BY BUDDY NEVINS
Accused of misconduct and fighting to hold on to her job, Broward Circuit Judge Laura Watson charged this week that the attorneys who recommended in 2014 her removal from office should be held in criminal contempt.
Watson is accused of mishandling a $14.5 million legal settlement before being elected to the bench in 2012.
It is alleged that as a private attorney, she negotiated a settlement in a civil suit that cut out out her co-counsel on other cases. She is also accused of robbing her clients of the opportunity to seek further compensation from an insurance firm. The disciplinary case has been dragging on for over a year.
The Judicial Qualifications Commission recommended in April, 2014 that Watson should be removed from the bench.
Watson immediately struck back with motions accusing the JQC of bias and acting outside its authority. The JQC is the group that disciplines judges.
Wednesday’s motions were a continuing of this effort to fight back against the Bar and hold on to her seat.
A simple summary of her judicial history is here.
In the pleading, Watson charged that the JQC attorneys prosecuting her had committed “direct criminal contempt” and “perjury and other acts.”
She asked the Florida Supreme Court, the final arbiter of judicial discipline, to “punish” the attorneys and “to reject the JQC’s Report and Recommendation based upon perjury, fraud, spoliation of evidence, and numerous Bar violations, which relate to improper influence over and improper conduct of the Bar and JQC.”
Watson is currently handling cases in family court.
The accusations are myriad and can be seen in their entirety by clicking on the link below: