Finkelstein Begs Governor: Don’t Name Flawed Lawyer A Judge






Local Judicial Nominating Commission ignored Nina Di Pietro inexperience and controversial firing from the Public Defender’s Office for ethical lapses.


dipietro-ninaNina Di Pietro


The JNC still recommended that Di Pietro, 33, the wife of a well-connected Republican activist and fund raiser, was one of six Broward lawyers that is qualified to be a judge.

The six lawyer’s names were forwarded to Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday, one day after the JNC interviewed candidates for the open judge position.

My post on the interviews is here.

Now Public Defender Howard Finkelstein has jumped into the fray.

Finkelstein sent letter and parts of Di Pietro’s personnel file to Scott on Wednesday. The document includes memos from numerous Public Defender’s Office supervisors while Di Pietro was working for them, complaining about her demeanor, work attitude and ethics.

She was eventually fired for her shortcomings, Finkelstein says.

The documents can be found at the end of this article.

Finkelstein also wrote the governor that was incensed that Di Pietro blamed two of her former Public Defender supervisors for her firing during her interview with the JNC on Tuesday. He accused her of trying to excuse her own “ethical transgressions.”

Will Finkelstein help or hurt Di Pietro? Only Scott can decide.

My take:

Di Pietro’s recommendation to the governor is perhaps the most disgusting example of political favoritism in the selection of a judge in recent times.

I’ve got nothing against Di Pietro. But shouldn’t this young lawyer first put some meat on her roughly nine-year long legal resume and put more distance between her and her PD Office firing?

Finkelstein’s letter to the governor and information about Di Pietro is here:

The Honorable Rick Scott

An earliest post on Di Pietro is here. 

19 Responses to “Finkelstein Begs Governor: Don’t Name Flawed Lawyer A Judge”

  1. Clount LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    I do NOT want to discuss Public Defender Finkelstein because he is a politician as well as an office holder who has his supporters and opponents. HOWEVER the issue of ETHICS is not left or right or Democratic or Republican!If you have violated ETHICS YOU HAVE VIOLATED ETHICS!! There are not “Democratic” Ethics or “Republican” Ethics, ONLY LEGAL ETHICS! If she violated LEGAL ETHICS there is NO REASON UNDER THE SUN TO RECOMMEND HER FOR A JUDGESHIP, PERIOD!

  2. Ask the PBA says:

    Ask the PBA how it worked out when they opposed Judge Singhal. Howard will be as effective with Gov Scott.

  3. Ellen Christopher says:

    You Are So Right!!!!!
    There are not “Democratic” Ethics or “Republican” Ethics, ONLY LEGAL ETHICS! If she violated LEGAL ETHICS there is NO REASON UNDER THE SUN TO RECOMMEND HER FOR A JUDGESHIP, PERIOD! – See more at:

  4. Just Saying says:

    Liberal Democratic Public Defender’s effort to convince very conservative Republican term-limited Governor to not pick connected GOP attorney seems not only doomed to fail … but will likely act as a ringing endorsement of her in Tallahassee and ensure her prompt selection.

  5. Zig says:

    Believe me, this Governor can give a rat’s behind about Howard Finkelstein and anything he has to say. His letter will guarantee she gets appointed.

  6. Voters Will Decide says:

    Much ado about nothing. She still has to get elected. God knows we in Broward county have had way worse than this on the ballot. The voters will make the decision in the end anyway.

  7. Barack Obama says:

    An alleged ethical violation of the magnitude is very troubling. It’s good that Howard addressed it appropriately- this information is extremely important. Attorney client privledge is absolutely key to a defense attorney. She probably needs to put more time between that incident and now whether it’s true or not.

  8. Thank you Howard says:

    Thank You Howard for trying to stand up for what’s right. The JNC have deserted the people to serve themselves.

  9. Drug Slinger Esq says:

    Howard really

  10. Lamberti is a Criminal says:

    @5 – I agree, and rightly so.

  11. The Guess Who says:

    Can’t wait for this one to get on the ballot. She won’t have enough favors to call in to fix that race.


    If Nina Di Pietro is appointed by Gov. Rick Scott, I wouldn’t count her campaign in 2016 out so soon. (1) She is an attractive female and that alone will generate some support. (2) She will be well-funded and have good campaign advise from her husband and whoever he hires. (3) She will be an incumbent and can call herself a judge. (4) Judging from the past in Broward County, her opposition will be divided and weak. Unless there is a good candidate and a limited field of challengers, it will be much, much harder to beat her. And (5) the toothless Broward Democratic Party organization will do nothing as is their track record in so many judicial campaigns. The Republican Party organization will be united behind her.

  12. Not Ian Richards says:

    I wonder who Michael Ahern will run against the pretty blonde.

  13. RINO says:

    Don’t forget the Lamarca connection. He has the governor’s ear and Dipietro’s husband is one of Lamarca’s minions.

  14. Ha Ha Ha says:

    And (6) Broward County voters just got through re-electing Circuit Judge Lynn Rosenthal. who is at least as bad as Nina Di Pietro AND on top of that she got arrested on camera right before the election…


    Absolutely correct.

  15. Broward says:

    Sheriff Isreal was found guilty of ethics violations by Governor Scott’s Committee. Why is he still in office. Poor decision making, bad judgement and friend invited to his BSO office even though a convicted felon and removed from office???

  16. Oh really says:

    I really hope she get appointed this meaning the governor giving the finger to both Buddy and Howard. The drunk judge
    Judge Lynn and Pollack is still there let it be a minority. A minority committing such a
    act would be disrobe and strip of their law
    Howard the recovering cocaine addict
    requires people to talk about him constantly
    so he will never step down. So rock that baby to sleep already.

  17. Chaz Stevens, I am Festivus says:

    A LaMarca minion? How short does one have to be?

  18. Ana Gomez-Mallada says:

    How is it that Finkelstein addressed Ms. DiPietro’s alleged ethical violations? He filed a bar complaint against her. It is virtually unheard of for a Public Defender – or indeed a State Attorney to file a bar complaint against one of their own lawyers. How did the Florida Bar – not genrally regarded as a “Republican friendly” organization – deal with Finkelstein’s complaint? They found NO PROBABLE CAUSE. And dismissed the complaint. Talk amongst yourselves…


    Ms. Gomez-Mallada is a long-time Fort Lauderdale trial and appellate attorney.

  19. Ha Ha Ha says:

    I take it that Ms. Gomez-Mallada is referring to the very same Florida Bar that everyone knows as the ultimate limp noodle where lawyer discipline is concerned?

    The Florida Bar may need to hold lawyers to a “higher standard” when it comes to misconduct, according to a much-anticipated report by the Hawkins Comission on Review of the Discipline System.

    The commission was formed in the wake of two major scandals that rocked the legal profession in Florida – the Scott Rothstein Ponzi scheme and the robo-signing controversy over forged foreclosure documents….