BY BUDDY NEVINS
Imagine a judge that received immunity to testify in a corruption case.
Imagine a judge who was absent from work for months last year for “health reasons” that she has never really explained.
Then imagine a judge who has been the center of controversy her entire public life – from ethics complaints against her to public shouting matches with her colleagues. And let’s not forget allegations that she was influence peddling when she was a paid lobbyist for a developer.
Then imagine County Judge Ilene Lieberman.
Only in Broward.
Only in Broward would a politician with such a flawed record attempt to be elected as a judge.
It’s a disgrace when there are so many more qualified lawyers with sterling reputations who have no hope of becoming a judge. But Lieberman, who I believe is a second-rate lawyer and a third-rate individual, will probably win.
As TV reporter Bob Norman puts it on his Channel 10 blog, “The only experience I’ve seen she’s had in the justice system is as a listed witness in the criminal corruption case against her former friend, Tamarac Mayor Beth Talabisco.”
The woman running against Lieberman has real courtroom experience: Kathleen McHugh is a former public defender and a courtroom veteran.
McHugh has represented clients in more than 100 jury trials.
“I’ve have practical experience,” McHugh said. “I don’t know how many jury trials she’s had.”
My guess: zero.
Unfortunately, its politics that counts. Lieberman is a lifelong politician who knows the rope. McHugh is a political amateur.
McHugh has already made a mistake, in my opinion, by hiring a weak political consultant. And she has spent too much of her money upfront.
Lieberman is said to be using veteran consultant Judy Stern. This is the same Lieberman who told me years ago that Stern was a blight on the county commission. Hmmmm.
When asked about being in a race with Lieberman, McHugh said, “I am not dissuaded by it. In my heart I know I’m the better candidate.”
She’s right. Unfortunately, Lieberman is the better politician.
That what counts in election’s. And that’s tragic for the Broward judiciary.