Sunday, February 10, 2008

Judges Gone Wild in Florida Courts

Just when you think Alabama has the worst courts in the country, Florida comes along and makes a strong effort to top us.

Lucy Morgan, of the St. Petersburg Times reports on some delightful shenanigans from the "your honors" on the First District Court of Appeals, which hears appeals from 32 Florida counties. The headline says it all: "Lust, Lies, and Disorder in the Court."

Judges on the court have accused each other of lying, having affairs with court employees, threats, and playing games of "chicken." A marshal who provides court security said he had extra officers on hand after some judges heard another judge was getting a concealed weapons permit and a handgun.

This all stems from testimony before the state's Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC), which is looking into alleged misconduct against Judge Michael E. Allen. It seems Allen made disparaging comments about fellow judge Charles J. Kahn Jr. in a written opinion on a case involving former Escambia County Commissioner W. D. Childers.

Allen wrote that Kahn should have disqualified himself from Childers' appeal because the two were close associates and former law partners. "We should never perform our responsibilities in a manner that would cause the public to question the impartiality of our decisions."

Sounds like pretty straightforwad stuff to me. But the JQC decided that one judge must not question the impartiality of another judge. That kind of thing, evidently, is supposed to stay neatly swept under the carpet.

Sounds like Florida's JQC is every bit as worthless as Alabama's JIC (Judicial Inquiry Commission).

As for Kahn, his fellow judges called him a liar, given to temper tantrums. And they were just warming up. They also called him "volatile," "duplicitous," and "schizoid."

For good measure, Kahn also was having an affair with a court clerk, and one court employee produced photographs of Kahn and his girlfriend at a South Florida hotel.

And remember, Kahn is not the one in trouble with the JQC. That would be Allen, the judge who evidently committed the sin of making an honest appraisal of another judge's work.

These are the kind of people we have running our courts, folks.

And as bad as it is in Florida, we will show here at Legal Schnauzer that it's every bit as bad--maybe worse--in Alabama.

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