC complaint form is very simple to fill out. It has only five parts. The first part, part one, is just your personal information, name, address and phone number. The last part, part five, is simply your signature, and the date.

NOTICE!

When you sign the complaint, it is under oath, and penalty of perjury, so don’t put anything in the complaint unless you KNOW it to be true.

 

The two paragraphs in red are above your signature on the complaint form:

Under penalty of perjury, I declare that I have examined and understand this complaint form and to the best of my knowledge and belief, the above information is true, correct and complete and submitted of my own free will.

You also agree to keep the complaint confidential until formal charges are filed, if at all.

IN FILING THIS COMPLAINT, I UNDERSTAND THE COMMISSION’S RULES PROVIDE THAT ALL PROCEEDINGS OF THE COMMISSION, INCLUDING COMPLAINTS FILED WITH THE COMMISSION, SHALL BE KEPT CONFIDENTIAL PRIOR TO THE FILING OF FORMAL CHARGES. I FURTHER UNDERSTAND THAT THIS RULE OF CONFIDENTIALITY ATTACHES AND BECOMES EFFECTIVE UPON THE FILING OF THIS COMPLAINT AND THAT ANY VIOLATION COULD RESULT IN A CITATION FOR CONTEMPT BY THE COMMISSION.

So if you file a complaint, don’t jump onto your social media accounts and start posting copies of it, or brag about it. If you do, you could get into serious trouble in the form of a contempt charge that could subject you to a fine or even jail time, so don’t play games with this. This is serious.

Now let us go through the complaint form one part at a time, and fill it out.

PART ONE

How-To-File-A-Complaint-About-A-Florida-Judge-With-The-JQC-Part-1.png
How To File A Complaint About A Florida Judge With The JQC Part 1

I. Person Making Complaint

Part one is very easy. Simply fill in your full name, mailing address, and a phone number where you can be reached both in the day, and evening.

 

PART TWO

How-To-File-A-Complaint-About-A-Florida-Judge-With-The-JQC-Part-2.png
How To File A Complaint About A Florida Judge With The JQC Part 2

II. Judge Against Whom Complaint is Made

Part two is where you put the name, address, and court of the Judge Against Whom the Complaint is Being Made.

In this example, we use judge Merrilee Ehrlich.

Now for address, don’t worry that you don’t know the judge’s address. You’re not expected to because judges do not release their home addresses. Just put here the address of the courthouse the judge works at.

In this example judge Ehrlich worked at the main courthouse in Broward County.

Broward County Courthouse 201 SE 6th St Ste 4850 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301-3379 

You can get the most accurate address from the Clerk of the Courts website for whatever county the judge presides in.

We also included the judge’s Florida Bar Number, 283789, in the address field.

The complaint form does not ask for the judge’s Bar number anywhere in it, but it’s a good idea to include it anyway.

You can obtain any judges Florida Bar number by going to the Florida Bar Website Directory Here, and typing in the judges name in the search box.

Next under the address field  you are asked what court the judge presides over.

Forget the first two fields. Most are not going to be filing a complaint about a Florida Supreme Court Justice, or Court of Appeals Judge.

In our example, judge Ehrlich was a Circuit Court Judge in Broward County, which is The Seventeenth Judicial Circuit.

If you’re not sure whether the judge is a county court judge, or circuit court judge, or the judicial circuit, just check the website of the Clerk of Court for the county the judge presides in. You should find all that information there.

 

PART THREE

How To File A Complaint About A Florida Judge With The JQC Part 3

How To File A Complaint About A Florida Judge With The JQC Part 3B
How To File A Complaint About A Florida Judge With The JQC Part 3

III. Statement of Facts

Please provide in as much detail as possible the information which you have knowledge which you believe constitutes judicial misconduct or disability. Include names, dates, places, addresses and telephone numbers which may assist the Commission.

Part three is the body of the complaint. This is where you will describe exactly what it is that the judge did that you believe constitutes any misconduct.

Some people at this point make the mistake of looking up a bunch of Florida Statutes, and quoting them here.

Do not waste your time doing that. The Commission is not interested in that. That is not their purpose. They are only interested in violations of The Florida Code of Judicial Conduct. (The Judicial Canons). In our example we use:

Canon 3 B.(4) of the Code of Judicial Conduct provides that a “judge shall be patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants.” 

We used Canon 3 B.(4), for a couple of reasons. First, the judge was not patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants. The video clearly shows this.

The second reason is that Broward County Public Defender, Howard Finkelstein, used that Canon in his letter to Chief Judge Jack Tuter, and Mr. Finkelstein IS a lawyer. So we can be pretty confident he knows what he is talking about.

If you are asking yourself, isn’t that a little bit petty for a judge to be in trouble for? Put that thought aside. The Florida JQC, and Florida Supreme Court, take ANY violation of these codes very seriously. A judge could face some very serious consequences for violating any one of these Codes, or Canons. 

 

PART FOUR

How To File A Complaint About A Florida Judge With The JQC Part 4

How To File A Complaint About A Florida Judge With The JQC Part 4B

How To File A Complaint About A Florida Judge With The JQC Part 4C

IV. Additional Information (if available)

 

Part 4 

This field speaks for it’s self. If you have anything else to add, this is where to state it.

Part 4 a(1).

a. If your complaint arises out of a court case, please answer the following questions:

1. What is the name and number of the case?

In our example, with Judge Ehrlich, we include the case of Sandra Faye Twiggs, and the case number.

2. What kind of case is it?

Sandra Faye’s case was Criminal/Domestic Violence.

3. What is your relationship to the case?

Since we were not involved directly with the case we checked “Other”. It says to specify, we tried to type in that field but found out you can’t. If you can, we would suggest putting “observer” in this field.

Part 4 b.

b. If you were represented by an attorney in this matter at the time of the judge’s conduct, please identify the attorney:

In our example, nothing here is applicable. So we entered N/A in all the fields. If you’re making the complaint about another judge, just put your attorneys name and information asked for.

Part 4 c.

c. List and attach copies of any relevant documents which you believe support your claim that the judge has engaged in judicial misconduct or has a disability. (Note: Retain a copy for your records as these documents shall become the property of the Commission and may not be returned.)

In this example we entered in this field:

Letter from Howard Finkelstein to Chief Judge Jack Tuter ;

Video of First Appearance Court on Sunday April 15, 2018.

Along with the complaint, we’ll be sending a copy of the letter from Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein, and a DVD video of the two cases that day in First Appearance Court.

Yes, you are going to burn the video to DVD, or at least the mp4 onto a disk and send it along with the “Printed” letter. Take note that the complaint cannot be filed electronically by email.

It MUST be mailed the old fashion way through the U.S. Postal Service.

Part 4 d.

d. Identify, if you can, any other witnesses to the conduct about which you complain:

In our case we entered N/A in this field. If your complaint is about a different judge, enter the appropriate information for your case.

PART FIVE

How To File A Complaint About A Florida Judge With The JQC Part 5

How To File A Complaint About A Florida Judge With The JQC Part 5b Signature

IN FILING THIS COMPLAINT, I UNDERSTAND THE COMMISSION’S RULES PROVIDE THAT ALL PROCEEDINGS OF THE COMMISSION, INCLUDING COMPLAINTS FILED WITH THE COMMISSION, SHALL BE KEPT CONFIDENTIAL PRIOR TO THE FILING OF FORMAL CHARGES. I FURTHER UNDERSTAND THAT THIS RULE OF CONFIDENTIALITY ATTACHES AND BECOMES EFFECTIVE UPON THE FILING OF THIS COMPLAINT AND THAT ANY VIOLATION COULD RESULT IN A CITATION FOR CONTEMPT BY THE COMMISSION.

V. Under penalty of perjury, I declare that I have examined and understand this complaint form and to the best of my knowledge and belief, the above information is true, correct and complete and submitted of my own free will.

(Date)  _______ 

(Complainant’s Signature) ________________


(Note: Only signed complaints will be considered.)

Part five is where you read, print out, then sign and date the complaint.

Read the paragraphs above in red very carefully before you print it out and sign it.

That’s all there is to it.

HOW TO SEND THE COMPLAINT

 

Now that you have filled out the complaint, you have to print it out and sign it, and date it. Complaint forms that are not signed and dated will not be considered.

Along with your  signed complaint form, be sure to include any documents you listed, or any other evidence such as video, photographs, or audio.

Now here’s the tricky part, you have to send it using the old fashioned U.S. Mail. That’s right, Snail Mail.

THE COMPLAINT CANNOT BE FILED ELECTRONICALLY, OR ANY OTHER WAY THAN STANDARD US MAIL.

Once you’ve done all that and mailed your signed complaint, in a few weeks you should get something back from “The Commission”, acknowledging  that they received your complaint that will look something like this:

How-To-File-A-Complaint-About-A-Florida-Judge-With-The-JQC-Confirmation-letter
How-To-File-A-Complaint-About-A-Florida-Judge-With-The-JQC-Confirmation-letter

Now that you know your complaint has been received, be prepared to be “very” patient. As you can see in the letter above, it could be at least six weeks or more for them to even meet and review it.

The average time it takes the JQC to investigate a complaint is about twelve to sixteen months sometimes.

Also be prepared to be disappointed. Every year in Florida hundreds of these complaints are filed against judges, yet “The Commission” only files “formal charges” against a small handful of them.

For further information, or to check on the status of a complaint, the commission can be contacted at:

Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission

WordPress.com

Judicial Qualifications Commission
1110 Thomasville Road
Tallahassee, FL 32303 -6224

Phone: (850) 488 -1581

Fax: (850) 922 -6781

ALSO KEEP IN MIND:

The Commission does not act as an appellate court and cannot review, reverse or modify a legal decision made by a judge in the course of a court proceeding.

For example, the Commission does not investigate claims that a judge wrongfully excluded evidence; imposed an improper sentence, awarded custody to the wrong party; incorrectly awarded alimony or child support; incorrectly resolved a legal issue or believed perjured testimony.

 

COMPLAINT FOR JUDGE MERRILEE EHRLICH

At the beginning of this article, we said  we would  provide downloads  of everything you’ll need , for anyone interested in filing a JQC complaint about judge Merrilee Ehrlich. so here you go;

ONE

JQC COMPLAINT FORM

Partially filled out Complaint Form with the judges information, and statement of facts.

CLICK HERE

Do it all yourself, blank Complaint Form from the JQC.

CLICK HERE

 

Remember, no matter which form you use, if you file a complaint it is you who signed it and it is “Your” complaint.

 

TWO

Letter from Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein to Broward Chief Judge Jack Tuter regarding the conduct of judge Ehrlich that day in First Appearance Court.

CLICK HERE

Don’t forget to print it out and mail it with your complaint.

The letter is “Public Domain Information” under Florida law,  in as much as it was sent by a public official, to another public official,  during the course of performing their official duties.

THREE

Video of First Appearance Court on Sunday April  15, 2018 of Judge Ehrlich’s actions.

CLICK HERE

 

 

links to other REsources you will need

Florida Code of Judicial Conduct (Judicial Canons)

CANONS ONLY

CLICK HERE

FULL CODE  As amended through May 10, 2018 DOWNLOAD

CLICK HERE

Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission Rules “FJQCR.”

CLICK HERE

FLORIDA JQC WEBSITE     http://www.floridajqc.com/

FLORIDA BAR ATTORNEY DIRECTORY                 CLICK HERE

 

We hope that this article simplifies this process for you.

Administrator

South Florida Corruption

 

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