They are the people who make a living judging others, but on this day, Florida Judge Ana Marie Pando is on the other side of the bench. The Florida State Supreme Court publicly reprimanded the Miami-Dade County judge for campaign violations.
Chief Justice Barbara Pariente of the Florida Supreme Court says, “The only way we can attempt to cleanse the judiciary of the resulting stain is through public proceedings such as this broadcast to the people of our state on television and on the Internet.”
Judge Pando walked away with public humiliation and a fine of $25,000.
The Florida Supreme Court is dealing with almost a dozen pending cases against judges, everything from a judge allegedly telling a woman to close her legs and stop having babies to a judge accused of jailing defendants in traffic cases because they were sent to the wrong room.
One of the pending cases involves Judge James Henson of Orlando, who’s accused of advising a client to flee the country to avoid prison.
Kirk Kirkconnell, Judge Henson’s attorney, says, “We say he didn't do it, and you can’t prove he did it.”
While the Florida Supreme Court decides Judge Henson’s fate, he is on a leave of absence and continues to collect a salary of more than $11,000 a month.
Whatever the court decides, the chief justice hopes these public purgings will convince you the judges can police their own.
If Judge Henson is removed from the bench, he’ll be the 15th Florida judge to face expulsion based on the recommendations of the Judicial Qualifications Commission.