Numerous Sources: More Broward Judges Under Investigation For Absences

 

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

 

The courthouse is buzzing!

Numerous sources say that at least two more judges are under investigation for excessive absences. 

The Judicial Qualifications Commission has revealed nothing.

No charges have been filed beyond former Circuit Judge John Contini. He was charged earlier this week with faking his court docket to cover up absences. 

 

John Contini

 

But rumors have been circulating for months that several judges have been targeted by the Judicial Qualifications Commission. That’s the judicial agency that polices the ethics of judges. 

The judges alleged to be under investigation are named in JAABLOG, a courthouse blog.  The blog does not screen the comments posted by anonymous Internet readers. 

Browardbeat.com will not name any  judges other than Contini… at this point.

Any investigation by the JQC hinges on the Judicial Canons of Ethics, plus the Article Five of the Florida Constitution.

The Constitution states that judges can be punished for “persistent failure to perform judicial duties or for other conduct unbecoming a member of the judiciary…” It also states that, “All judges shall devote full time to their judicial duties.”

That some judges are goldbricking has been known by the courthouse crowd for years. Lawyers who tried to schedule hearings or trials on Fridays, for instance, quickly discovered that the judge didn’t work on that day. 

The problem stretches back for decades.  

News that there are slackers among the judiciary has largely been kept from the public. No doubt voters would be upset to learn that some judges, who earn $160,000 annually or more plus benefits, were goofing off.

In 2014, the issue surfaced.

Absences did become an issue in the 2014 judicial elections. Circuit Judge Steve Feren was beaten while running for reelection after it was alleged he was frequently absent from the courthouse.

The candidate who beat Feren:  John Contini.   

 

 

Steve Feren

 

Lawyers say the vast majority of the Broward judges are diligent about their jobs.

It’s only a handful that are problems, lawyers say.

The ones who have an absentee problem are known to the courthouse administration, say sources.  At one point in the past, the Chief Judge tried to transfer two judges who were said to be missing from their courtrooms a lot. The judges resisted the move and the Chief Judge backed down.

Now the JQC is starting to pay attention.

So where is all this going? 

Stay tuned. 

This one is just starting to marinate. 

 



8 Responses to “Numerous Sources: More Broward Judges Under Investigation For Absences”

  1. Courthouse Truth says:

    Any judge found goofing off should be dismissed immediately by the Supreme Court. The JQC should interview lawyers. They know the Truth.

  2. Lawyer says:

    Korda was the biggest offender.

    FROM BUDDY:

    Former Judge Larry Seidlin presided over the estate of Anna Nicole Smith, the former Playboy model who died at the Hard Rock Resort. The legal fight over Smith’s money from her multi-millionaire husband became an international sensation and Seidlin became infamous for weeping on the bench on national TV.

  3. Just One Vote says:

    Thank You Buddy Nevins for astute investigative analysis and reporting. Exactly what Broward County citizens and voters require with primary coming up in one month – under the magnifying glass and exposing all in ‘The Sunshine’.
    Please vote August 28 and voters do your homework.

  4. Courthouse Insider says:

    One other judge already resigned/retired earlier this year while under JQC investigation for excessive absenteeism: A…n. A well-known secret in the courthouse.

    FROM BUDDY:

    Yes, there is a widespread rumor that this judge resigned because of excessive absenteeism. This judge filed for office and paid the filing fee in May. Then this judge abruptly quit in June.

  5. Sherman Frank says:

    Not any surprise, here. This is just another reason why judges should be appointed. At least the JNC and other professionals interview and vets them. All judges should be appointed and subject to a yesorno vote in the next election.

  6. Moira says:

    I had a trial in family court fighting to terminate parental rights and then adopt a child. Court was booked for us all day form 9am, the judge would arrive between 9.30am to 11am! 5/6 cases would be booked before us so sometimes we would only go in after lunch. I was paying my lawyer and the State paid for the child advocate, asst attorney general, father’s lawyer, mother’s lawyer, guardian ad litum and their lawyer. ALL to sit and wait hours for a judge who couldn’t be on time, was not prepared for court and so ended up overbooked with dockets.

    FROM BUDDY:

    Much too much of this goes on. Some judges apparently believe they are above the simple rules of courtesy.

    Most people would be fired for habitual tardiness. We can only hope the JQC fires some of these judges.

  7. Evil Fluffy says:

    Marinade is a noun. It’s a sauce.

    Marinate is a verb. That would be the proper term for what is just starting to happen here.

    FROM BUDDY:

    Absolutely correct. Thanks.

  8. Mr. Courthouse says:

    The JQC could ask any lawyer who appears in the court of…….They would quickly find out who takes a four-day weekend every week.