From the messy desk of Paul Levine...
Sleazy lawyers and incompetent judges are the meat and potatoes of my life.
My fictional life.
I've created Jake Lassiter, the linebacker-turned-lawyer who proudly says, "They don't call us sharks for our ability to swim. And Steve Solomon, whose mantra is, "When the facts don't fit the law, bend the facts."
So, it shouldn't surprise me when real life shysters and judicial boobs hit the news...especially in South Florida. But I'm still shocked, innocent naif that I am.
Fort Lauderdale, just 30 miles north of my Coconut Grove home, is awash in judicial corruption and tomfoolery. Awash in booze, too.
"Broward Judges in Hot Seat."
But the winner of the Fort Lauderdale Weird Judge Award goes to former jurist Ana Gardiner. The headline, "Ana Gardiner Disbarred for Texting Prosecutor While on Bench" does not do justice to the story.
While presiding over a capital case, Judge Gardiner formed an "emotional relationship" with prosecutor Howard Scheinberg...WHO WAS TRYING THE CASE!
They exchanged nearly 1,400 text messages and phone calls DURING THE TRIAL. Scheinberg got a conviction, asked for the death penalty, and Judge Gardiner granted it.
When all this came to light, the Judge resigned, and just last week lost her law license. Disbarred. Prosecutor Scheinberg lost his job and was suspended for practice for three years. (The defendant got a new judge and was re-sentenced to life in prison).
Question for Patty Smiley and Jackie Winspear and the cop-scrivener Jim Born. Is that fair? Disbarring the female judge but only suspending the male prosecutor? Weren't they both public officials who violated their oaths?
Meanwhile, last week, another seven South Florida lawyers were disbarred or suspended for everything from stealing $665,000 from clients to arguing with judges, to failing to pay Bar dues.
To which I can only say...
Music to my ears.