Jacek Stramski

The last two weeks saw the Florida Supreme Court mete out discipline in two high profile cases involving judicial misconduct.

In Inquiry Concerning A Judge Re: Susan B. Flood (SC13-344), the Supreme Court adopted the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) that Polk County Circuit Judge Flood be reprimanded for engaging in an inappropriate relationship with her bailiff, over whom she had supervisory authority. The Court noted that a reprimand was appropriate, because even though the judge “violated Canons 1 and 2A, which require a judge to act at all times in a manner that upholds the integrity of the judiciary and to avoid the appearance of impropriety,” the judge admitted wrongdoing and has an otherwise unblemished record of judicial service. Allegations in this case have been previously discussed at the ABAJournal.com here and here.

In late October, the Supreme Court removed Leon County Judge Judith Hawkins from the bench. (SC11-550). The findings of fact made by the JQC, adopted by the Court, included findings that Judge Hawkins used her office, including computers and the services of her judicial assistant, to run a private business in the form of selling a self-published book, that the judge did not devote her full time to judicial duties, and that the judge tampered with and concealed evidence from the JQC during its investigation. The JQC recommended a reprimand, suspension without pay for three months, and a fine of $17,000, but the Court found that the misconduct engaged by Judge Hawkins was so egregious that removal from the bench was necessary.

Supreme Court Focuses on Judicial Discipline

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