Broward Circuit Judge Matt Destry Charged With Ethics Violations





Circuit Judge Matthew Destry, who was defeated for re-election last month, has been charged with exchanging light sentencing for political help in his campaign.

“Your actions create the appearance of a quid pro quo exchange of political support for favorable judicial action,” wrote the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission in a complaint made public today.



Matt Destry


Destry was accused of meeting with political activist Vicente Thrower and Rev. Alan B. Jackson to discuss the sentencing of a defendant “outside the presence of the State Attorney and Defendant, and without the knowledge of either party.”

Thrower was a political supporter of Destry, according to the JQC.



Judge Matt Destry (right) and Vincente Thrower (posted on the judge’s campaign website in June)


During an hour-long meeting at Mangos restaurant on East. Las Olas Boulevard, Thrower and Jackson urged Destry to reduce the 60-year prison sentence for defendant Herbert Smith Jr., who was charged with probation violation in burglary and robbery cases.

Shortly afterwards, Destry suspended the sentence after public testimony from Thrower and Jackson.

Destry’s campaign website later included information about the sentencing, which included “a lengthy speech in which you; (1) acknowledge the widespread public clamor about your original sentence, and (2) attempt to set the record straight on why you sentenced Mr. Smith to the lengthy prison term.”

“The curated information about Mr. Smith’s case on your campaign website constitutes a public comment on a pending case in violation of Canon 3B(9).

“Taken together, your actions create the appearance of a quid pro quo exchange of political support for favorable judicial action, and further constitutes inappropriate conduct in violation of Canons 1, 2(A), 3B(2), 3B(7), 3B(8), 3B(9), 5A(2), 5A(3), 5A(4), of the Code of Judicial Conduct.”

Destry lost his re-election after years of accusations that his sentencing was inconsistent and harsh.  He was also accused during the campaign of being rude, repeatedly keeping courthouse personnel, jurors and witnesses waiting because of his habit of being late to court.

What the affect of the JQC charges against Destry is unknown.  Charges such as those Destry faces could result of his removal from office, but he is leaving the bench at the end of the year due to his August defeat.

Destry has 20 days to file a written answer to the JQC complaint, which could eventually result in a hearing concerning the charges.


The charges are linked here.


9 Responses to “Broward Circuit Judge Matt Destry Charged With Ethics Violations”

  1. Payback Is A Bitch says:

    Former SB member Stephanie Kraft must be jumping for joy! Destry locked her up for no reason after she was found not guilty on all but one minor charges. Then faced with an uproar, he relented and let her out after a few days in jail.
    JQC was long overdue.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Destry is going to have a hard time paying for his defense. No more lawyers falling over themselves to help him because he is leaving.

  3. Vote Duffy says:

    Barbra Duffy went out every night and called out Judge Destry for his unethical behavior while Abee Rifkin stood before everyone and tried to be cute by saying “I am not running against Judge Destry”.

    Now knowing the ethical failings of Judge Destry, why would anyone not vote for the person on the ballot, Barbra Duffy, who had the guts to call this guy out. I want a Judge who is not afraid to stand up and call out injustice when it is present.

  4. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    Years ago, in the midst of his four felony charges, Vincente Thrower stood before the Pompano Beach City Commission bitching about the TV show BSO Women Cops (forgot the show’s name) filming on location within the more sketchy neighborhoods.

    Two weeks later, Thrower is caught on film, hoping to buy the oral sex services of two, yes two, very attractive undercover cops….

  5. Dear V Love Jones says:

    Hope you nor Destry didn’t swear under oath that you didn’t get any campaign money…

  6. Keepin It Real says:

    Just to clarify:

    Is there still an outstanding balance?

    Collection(s)Total: 1
    Collection Date Charge Citation Number Total Imposed Amount Total Amount Due Total Amount Paid Current Amount Due Last Payment Date Last Payment Amount Next Payment Date Next Payment Amount
    02/28/2015 1 $793.00 $965.55 $300.00 $665.55 10/30/2012 $300.00 04/25/2013 $665.55

    Pay Fine/Fee Balance Due: $665.55

  7. Ira the Alcoholic says:

    c’mon, Payback – kraft belongs in a cage.


    Stephanie Kraft was found innocent of every serious charge by a jury.

  8. Dear Commissioner Bogen says:

    Just curious, do you still represent Vicente Thrower who is seeking to have the taxpayers of Pompano pay him a half a million dollars for attorneys fees related to a case where Thrower acknowledged taking money for votes? The only reason he was not convicted because the legislature didn’t make it a crime to take money for votes while on a voluntary advisory committee.

    Shall we guess you took on this case because, like Destry, Thrower would support you in the black neighborhoods of your District?

  9. Say What? says:


    Stephanie Kraft was found innocent of every serious charge by a jury.”

    Buddy, you can’t be serious. What a load of crap. Stephanie Kraft was convicted of Official Misconduct, a felony of the third degree, which carries a sentence of up to 5 years in prison.

    You do not consider that a serious charge? Come on.


    It was far less serious than the three very serious other charges facing her — bribery, unlawful compensation and conspiracy.