Update: Consultants Explain How DUI Judge Should Handle Her Political Future





Now that Circuit Judge Lynn Rosenthal is running for re-election while facing a DUI, she should:

(a) Drop out of her re-election campaign immediately, or

(b) Stop making political appearances, but pour money into an ad campaign,  or

(c) Go on as before, but preface each meeting with an apology.

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Judge Lynn Rosenthal: Four different views on how to handle her campaign from experts (Photo: Tamaractalk.com and Coralspringstalk.com)


That’s the views of four political strategists who have advised Broward County judicial campaigns, but are not working in Rosenthal’s race against challenger Franz “Jahra” McLawrence.

Rosenthal told police she was hung over from Ambien, a powerful sleeping medicine, when she crashed her car on the Interstate, left the scene and later hit a police vehicle outside the courthouse.

One question: Why did Rosenthal take a breathalyzer, but refused a urine and blood test?  Was she hiding something other than Ambien?

Before the campaign, Rosenthal was heavily favored.

Rosenthal’s campaign had roughly $150,000 in the bank as of April 30. McLawrence had less than $200.

“This will blow over,” one consultant opined. “She has to do a mea culpa and move on….There are an awful lot of seniors who are on prescription drugs who will understand her story (and) who (also) had a bad reaction to a drug. This election is in the primary and seniors make up a substantial group of the votes….

“She needs to say the incident made me more human, made me understand what affects peoples’ lives.”

Another political strategist vehemently disagreed.

“She needs to drop out immediately,” the strategist said. “Everywhere she goes from now people will be asking her about the DUI, or at least thinking it…. If she was taking Ambien because she was stressed from the campaign, wait until she goes out (now) with this overshadowing everything. This is a woman with $7 million who doesn’t need the job.”

(Rosenthal actually has a net worth of $3.777 million and an annual income of just over $224,000 from her judicial salary and investments.)

Two other strategists said that Rosenthal should take a great deal of money and use it for an ad campaign.

One explained: “Judicial candidates get absolutely no attention. Rosenthal has already gotten more attention – all of it negative – than any in recent years and it will continue to drip out through the primary. She has got to offset it (with mail and TV ads)…

“My bet would still be on her if this is handled right.  She is a well-spoken Jewish female running against, frankly, a guy with a foreign sounding name.  That gives her a big advantage.  Ads that say she is sorry and has learned a lesson and then moves on to her resume….

“That could do it for her, since the other guy will have a real problem attacking without looking like he is beating up on a woman. He won’t have enough money to get much of a message out so he’ll have to continue relying on negative stories in the press (and on TV).”

Another consultant agreed: “I would keep her off the (campaign) trail and run a media campaign. People underestimate the value of TV spots in a campaign like this. I would put her on the air in beautiful TV spots where we could address the issue in our own terms and move on.”

What do you think?

According to a source at the Weston Bar legal forum on Thursday, a day after her arrest:

 “Rosenthal walked into and worked that room like nothing happened. She gave a good speech. More important, McLawrence looked like he saw a ghost. The man with the big mouth on tv about how everyone should be treated equal etc, said nothing about the arrest. It is obvious McLawrence is a big man when she is not around but cowers in her presence. This race is all Rosenthal.”


16 Responses to “Update: Consultants Explain How DUI Judge Should Handle Her Political Future”

  1. Two cents says:

    One thing for sure her pulling the former us attorney card to have her mugshot pulled will have repercussions. Having the picture out there is bad but by doing what she did it paints her as a another ahole Broward judge. Hard to accept a mea culpable from someone who after all she did due to ambien fog knew the statute to request to hide her mugshot. Hard to go tell the people she is fallable like the rest of us when any one else would have had the mug shot out there for all to see.

    This is going to be Lieberman vs McHue all over again, Lieberman was the sure thing and a bett choice but all the chait coverage before the election was too much to overcome.

    The ambien defense is too good of a news story to go away. Imagine the national media commentators going on about how a judge can drive recklessly, with her own selfie video of her driving, and she could get off with nothing because you can’t get a DUI on ambien.

    Weston bar assn has a judicial forum tonight, curious if she shows.

  2. Debbie McClosky says:

    She has nothing to lose at this point. She should run the ad campaign and let the chips fall where they may. We are all assuming it was more than ambien but her refusal to submit blood or urine was a legal dodge on that. However, most people don’t even read the news and if she loses anyway, she loses. She isn’t desperate for the money it appears.

  3. Stay Classy Buddy says:

    In the same 24 hours you decry racist comments on the Sun Sentinel’s website. Then you glibly brush of McLawrence as someone with a funny sounding foreign name.

    Also, referring to Judge Rosenthal as DUI is just… classy.

    Stay classy Buddy.


    I didn’t say anything. The consultant did.

    Anybody who knows anything about campaigns know that identity politics is real and is especially influential in low-information judicial races. The consultant was right: More voters will identify the name “Rosenthal” as more similar to them than the name “Franz ‘Jahra’ McLawrence”. That’s not racist. Its political fact.

    There is absolutely no similarity in what that consultant said and the racist garbage in the Sun-Sentinel’s comment section. None. Nada.

  4. The Name Game says:

    The Name Game worked for Frantz Jahara in 2010 pretty well.

    Despite being a proud Carribean, he changed his name for the ballot to “F.J.” and made it through the first round against two opponents with very Jewish-sounding names.

    Want to ask how many east-side Republican voters whether they though “F.J. McLawrence” was really “Jahara” from the Carribean or if they thought he was some white Scotch-Irish guy……

    I wonder if Frantz Jahara is going to be himself in 2014 or if he’s going to pull the FJ again for the ballot.


    I don’t know what will appear on the ballot and in any of his campaign literature. His statement of candidacy signed and filed with the state Elections Office when he qualified gives the name “Franz ‘Jahra’ McLawrence.

  5. Legal Maven says:

    She needs to quit the race and get well right now. The stress of the coming election will drive her over the edge.

  6. Courthouse Observer says:

    Howard, the self appointed king of the courthouse, is all over the TV criticizing the judge. McLawrence is a former public defender. Finkelstein want to get rid of the former prosecutor Rosenthal and get McLawrence elected.

  7. It gets worse says:

    Frantz wants to run a “Grassroots Campaign” = CHEAP. without money he will get about as many votes as he accidentley got last time, if he plays the name game again.

  8. Unemployed Lawyer (retired) says:

    @ Name Game
    Interesting that Judge Rosenthal’s real name is Lynn Feig. Hummmmmmm
    Sounds like Judge Rosenthal, er, Feig is playing the name game. that aside.

    She could have killed or hurt someone. She violated the law she swore to uphold by refusing to take a blood or urine test. She is unfit for office. And it is only going to get worse for her if she continues in the race. But let her spend her millions.


    Her Florida Bar license is in the name Lynn Dena Rosenthal.

  9. Duke says:

    Anybody who advises her to take anything other than option “A” obviously doesn’t care what type of person they help get elected into a very important position. For them, all that matters is winning.

    I’m ole enough to remember the days when the main reason you worked on a political campaign is because you really believed in the person who you were supporting.

  10. All good says:

    How could anyne doubt Alain Jess’s ability to win this race?

  11. Judges: Treat Judges like you treat every one else says:

    Judges should treat those that appear before them – the unknown general public – the same way they treat each other.

    And Judges who use aliases, or try and misrepresent who they are to win elections should be required to list all the names and aliases they have used in the past on the ballot, so people can take pause to think about why it is necessary for them to do so. It says a great deal about them.

    Judges who refuse blood or urine tests, and do not cooperate with law enforcement, are not only breaking their oath to uphold the law, they are acting as though they are above the law. And the fact that a past affiliation, even though not serving in that capacity currently, can be used to circumvent a consequence that the general public cannot i.e., publication of a mug shot, is a perfect example of the arrogance that permeates among them and that they feel they are above the law.
    A former employee of any entity does not continue to receive the same privileges as a current employee, so a judge should not be able to modify the rules or the statutes to conveniently conform to, or ease the consequences of their mistakes to benefit themselves. I hope someone with the resources, and the integrity expected of a judge, who decides the fate of not only those that appear before them but the eventual fate of their families, will run against each and every one who unfairly benefit from their position, because they can. Give us a qualified choice.

  12. Ha Ha Ha says:

    In the 2010 election, Buddy wrote:

    Frantz McLawrence, who is running for an open county court seat against two opponents, might just be the candidate to beat.

    McLawrence has raised $43,923 in almost 600 individual contributions. Many of the contributors gave less than $100. It looks like a real grass roots effort.

    Opponents Nate Klitsberg and Mardi Anne Cohen have combined donations of less than half of McLawrence. They also have less than a fifth of his individual donations.

    Now all McLawrence has to do is get those contributors to the polls with their families.

    And according to the Broward Supervisor of Elections, McLawrence nearly won that seat with his 143,395 votes (47.94%) but he was narrowly edged out by Mardi Anne Levey Cohen with 155,735 votes (52.06%).

    I’m voting McLawrence and I hope he wins.

  13. too bad so sad says:

    this is all a tempest in a teapot. Yes, its another Broward Judge exercising poor judgment and engaging in dangerous acts, (impaired and driving), but it all amounts to a big yawn. Other than the courthouse crowd and the politicos, the general public doesn’t really care about this. My bet is she’s re-elected, no problem. A judge once told me that anyone whose name appears on a ballot against an incumbent will get about a third of the vote just for showing up. Feig, Rosenthal gets re-elected.

  14. Just One Concerned Citizen says:

    She should withdraw. The last thing Broward County needs is a millionaire job with a prescription drug addiction, who plays fast and loose with the law and uses her muscle to extract favors. Bye bye your honor 🙂

  15. Just One Concerned Citizen says:

    millionaire “judge”

  16. Sam The Sham says:

    with all the comments about her not obeying the law, I know Judge Rosenthal must be a Republican. If she were a Democrat, none of these laws would apply to her.