Did Supremes Telegraph Penalty For Broward’s DUI Judges?




On May 15th, the Florida Supreme Court announced it would publicly reprimand Circuit Judge Brenda Tracy Sheenen of Hillsboro County.

Sheenen’s crime: Drunk driving.

With three Broward judges – Giselle Pollack, Cyndy Imperato and Lynn Rosenthal – facing DUI charges, it is interesting to look at this decision.

In July 5, 2013, Sheenen was stopped while driving erratically. She agreed to two Breathalyzer tests which showed she had blood alcohol level of .171 and .161 – more than twice the legal limit.

She pleaded guilty to drunk driving. But the end of the criminal case wasn’t the end of Sheenen’s problems.

Judges are subject to a second disciplinary procedure.  The Supreme Court determines a judge’s punishment under the Code of Judicial Conduct.

The justices can hand out anything from a slap on the wrist to removal from office.

The Supreme’s public reprimand of Sheenen was based on several factors, according to the Court:

  1. Sheenen fully cooperated with authorities.
  2. Sheenen had “never before been charged with driving under the influence.”
  3. Sheenen “accepted full responsibility for her wrongdoing.”
  4. Sheenen took “steps to ensure that there will be no recurrence of such misconduct.”
  5. The incident “did not result in any personal injury or property damage.”

The Court ruled that Sheenen violated Canon 1 and Canon 2A of the Code.

Canon 1 states: “A judge should participate in establishing, maintaining, and enforcing high standards of conduct, and shall personally observe those standards so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved.”

Canon 2A states: “A judge shall respect and comply with the law and shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.”

Hence, the public reprimand.

So how about the Broward DUI judges? What will the Supremes do to them?

It doesn’t look good.  The Broward’s judges violated the Court’s own guidelines for the public reprimand they handed Sheenen:

* Imperato’s case mirrors Sheenen, except on one big, vital point. She refused to take a Breathalyzer.

The Supremes will surely note Imperato’s refusal. It will impact their decision and what penalty they impose.

* Pollack was in an accident that caused injuries. She had also already been removed from the bench at the time of the accident for alcoholism. Since the accident, the Supremes suspended her without pay.

Whatever punishment the courts hand out for Pollack’s alleged accident and drunk driving could no doubt impact the Supreme Court decision.  In the  opinion of courthouse observers including other judges, Pollack is probably facing the most serious punishment of the three from both the criminal courts and the Supremes.

* Rosenthal’s DUI charge is shaky. She passed a Breathalyzer, but because she refused to take further tests such as blood or urine there is no evidence of drugs. That refusal to take other tests could come back to haunt her when she faces the Supreme Court.

Will she get more than a reprimand because of the test refusal? And what about Rosenthal’s two minor accidents?

So we have three Broward  judges who are going to be disciplined by the Supreme Court in some way for breaking the Code of Judicial Conduct.  All three broke the same two Canons that Sheenen did.  But the situation with all three Broward judges is worse in one way or another.

What does the future hold for them? Could one or more of them be removed from the bench?

Stay tuned.


9 Responses to “Did Supremes Telegraph Penalty For Broward’s DUI Judges?”

  1. Ha Ha Ha says:

    So Mike Satz is planning to let Rosenthal-Feig walk scot-free after she literally rammed the gates of the main jail, sideswiped a marked police car, and managed to drive into the side wall of I-595?!?

    I get it – prison is only for low-income residents caught possessing marijuana. A millionaire elected official playing bumper cars while stoned simply gets all charges dropped. No doubt Satz will also visit her office to grovel at her feet and to personally apologize for letting the Sheriff’s patrol car and the jailhouse gate damage the paint job on her SUV.


    Mike Satz is planning to do anything. The case has been turned over to a prosecutor in another jurisdiction, which is always the practice when a judge is involved.

    The prosecutor may drop the case, as I wrote. Or he may let a jury hear the criminal case.

    Either way, her other problem will definitely be the Supreme Court, which will determine her fitness to be a judge.

  2. What you talkin' about Buddy? says:

    Buddy, Please explain to me how Imperato & Rosenthal “cooperated with the police” when they both refused testing in violation of the implied consent law? And from what I saw in Imperato’s video, she refused to get out of the car despite repeated requests. Please clarify because I call bullshit.


    You are right.

    Imperato didn’t cooperate with a request to take a Breathalyzer which may influence the Supreme Court based on the previous case I cited.

    Rosenthal refused a blood test and that also may influence the Supremes.

  3. Predictions says:

    Pollack – Removed from the bench
    Imperato – Suspended
    Rosenthal- Reprimanded

    For Imperato and Rosenthal, that’s if they co-operate. If they don’t it will only get worse.

    All three are an embarassment and don’t belong on the bench. There is no right to be a judge, its a privilege. All three have lost that privilege by not behaving to a higher standard and not acting like a judge 24/7.

    There are many good judges in this county. Unfortunately, the above three makes them all look bad, but the 3 don’t care. All they care about is their paycheck and pension. The legal community and the voters should work to get rid of all three.

  4. too bad so sad says:

    this wasn’t Imperato’s first DUI, she was arrested a while back before she became a judge so that factors into her future

  5. Zig says:

    @too bad so sad Imperato got caught drunk driving in 1988 when she was not even a lawyer. Not sure if that counts.

  6. Willie BV says:

    Two of the judges charged with drunk driving are still hearing cases so why doesn’t Chief Judge Weinstein remove them from the courtroom?

  7. What a joke ! says:

    No judge under an investigation should be judging anyone!

    Why are they not being removed from the bench until their cases are heard ?

    Broward is bullshit ! Remove them from the bench!

    Are they above the law that they are suppose to up hold ?

  8. just saying says:

    Are any of the supreme judges up for re-election come Nov 2014? Three were up the last election and many voters heard the call from a particular group that wanted them voted off because of the way the 3 had ruled (can’t remember the issue but I could dig it up. Votes were clsoe but all remained on the bench but it conveyed the power of the voters because most incumbents are always retained.

    Well those of us that want judges to adhere to their ethics and the FL Bar that they were once pat of before bench gigs are watching the SCOFL and they better hand the two the same suspension the other got.

  9. SAM FIELDS says:

    Judge Rosenthal’s refusal was a urine test and not a blood test.

    I have seen judges revoke Pre-trial Release or Probation for refusing to submit to a urine test.

    That can mean jail or state prison.

    As a former prosecutor, I suspect she argued to imprision defendants for refusing to submit to urine testing.

    I don’t wish her ill. I do hope that when she returns to the bench she will remember what it’s like to have the shoe on the other foot.

    It will make her a better judge.


    According to the police report, Rosenthal refused both blood and urine tests.