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Judicial Qualifications Commission

Judicial ethics watchdog could suffer in fight for independent Florida courts

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Is Florida’s judicial ethics commission about to become collateral damage in a battle over the independence of the courts? House Speaker Richard Corcoran, the Land O’Lakes Republican, appears to have targeted the Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) along with the courts themselves in his campaign to curb the independence of the judiciary. The JQC and the Supreme Court had not concluded an ethics case against Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey III of Jacksonville when Corcoran scheduled an impeachment hearing a month ago.…

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House panel takes on impeachment power, local government ethics reforms

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A new House panel on Tuesday moved two measures aimed at tightening ethics requirements at the local government level. The Public Integrity and Ethics Commitee, chaired by Yalaha Republican Larry Metz, OK’d proposals (PCB PIE 17-03, PCB PIE 17-04) that would increase local officials’ financial disclosure, clamp down on potential conflicts of interest and create a Local Government Lobbyist Registration Trust Fund. Moreover, the committee continues to show an interest in the House possibly exercising its constitutionally-granted impeachment power. Metz had revealed last month…

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Broward judge to be publicly reprimanded Feb. 7

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The Florida Supreme Court on Monday “commanded” a Broward judge to come to Tallahassee Feb. 7 for a public reprimand. Circuit Judge John Patrick Contini also must write a letter of apology, undergo judicial mentoring, complete a mental health program, and pay administrative costs, according to a court order. He was brought up on judicial misconduct charges last year. Contini was accused of sending a document on how to argue for lesser sentences to an assistant public defender without giving a copy to prosecutors.…

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jacksonville judge accused of calling female attorney “c-word” (no, not counselor)

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A Jacksonville judge now faces judicial misconduct proceedings for reportedly making racially-biased and other derogatory comments off the bench, among other charges. They include referring to a woman attorney by using a vulgar term for female genitalia. The state’s Judicial Qualifications Commission filed its notice of formal charges against Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey III on Wednesday. The commission investigates misconduct accusations against judges; the Florida Supreme Court disciplines them. Hulsey, son of the late Jacksonville legal legend Mark Hulsey Jr., also was charged with mistreating…

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Supreme Court could reprimand judge over “undignified conduct”

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The Florida Supreme Court is signaling it agrees with the proposed punishment for a Broward judge. A panel of the Judicial Qualifications Commission had recommended a public reprimand, mentoring and stress management classes after Circuit Judge John Patrick Contini was brought up on judicial conduct charges last year. The court issued an order to Contini on Monday “to show cause, on or before July 5, why the recommended action should not be granted.” He was accused of sending a document on…

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Martin Dyckman: Pam Bondi’s mess too pungent to ignore

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Assume that Pam Bondi were a judge. That’s a dismal prospect but bear with it. Assume further that she asked for a campaign contribution from a big shot businessman who was being sued in her court — and that after getting the money, she dismissed the case. If she was a judge, instead of Florida’s attorney general, she could be kicked out of office simply for asking anyone for a campaign contribution, even without a pending case being involved. The…

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Judicial panel recommends judge’s suspension for impairment

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A Florida judicial panel is recommending that a Miami-Dade County judge be suspended from the bench because of evidence she was impaired at a restaurant and at work. The Judicial Qualifications Commission panel made the recommendation Monday pending the outcome of Judge Jacqueline Schwartz‘s case. The Florida Supreme Court must decide whether to approve the recommendation. An investigation found that Schwartz appeared to be impaired on March 18 at a Coconut Grove restaurant, where witnesses said she berated waiters and…

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