13 October 2010

Broward, 454, & the Judge is Gone

Admittedly, I don't know much about Broward County other than the fact that it is the center of the pill abuse universe. I was actually doing some research on that very subject when I ran across the story of a judge being removed from his position because the prosecution had moved for him to be recused from 454 cases (all the cases involving the prosecutor in his courtroom).

Wow. That's simply amazing. Admittedly, the guy had been acting, from the one sided accounts presented to the media, as a prima donna. He basically talked a defendant out of pleading guilty and getting time served because the defendant would lose his license. He significantly reduced three plea agreements. He made the prosecutor sit at her table.

And if that's all that it takes to get a judge removed, I could get about half the judges I've practiced in front of removed. I've been in courtrooms where you didn't sneeze without the judge's permission, much less leave your table (whichever side you were on). I've fought, and lost, the "but, judge, the plea agreement says" battle from both sides of the bench. I've also seen judges at least seem to try to talk defendants out of the plea agreement. Yet, none of these judges have I asked to be recused or relieved of their duties. It's just part of life as an attorney that there are judges you won't appreciate and will have personality conflicts with. Disagreement generally doesn't (outside Florida) mean you get to choose a new judge.

This was an elected judge. However, apparently in Florida you aren't elected to a specific bench - or at least if you are you can be changed to another. This is the solution the chief judge opted for, moving this judge to juvenile court.

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