Questions Persist About Broward Circuit Judge Matt Destry, Former County Judge Ian Richards






Check this out:

That’s the campaign web address of Ian Richards, a former Broward County Court judge now running to get his old job back.   Critics say the web address suggests Richards is still a judge.

Those who click through to the the website find that Richards omitted the word “for” between his name and the words “Broward County Court Judge, Group 7.”



Ian Richards


The Florida Supreme Court’s Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee dealt with a similar case in opinion 2008-10.

The question to the committee:

May a judicial candidate, who has retired from the circuit bench, use the title “Judge” in campaign literature, media releases, printed ads, or other media venues?

Their answer: No.

Richards’ website does mention that he is a “former” judge several times and uses the past tense in some places when referring to his history on the bench. His site also contains a collage of newspaper clippings and the video of him on the bench without that caveat.

The Advisory Committee said, “Utilization of photographs with the judge wearing a robe would be permissible if the images were taken while the judge was on the bench and the literature makes clear that the photographs refer to the candidate’s prior service.” ( underlining.)

Richards was accused by some of hiding the fact he was black in his 2008 election to mislead voters. Is he misleading voters again?

Voters will get a chance to decide in the August 30th primary.



Destry Rides Again?




Broward Circuit Judge Matt Destry is one of the most controversial figures still on the bench.

Now running for re-election, Destry’s handlers apparently realized that the judge’s re-election chances could be damaged by the accusations he is habitually erratic and ridiculously tough on defendants.

The case of Herbert Smith made Destry the bête noir of the African American community and the media. The judge slapped Smith with a 60-year sentence for driving without a license along with other minor offenses and violating his probation.   Smith had a long criminal history, which is something that largely got buried in all the uproar over the lengthy prison time Destry handed out.

Shortly after handing out the sentence Destry was faced with droves of upset Broward residents. In Smith’s corner were also black ministers and political operatives like Vincente Thrower, keys to winning votes in the African American community.

Destry backed down. The judge changed his sentence to a highly restrictive probation.

To explain his stand, Destry put a video and the entire transcript of the second sentencing hearing on his campaign website.

The Smith case poses several questions:


  • Do voters want a judge who can be influenced by a petition and the media? What will Destry do if the public and/or the media demand he impose an uncalled for harsh sentence on man odious defendant? Should a judge’s decision be based on the loudest voice in the community?
  • Didn’t Destry’s actions in the Smith case validate the criticism that he is erratic? Shouldn’t he have seen on his own that a 60-year sentence was way, way, way too much or did he need the public to point that out? What about the cases the public doesn’t know about?


There is another issue alleged by a reader of This local attorney points out that judges are forbidden from commenting on pending cases during their re-election.   This attorney contends that Smith’s case remains pending since if he violates his probation he could be returned to Destry’s court. I’m not an attorney so I won’t attempt to interpret the judicial rules on that one.

That’s a lot of questions about Matt Destry. The big question is whether voters will choose a candidate to replace the controversial judge.

His opponents are Haccord Curry Jr., Barbara Duffy, Brian Greenwald and Abbe Rifkin.

In a twist, Greenwald was Smith’s attorney at the second sentencing hearing.


10 Responses to “Questions Persist About Broward Circuit Judge Matt Destry, Former County Judge Ian Richards”

  1. Knows for Sure says:

    Judge Destry has “handlers”? Really? Wow!


    The rules require others to handle his campaign and ask for money.

  2. Best Option says:

    Duffy! Unattached, uninfluenced. Understands Broward and its needs. Broward-Born and Raised.

  3. Greenwald is the worst says:

    What about Greenwald’s erratic behavior?

  4. Vick Mackey says:

    I thought Ian was running for county NOT circuit.


    You are right! I fixed my mistake. Thanks.

  5. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Will someone explain to me why two people with conduct as described should be elected Judges again?

  6. Oh says:

    Buddy neives has made a habit of targeting dark skinned judges from judge Elijah Williams , to judge Gonzalez, to Judge Dijiols, judge Richards. What did all these judge have in common in a county with 90 white judges Buddy Nieves helped make sure the number stay only a token 5 or under.

    We are sure he will justify it by saying he only backs the good negroes. The problem is with only 90 judges the bad ones (according to Buddy) generally tend to be the DARK SKINED ones.


    This is not true.

    I am an outspoken supporter of diversity on the bench. For instance, I supported Elijah Williams when I was at the Sun-Sentinel and since then. I took positions against the craven candidates who thought they could win just because their opponents had Hispanic names.

    But I don’t believe that just because somebody is black or Hispanic, they are automatically a good judge.

  7. Oh says:

    No one should be surprised by Buddy’s
    Targeting Brown or Dark Skin individual..

  8. Outsider says:

    Come on stop with the non-sense I have read many articles here about right and wrong and come to your own conclusion. Here was one of mine. Mr. Richards is not fit to be a judge based on past practices and verbal language used in his court room and diving out of his seat. Not appropriate of a sitting judge. There is one more during election but I am not going there. And I love judge Willams he is an outstanding judge ! So stop sinking to a whole new low with racial issues.

  9. Snott VV Rothstein says:


    The appointed Gonzalez was a SWR Criminal Enterprise LLC employee after losing his first election attempt. He had no caseload just a party-boy at the drink fest attended by Frank with the IRS liability problem that Roberts wants to subsidize.

    The electorate made the decision not to have these candidates as their judge.

    Mr Nevins has always just had one vote.

  10. Here and Now says:

    Barbara Duffy. Broward Born and Raised. Understands our community needs, expectations, and standards. Destry is an embarrassment, Rifkin is from another state and practices in another county. Curry suggests he should be elected for diversity-Davie forum. Greenwald is just a pot stirrer, has not done anything for the election effort.
    Duffy cares, she’s there, she’s treats everyone with fairness and dignity.