Lying Causes Downfall Of A Judge…Again







Former Circuit Court Judge Lynn Rosenthal learned this year what is obvious:

The lie always gets you in the end.

Broward judges have landed in trouble for lying at least since the era of President Richard Nixon, who knew something about the punishment for lying.

Rosenthal is just the latest.



Lynn Rosenthal


Rosenthal resigned Wednesday after trying to lie her way out of an investigation of her drunk driving charge. Investigators found that records on her cell phone were erased and that she made misleading or incomplete statements about the incident.

In September the Florida Supreme Court rejected a 90-day suspension recommended by the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the group that polices the bench. The Supremes wanted to hear more about Rosenthal’s lying.

So she quit.

The first judge who got in trouble for dishonesty in my time was Broward Circuit Judge Stewart LaMotte.

In 1977 LaMotte was removed for charging his daughter’s flights to college on a state credit card. He told the JQC he thought the state would deduct the charge from his paycheck.

The JQC wasn’t buying any of it. They called LaMotte “an out-and-out liar.”

The Supreme Court agreed.

Bye bye Stewart LaMotte.

Roughly 10 years later the case of Broward Circuit Judge Irwin Berkowitz was admirably covered by the Sun-Sentinel legal reporter and my pal Larry Keller.

Berkowitz beat incumbent Circuit Judge Jack Musselman in the 1986 primary at a time when a Jewish name helped elected almost any fool to the bench.

Within months, Berkowitz and Judges Linda Pratt and Brian Kay were charged with distributing misleading campaign literature during the primary. The joint mailings alleged the three candidates were endorsed by the major political parties by containing a sample ballot with a “striking resemblance to the official sample ballot,” according to the Supreme Court.

The JQC praised Pratt and Kay for “candor and demeanor during these proceedings” and said they only deserved a reprimand.

But Berkowitz displayed a “presented a textbook case of deceptiveness” for JQC investigators, who immediately went back and found more wrongdoing.

In the end, Berkowitz was charged with using misleading campaign literature and continuing to practice law while on the bench, lying to investigators and misusing a trust account while a private attorney before becoming a judge.

The Supremes wrote in their opinion:

“On the totality of the circumstances it appears that Berkowitz is basically dishonest. His conduct, both while a judge and while a practicing attorney, demonstrates a propensity to skate close to the edge. Apparently, he is unconcerned about taking an expedient or ill-considered course rather than one tempered by consideration of and reflection on the rightness or wrongness of the action.”

Bye Bye Berkowitz.

Fast forward to former Circuit Judge Ana Gardiner. She quit the bench and was disbarred by the Supreme Court in 2014. Gardiner was accused of lying about a “relationship” with a prosecutor of a 2007 death case in front of her.

The lesson is clear.

The Broward Courthouse sprinkled with judges who fessed up to wrongdoing, were punished, and still sit on the bench.

The ones who were caught lying to investigators and trying to obfuscate the facts are gone.

And that’s a good thing.


(Be assured that bad judges are not infesting Broward’s courthouses. Most judges do an admirable job. Broward, the second largest county in Florida, has roughly 16 percent of the cleared cases of judicial misconduct in the last 15 years by the JQC.)


8 Responses to “Lying Causes Downfall Of A Judge…Again”

  1. Broward Voter says:

    The only good news out of this is that Rosenthal had to spend $170,000 of her own money to get reelected and serve less than a year of new term.

  2. Talks like a politician says:

    Perhaps the voters will reject a liar of national proportions, Hillary Clinton, before she sits in the White House, instead of after when all the dirty laundry is exposed.

  3. Ha Ha Ha says:

    So whatever happened to turn the JQC from the enforcers who nailed LaMotte and Berkowitz into the pathetic wimps who tried to give Rosenthal a featherweight slap on the wrist? From the inquiring minds who once nominated great judicial professionals into the degenerate cretins who nominated the grossly unqualified Nina Di Pietro?

    The integrity of the JQCs was utterly destroyed by Governor Rick Scott. Shame on all those who voted to put that corrupt scumbag into the Governor’s mansion instead of giving him the prison cell he so totally deserves. And additional shame on all those who voted to re-elect Reckless Rosenthal.


    The Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) is only responsible for the integrity of the judiciary. The Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) recommends appointees to the bench. Two different bodies. Five of the 15 JQC members are chosen by the governor, four are chosen by The Bar and the rest are judges picked by their peers.

  4. Zowie says:

    Alcee Hastings seems to me to have made out quite nicely.


    Hastings “made out quite nicely” by being elected to Congress. He was impeached as a judge.

  5. Disgusting says:

    How does Chief Judge Weinstein allow this disgrace to sit on the bench until the end of the month? She actually presided today? She has no shame whatsoever. Truly a horrible person.

  6. Huh? says:

    What are you smoking buddy? Did you pop some xanax and sleep write this? “Be assured that bad judges are not infesting the Broward judiciary” What? Ha ha ha. Perhaps you should’ve talked to your PD son before posting that nonsense. He was before one of the worst (McCarthy) who is currently being moved by Weinstein to preserve her political career. Or maybe you should get a bar license and practice in the tri-county area to experience the difference in professionalism and competence between Broward judges and everyone else before posting about the judiciary. Please, get a clue.

  7. ghost of jahra says:

    Thank you again Jahra. That’s two for two.

  8. Huh? says:

    Perhaps you should try reading some real journalistic articles: