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. Contini himself is a former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney.
When prosecutors sought to disqualify him from pending criminal cases because of an appearance of bias, he rejected the request and lashed out against them, making “disparaging, demeaning remarks,” an investigative report says.
They included his wanting to “spank” and “ream out” the lawyers who sought to disqualify him. Contini later admitted he “‘lost it’ in court, ‘overreacted,’ ‘personified incivility,’ and had ‘no excuse’ for his comments.”
A Judicial Qualifications Commission panel noted that “Contini was a new judge, who … made a series of significant missteps.” It also said he “immediately accepted responsibility for his conduct, expressed sincere remorse, and apologized.”
The Supreme Court, however, noted that his “conduct was as improper as it was rude.”
Though he’s practiced law for 31 years, Contini was only elected judge in 2014 and on the bench since January 2015, the report says. He was given a hefty docket of more than 1,000 cases.