The year was 1992 when the name "courtbroom" broke across a Miami. First a whisper, the courtbroom scandal- a federal investigation into Miami Circuit Judges selling court appointments for kickbacks- crested and broke upon Miami and ravaged the reputation of the Miami legal community like Hurricane Andrew roaring through a South Dade home built with chinese drywall.
Judges Sepe, Gelber, Shenberg, and Davis, along with former Judge Goodhart and a gaggle of lawyers, were all eventually indicted. Gelber pled and flipped, rat that he was. Everyone else went to trial. All were convicted except a hung jury for Sepe (who later pled to one count to close out the case) and a complete acquittal for Phil Davis (thanks to the amazing job done by his lawyer, now Congressman, and former US District Court Judge until he was impeached, Alcee Hastings. And if that sentence doesn't tell you all you need to know about South Florida, then keep reading the blog.)
But like a bad penny that keeps showing up, former Dade Circuit Judge Phil Davis could not keep out of trouble.
More than a decade after his surprising "OJ like acquittal" in federal court, Davis was convicted in Dade Circuit court for money laundering, grand theft, and participating in an organized scheme to defraud, all arising, not surprisingly, out of Davis's misuse of a charity.
The 3rd DCA (Schwarz, Logue, and Lagoa) just upheld his conviction and TWENTY YEAR sentence here.
Davis was an awful judge. 20 years is a devastating sentence for him. But really, does he have anyone else to blame but himself? He accepted bribes as a judge. He stole from a charity. At some point karma plays a role.
See You In Court.
UPDATE: Phil Davis trivia: who did Davis beat in his election as circuit judge?