Judicial Candidate Accused of Bar Violation

BY BUDDY NEVINS

Judicial campaigns are the toughest campaigns of all.

Candidates must campaign countywide in a huge community of around one million voters, bigger than many states.

Candidates must appeal to Republicans, Democrats and independents, because the races are non-partisan.

Candidates are generally novices who have never run for office before and thus can become the victims of bloodsucking “campaign consultants” out for their money.

And unless you use your own cash, the campaigns are tough to finance.  Contributions are hard to find when the winner doesn’t have a vote that can benefit special interests.

So I feel sorry for Michael Rothschild.

Rothschild stumbled clueless into what is becoming an Internet controversy by attending a political victory party in June.

Property Appraiser Lori Parrish and County Commissioner-Elect Marty Kiar threw the event. It was held at the Italian restaurant owned by Sunrise commissioner Joey Scuotto to celebrate their victory without opposition in mid-June.

Rothschild has been friendly with Parrish since he was a little boy, both said.  She remembered him running around a kitchen covered with powered sugar when she was trying to bake.

“I went to share a happy occasion with some friends,” Rothschild said. “I wasn’t campaigning. I was in shorts and I wasn’t wearing a campaign button or passing out literature.”

Still, there is a January opinion by a Supreme Court advisory committee that frowns upon a judicial candidate attending a political victory party, calling it a violation of Florida Bar Rules of Ethics.  That’s because it could taint the non-partisan bench with a politics.

However, the opinion concerns a judge running for re-election, not a non-incumbent.

Rothschild is currently in private practice.  He is vying for an open Broward Circuit Court seat against Julie Shapiro-Harris.

So does it cover Rothschild’s case? That’s up to the Bar, and eventually the Florida Supreme Court to decide.

I was told that there has been a complaint filed with the Bar. I was given a case number.

Rothschild told Browardbeat.com that he hasn’t been notified about a complaint.

That’s the factual story.

Here is what I believe:

This “issue” is a distraction.  It has nothing to do with which candidate has the experience to be a good judge.

Rothschild clearly has the support.  He has raised $57,307, plus $7,500 of his own money by the end of June.

In the same time frame, Shapiro-Harris has raised $7,135, putting in $65,000 of her own.

The wife of Democratic political consultant Barry Harris, she spent an amazing $51,122. I would assume that means we’ll be seeing an advertising barrage from her.

When I covered the Legislature, the term heifer dust was used to denote irrelevant arguments thrown out to divert attention from the real issues.

Rothschild is the victim of heifer dust.

Yes, he should know the rules.  But everybody makes a mistake. In the vast scope of judicial candidate mistakes, this one is miniscule.

Michael Rothschild, holding his son, with the pols. That’s Joey Scuotto in the middle between Marty Kiar and Lori Parrish. (Picture from Tamaractalk.com)



33 Responses to “Judicial Candidate Accused of Bar Violation”

  1. Laughable says:

    Really? Someone’s concerned about this versus the actions of Rothschild’s opponent and her husband?

    Isn’t Barry Harris the guy who ran the Chait’s campaign committee that gave the dirty money in those Tamarac races? Didn’t Bob Norman write about Harris and him having to be given immunity from prosecution in connection with the Chaits.

    Sorry, spending a few minutes talking with Lori Parrish while not wearing a campaign shirt or doing other campaign activities seems like petty nonsense compared to the real corruption in this community.

  2. Kevin says:

    The bar rules and the election laws in Florida for judicial elections are idiotic and are an affront to informed democracy.

    Under the bar rules, candidates basically cannot talk about anything related to how they would do their job. No opinions about, say, the death penalty.

    Under the election laws, they are not even allowed to use partisan labels even though people “in the know” know who is Democrat, Republican, etc.

    So we are left with lawyers who come up with resumes and life stories, and send out cheesy mailers with football schedules on them!!!

    This, of course, only benefits incumbent judges, who have two things they CAN put in front of their names in campaigning: the title “Judge” and the word “re-elect”.

    We ought to either (1) stop electing these people, or (2) let them run in partisan elections and tell us exactly what they think about legal issues.

    Of course, I might be wrong.

    Kevin.

  3. What's the big deal says:

    Wasn’t Lori elected unopposed? So since she wasn’t a candidate, does this even matter? I see judicial candidates touting their endorsements from elected officials all the time, why is this any different, especially when they’ve apparently known each other for decades?

    FROM BUDDY: The event was paid by the Parrish and Kiar campaign. It celebrated a political victory. That is why it is controversial.

  4. No dumb blonde says:

    Mr. Nevins, you’re “blow-off” off the Canons is surprising. I have read the rules. They are accessible online. I find it difficult to believe that you would feel sorry for a Judicial candidate who claims to know the law but has difficulty parsing the Judicial Canons. A mistake? More like blatant disregard… Or being above the law…
    If a candidate can’t follow the simple rules set forth that all Judges and Judicial candidates are required to adhere to how can we expect him to adhere to the rules of the courtroom. And… It’s not just that Rothschild ignored or didn’t read or didn’t understand the Canons. All candidates must attend an educational class on the Canons. How blatant must his violation be? It was also made clear at the partisan victory party that Parrish’s husband was not there due to the ethics violation his attendance would create.
    You feel “sorry”for this adult man who wants a very grown up job?
    I feel sorry for Broward if this guy gets the bench.

  5. Not a Lawyer says:

    Rule 1 (in life and campaigning)
    When in doubt, don’t.
    Rule 2 (fact) Ignorance is not a defense. In a court of law or not.
    Rule 3 Once a candidate, and later if elected, You are and will be held to a higher standard, whether you want to be or agree to be. can’t handle it – then don’t run.
    Rule 4 – Litigation is a blood sport. Guess running for office is as well, and definitely if an attorney seeking a judgeship. He better read up on both Fla.Sta. for campaigns and the Code of Ethics of Florida Bar.

    why the sympathy case here Buddy?

    FROM BUDDY:

    I agree with all your points. As I wrote, this is such a minuscule matter that I don’t consider it a big deal. Talk about the levels of experience or their legal knowledge. Innocently attending a party by mistake should not be an issue.

    In the past few years, we have at least one judge on the bench who openly campaigned as a Democrat and nothing was done about it. Another judicial candidate — he lost, but still broke Ethics Rules — campaigned by telling voters he was the “real Democrat” running. These more problematic because of the open defiance of the rules.

  6. Just Saying says:

    This helped decide my vote (since I was somewhere between “undecided” and “I really don’t care” on this race): I’m voting for Rothchild. And I’ve never met the guy. I just don’t like these whiny, “file-a-complaint” type of petty campaign tactics. Pull up your big boy/big girl pants and stop this whiny crap.

  7. no dumb blonde says:

    I am having a hard time understanding why a blatant disregard for the rules is OK with people. If this “in your face” ethics rule has been violated how many other behind closed doors violations must there be?
    It is disrespectful and unbecoming for a Judicial candidate.
    We don’t always have to agree with the laws and rules set before us but if we break them we have to be accountable. I don’t care what party Rothschild belongs to. What I care about is who has the knowledge and prudence to deserve the robes.
    BREAKING THE RULES is NOT OK.
    Broward County has enough elected officials that break the rules and I think that THEY suck.
    I’ve never met Rothschild, either.
    Don’t care to. His behavior is an afront to the bench.
    Like I posted earlier, its not just that he hasn’t read the rules or parsed them incorrectly he also ignored what they told him in the session that makes sure they understand and agree to them.
    I haven’t ‘met” the man but I have heard his speech…he talks a lot about respect for the law and how “wonderful’ he is. Thats a load of nonsense. This behavior is not a mistake. It’s a slap in the face of the voters. It doesn’t matter to me personally what his political stripe is although the people at the meeting I attended probably and clearly would be uncomfortable with it. We also like to think we know what is “Right”. And this…was all wrong.

  8. @Not a Dumb Blonde says:

    Jeez, kinda obvious who is making this comment.

    I’m sure you aren’t the blonde that runs the “news” site that’s advertising Mrs. Barry Harris’s campaign or who took the photo that’s posted here.

    $20 bucks says the complaint gets dismissed.

  9. Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged says:

    Kevin is exactly right. It is time we elected judges based on actual knowledge of their position on issues. Do not let the elite talk you into losing your ability to vote for judges. If all judges were appointed, the Bench would soon be populated by elites appointed by other elites, with no need at all to worry about what we peons think.

    Why do we care what the Bar thinks? Isn’t the Florida Bar just a glorified trade union?

    On to grading these two candidates.

    ROTHSCHILD

    Male +1
    Democrat -1
    Family Man +1
    Jewish -1 (Sorry, just playing the percentages here. Some of my best friends are yadda yadda…)
    Experience +1
    Doesn’t know minor rules -1

    TOTAL……………Neutral

    SHAPIRO-HARRIS

    Female -1
    Democrat -1
    Jewish -1
    Stickler for rules -1
    Hyphenated name -1
    Experience – infinity

    TOTAL…………-5 (- infinity)

    So, we have a ringing endorsement of Rothschild with a neutral score of 0.

    Shapiro-Harris would make a nice psychologist or social worker. Surprise! That is what she is doing now.

    A word to Shapiro-Harris: Judges are not here to “help people”. Judges are here to rule on the law, without bias or prejudice.

  10. no dumb blonde says:

    Oh…and Mr. Not a Lawyer…you’re right on.

    This is about ethics Buddy not politics.
    …if your so concerned about Rothschild…go buy him some big boy panties and a third grade reading primer. You and “Just Saying” sound like you work for the guy.
    Clearly, you are writing with bias,
    both in your article and your defensive comments in regard to people participating in this forum.
    You are an opinion guy, not a journalist.
    Your summation makes farce of our system.
    And once again I pose the question…if this is what is done in public with pictures all over the internet what rules are being broken not under the scrutiny of the public eye?
    This was not a mistake…this guy is way too sharp for this to be a mistake. I got that from the speech I saw.
    Buddy …this whole defense your making is disingenuous.
    You feel “sorry” for him? Really?
    Need a bandage for that bleeding heart?
    Treat him like a man or wipe his nose already.

  11. This is pathetic says:

    You’ve got to be kidding me! A well-liked, reputable candidate like Rothschild goes to celebrate a friend’s good fortune and his opponent decides to jump on him and put his license at risk for a leg-up?! What does that say about his opponent? Can’t win on her record or reputation, so let’s try a Karl-Rove-esque slash-and-burn technique? Just pathetic. Rothschild is clearly the most qualified candidate who is actually in touch with the citizens of Broward. “Rothschild for Judge” I say!

  12. experience says:

    …so he takes his kid to socialize with old friends, as a father, not a candidate, and the opponent files a complaint?

    We already know she is good at filling out forms; that’s what she does; she reviews injunction petitions; a very small legal area-the legal knowledge it takes to do her job would barely fill a thimble!

    She has no other way to attack her opponent than this? She needs to stop the sleazy tactics and learn a little law. Apparently she’s learned more from her husband than she learned in law school.

    Mr. Rothschild is light years ahead of her in trials, civil and criminal experience, and dedication to this community. Her sniping won’t change that.

  13. Luzzo says:

    I remember when seller won for mayor a few years ago with victory party at parrot lounge and they had videos on SS blog. Judge Luzzo was there sucking up free food and booze, what a loser.

  14. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    If his father is who i think it is-he will have no proplem. Judge Rothchild(the candy man)I think is now on the Federal Bench-(good judge-). So don’t worry-you should be a shoe-in(good luck).

  15. Rothchild for Judge says:

    It is absolutely rediculous that a family friend running for Judge attends an event open to the public, who does not wear any campaign memorbilia or in possession fo any campaign literature cannot attend an event. His attendance had nothing to do with him running for Judge, it was about celebrating a family friends unopposed victory event. Don’t people have anything better to do with their time. I fully support Michael Rothchild, who is an excellent candidate and man with integrity. This is simply “bullshit” and clearly a concerned opponent!!!

  16. No dumb blonde says:

    Mr. Nevins,
    Is there a problem posting my comments?

  17. Dan says:

    This is the dumbest non-story ever. Rothschild went to support some people he has known since being a child. This is just Barry Harris trying to score points for his wife. Shapiro-Harris couldn’t cut it as a private attorney and went bankrupt in 2003 after 18 months of practice. Since then she’s been a staff attorney at the Broward Clerk’s office where word around the campfire is that her work product is so terrible an eight year old could do a better job.

  18. Susanna Bott says:

    I agree completely with “No dumb Blonde”‘s comments!!!

    I am Susanna Bott and I approve this message.

    A judicial candidate who ignores first-line basics IS a huge problem. Hello? Rothschild needs immunity before the election. Uhmmmmm … yeah = ill-informed candidates “Go Home”! A judgeship is a honorable position. Please reconsider and withdraw before you do some real damage in Broward County, sir.

    Julie C. Shapiro-Harris ALL THE WAY!!! Respect Knowledge Proven Experience

  19. Susanna Bott says:

    Buddy, “Candidates must must …” I guess they “must”!

    and I think its “an” honorable not “a” … Come on, man, (and I normall like you!) You are a publisher/editor? I am always surprised when professional writers let articles publish without good editing.

    ~ and Julie is the better candidate.

    😀 Have a nice evening.

    FROM BUDDY:

    You are my editor 🙂 I originally wrote “must must” for emphasis. After your comment, I went back and looked. I decided you were right and changed it.

    If I was you before I criticized my editing, I would learn to spell “normally” right. See, Ms. Bott, anybody can make a mistake. It doesn’t make their argument any more or less valid.

  20. What about Julio says:

    You have Gonzalez out on the stump refusing to admit that he wroked for Scott Rothstien, an admitted briber of Judges while Julio worked for him. One has to wonder if Julio parking in the Judges garage and using the Judicial elevators after he lost the election and worked for Scott gave Rothstien inside access like he had a TD and the other banks.

    Julio sends out a funraising letter which flat out lies saying he has worked for the last few years as Julio Gonzalez PA when that entity was dissolved by the State while he was still on the bench.

    It was reported here that Julio juiced up the value of his home by a couple of hundred grand to claim he didnt have a negative net worth. More interesting coupled by the fact that Gonzalez had the same houe on the market trying to short sale the property at 60% less than the value Julio claims it was worth on his financial filings to run.

    Sorry denying working for RRA and Mark Nurik, lying to the public you practiced as a law firm that was long dissolved and using Scott Rothstien math to juice the value of your house shows a lot more of an ethical lapse then some guy wishing his friends well at party.

  21. hollywood beach says:

    easy team rothschild. is it true that the FBI is investigating 4 broward judges? what about campaigning with papa at the emerald society breakfast. JQC ??? probably waiting till after the election. asking political feeders for help to “get my son elected”. young rothschild is strategically playing dumb and/or is not so clean. let’s wait till after the election. rothschild…buy one get one free kind of deal 🙂 if it wasn’t for papa young rothschild couldn’t make it as a bag boy at Publix, not that I am demeaning the bag boys.

  22. What a crock says:

    Jeez “no dumb blonde” — don’t you have your “talk” sites to be posting on and taking the candidate money for advertising.

    Look, we know that Mrs. Harris and a few other candidates advertise on your sites, but I didn’t know that what you charge them includes your anonymous blogging services too.

  23. Not a Lawyer says:

    footnote-
    To ‘no dumb blonde’
    Not a Lawyer is a woman (who thinks like a man)
    Not a Lawyer wishes she was one and may be one some day,
    although I surmise it is easier to be a male lawyer in a man’s world than a woman lawyer, no matter how qualified she may be
    (Thanks Buddy!)

  24. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    @Bott

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    The first rule of forums, chat rooms and bulletin boards is: DON’T FEED THE TROLLS. If you feed them, they grow. If you starve them, they wither up and die.

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    http://www.smosh.com/smosh-pit/articles/18-types-of-internet-trolls

  25. Susanna Bott says:

    Buddy! 😀 I feel the love!!! xxo, Susanna Bott

  26. Let's be clear says:

    At the moment Michael Rothschild has not broken any rules. The rule is not clear on this issue and the only interpretation is where a sitting Judge was precluded primarily under Cannon 2 which governs the conduct of Judges. The only way a determination is made is IF a complaint is filed.

    This “story” has been floated for weeks. While Rothschild cant comment on the details of a complaint he could comment if a complaint was filed. As seen here he has no knowledge of a complaint. As well if there was an actual complaint I am sure it would be popping up around town.

    We will know if “whomever” files a complaint (which would show a concern for ethics) or if no complaint is filed it just shows that it is likely Shapiro supporters created enough buzz to get an article written so it could be photocopied and hand out for free press.

  27. No dumb blonde says:

    1) I do not now and have never had a blog site. You’re all on the wrong page and flinging accusations at the wrong person.
    2) I saw Rothscild at BREC and at a function in Hollywood with mixed party affiliations.
    3) Legacy in the courtroom is potentially very dangerous.
    4) None of you know me. I posted on this blog once before on a similar thread.
    5) Thank you for pointing out additional violations at Emerald Hills- unfortunately
    hearsay. Are there pictures?
    6) Friends of Parrish or Kiar makes no difference. Rothschild needs no campaign paraphernalia. His face is a campaign button, it’s on all of his literature and all over the Internet.
    7) Rules stickler? You find that an issue?
    We’re discussing the bench. You sound foolish and illinformed.
    8) Assuming that Shapiro-Harris or her campaign filed the complaint may just be naive. Do you really think that this campaign season is happening inside a bubble? Let me be clear… It’s not.
    10) Judicial candidates are subject to the same rules as a sitting Judge.
    Read the Canons. They are public information.
    Rothschild made the fatal error of getting caught on film. Pictures were posted on the Internet. Word gets around. Some people are offended that he is running for his fathers seat. There were other open seats. He could have chosen any one of them but decided to attempt to fool the voters with name recognition.
    I have no other stake in this election other than to vote in “clean” blood to the bench. Everything else is superfluous.
    Personalities and relationships aside, as I have surmised there are many here, should not come into play.
    I should change my pseudonym to:
    Janet-or.
    Might that be a clue?
    Didn’t think so, you owe that other woman an apology.

  28. On the fence says:

    As a voter, I’m so discouraged I don’t know any of you that includes Mr Nevins. But I am thankful for the information and will keep it in mind. Things like this happen everyday.Is it truly suprising to anyone or is it because there is a picture. I do agree with the I didn’t know defense .. But,I would not make my decision solely based on that fact either. If history repeats itself, then I would have to question his ethical behavior. Its not really going to matter to me if Lori Parrish or anyone else life long friend.

  29. #15 nailed it says:

    #15 – I could not have said it any better. Ask the courthouse lawyers who they think is more qualified for the position and I can assure “hollywood beach” that it has nothing to do with his father. Mr. Rothschild has actually tried cases and is more qualified for the position than just about every other candidate running for a judicial position.
    This whole “complaint” is a BS distraction by his opponents.

    Also, I have seen Judge Rothschild at several bar events over the past several months. Not once did he even mention the fact that his son was running. When someone brings it up to him, he deftly acknowledges the campaign and then quickly moves the discussion to another topic. At no point have I seen him “campaign” for his son.

  30. @ # 28 says:

    a knowledgeable judge in the LAW knows that the “mere appearance” is reason enough cause to have stayed away from a political venue…in an abundance of caution that is. i guess young rothschild has yet to learn the LAW.

  31. Consultant says:

    There are 90 judges in this county and currently 10-20 judicial candidates. Lori Parrish’s husband is a judge. Why was Mike Rothschild the only one there???
    BECAUSE EVERYONE KNEW IT WAS WRONG FOR A JUDGE OR JUDICIAL CANDIDATE TO BE THERE.

  32. Rothschild Wrong Choice says:

    Rothschild is only thought to be a serious candidate because of his father. Offices should not be handed down from father, the judge, to son. You talk about contributions. They all came from his father’s friends and lawyers who must appear before Judge Ron Rothschild. Inherited office is not right, fair or the American Way.

  33. voter says:

    for what its worth S-S endorsed this guy and mentions the judge/father. isn’t the S-S editorial board one guy?