Courthouse Shocker! Judge Charged With Putting Phony Cases On Docket To Cover Up Absences

 

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

Now we know why Broward Circuit Judge John Patrick Contini resigned last month.

State investigators today charged former Judge Contini with a long and shocking list of alleged judicial misconduct.

The allegations include:

  • Having his judicial assistant create fictitious dockets including phony cases and hearings to cover up absences from the courthouse. It was alleged Contini was absent more than 30 days this year without telling the Chief Judge or administrative judge,
  • Posting confidential information from adoption cases on Facebook including names of the parties involved, which is against Florida law,
  • Having his judicial assistant do personal tasks such as pay his personal bills,
  • Sealing the civil case of Broward political operative Bill Lewis, a personal friend, although the case was not assigned to him and he had represented Lewis in the past,
  • Ordering a motion sealed that he be disqualified from a case,
  • Addressed court staff, litigants and attorneys in an arrogant, demeaning and dismissive tone.  He had already been warned by the Florida Supreme Court not to treat people in his courtroom with disrespect.

 

John Patrick Contini

 

Contini was elected in 2014, after working as a criminal defense attorney since 1987.

It didn’t take long for Contini to get into hot water. In March, 2015 he emarled an Broward assistant public defender outlining a strategy for getting lower criminal sentences. When the State Attorney’s Office found out about the email, they asked asked Contini to recuse himself.

Contini later had a heated argument in court over the recusal with an assistant attorney general. A complaint was filed with the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the group which polices judicial ethics. The Supreme Court issued a public reprimand of Contini in February, 2017.

Contini suddenly resigned in early July with the resignation taking effect immediately. He obviously knew this was coming.

These new charges are beyond anything I have seen filed against a Broward judge in the past.  And I’ve been around a long time.

Just take a look below and remember that Contini hasn’t had his chance to answer yet:

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