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Former Broward Judge Agrees To Five Year Suspension By Florida Bar
Broward County Florida-Former Broward Judge Agrees To Five Year Suspension By Florida Bar.
Former Broward judge John Contini, who has been under investigation by both The Florida Bar, and the JQC since his resignation in July of this year, has proposed a five year suspension from the practice of law.
On Wednesday September 05, through his lawyer, Fred Haddad, the former judge filed a PETITION FOR APPROVAL OF CONDITIONAL GUILTY PLEA FOR CONSENT JUDGMENT with The Florida Supreme Court.
Back on July 05 of this year, Contini had resigned his position as a Broward judge during yet another JQC, (Judicial Qualifications Commission), investigation.
The first one being back in 2015, not long after he first took office. That investigation, and the JQC’s following recommendations, resulted in a “Formal Reprimand” before the Florida Supreme Court on February 07, 2017.
This is where it starts to get a little strange.
The then judge, submitted his resignation on July 05, 2018 effective immediately, sending a copy to the JQC.
That’s how we can say there was was actually an investigation going on. JQC investigations are kept secret until formal charges are filed, if at all.
But the Florida JQC had either neglected to read the letter, or are just plain incompetent, because on Monday July 23, 2018, The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission filed formal charges against the former judge anyway.
To read the entire 157 page JQC Formal Charges from The Florida Supreme Court Website, Click Here!
In support of the statement; “just plain incompetent”, if you look at the Supreme Court’s website, you will see that the charges originally filed on the 23rd, are no longer available for download.
They uploaded another PDF dated on the 24th.
On Monday, July 23rd, we downloaded the original file uploaded to The Florida Supreme Court’s website by The JQC.
We discovered something pretty astonishing.
What we discovered was that if you saved the PDF file to a different file format, such as an image file, all the redacted material, (covered by black bars), could be viewed.
We thought it was pretty sad the state’s so called judicial watch dogs where so reckless uploading the Formal Charges without making sure the “Confidential Information”, was properly redacted.
Contini’s court was the family court and all that “redacted” information had mostly to do with adoptions and dependencies of children.
That type of information under Florida law is “ULTRA-Secret”.
See Florida Statute 63.162 – Hearings and records in adoption proceedings; confidential nature.
By publishing that complaint without properly redacting it, The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission potentially exposed some of Broward’s family’s, and children’s very confidential information that could have effects for years to come.
We made them aware of the situation via a popular Broward Courthouse Blog called J.A.A.B., on the morning of the 24th.
In less than an hour of our post, the PDF came down from The Supreme Court’s website, and the new one was up.
Don’t bother looking for the comment by us though, it was taken down almost immediately.
Then, after all that, they drop the charges against the former judge only eleven days later.
The judge resigned. Unbelievable.
The judge had resigned weeks before the charges were filed, and in fact, had sent the JQC a copy of his resignation letter.
More than a full month later on September 05, the Florida Supreme Court approved the dismissal.
They had the authority at any time during these proceedings to stop this, but decided as usual not to.
During that month it seems the former judge through his attorney, were working out a deal between The Supreme Court, the JQC and The Florida Bar.
What a great deal it turned out to be, at least for the former judge anyway. It let’s the judge off with very little to lose.
Other than a five year prohibition from the practice of law, he is only required to repay a mere $1,250.00 for cost of prosecution.
We estimated that the former judge had robbed the Broward taxpayers of about ten times that much, according to The JQC’s own allegations, to which Contini has admitted to.
The PETITION FOR APPROVAL OF CONDITIONAL GUILTY PLEA FOR CONSENT JUDGMENT, at the beginning of this article, was filed on September 05.
On September 06, The Florida Supreme Court dismissed the formal charges.
That brings us to now, the month of October.
On Thursday October 04, The Florida Supreme Court gave their official approval of the PETITION FOR APPROVAL OF CONDITIONAL GUILTY PLEA FOR CONSENT JUDGMENT.
With that stroke of a pen, (The Order), the more that three year Contini saga comes to an end
Once again the entities the Florida Constitution set up to be the states “Judicial Watchdogs”, both The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission, and The Florida Supreme Court, have decided to protect one of their own rather than the citizens of the state of Florida.
What they have allowed amounts to not even “barely” a slap on the wrist for Contini.
Maybe that’s why Broward county has the most disciplined judiciary in the state.
This is a chart we compiled earlier this year that shows that Broward County is in fact the most disciplined judicial circuit in the state. It needs to be updated.
As we have stated before;
Take a look at the number for Broward compared to the rest of the state. There is no other word for that except SHAMEFUL.
Even more SHAMEFUL, is both the Judicial Qualification Commission, and Florida Supreme Court’s lack of action concerning these judges, not only from Broward, but elsewhere in the state.
A note about Contini’s attorney through all this, Mr. Fred Haddad.
It is undisputed that Mr. Haddad is one of the best attorneys available in Florida and his services do not come cheap.
It wouldn’t surprise anyone to find out that the former judge probably payed him about ten times the amount the court ordered him to pay for cost of prosecution.
Broward county averages three to four judges in trouble every year for the past several.
We can only assume that this is going to continue in as much as these judges almost never face penalties, if any, that amount to anything.
South Florida Corruption.com