UPDATE: THE BEST FU EVER
Everything in life comes down to the Odd Couple.
THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
BREAKING NEWS ..... JUDGE JACQUELINE SCHWARTZ HAS RESIGNED* .....
In a surprising move, Miami-Dade County Court Judge Jacqueline Schwartz informed Governor Scott that she is resigning from the bench. Rather than face continued scrutiny by the Florida Supreme Court, and an ongoing investigation by the JQC, which is in the midst of its inquiry into her most recent actions while on, and off, the bench, Schwartz chose to end the case, and her judicial career.
Judge Schwartz had a colorful history while serving on the bench in Miami-Dade County.
Schwartz became an attorney in 1992 and joined Yale Galanter's law firm as an associate. After spending two years there, she broke out on her own for the next eight years.
In 2002 she announced for Group 19 of the County Court. Her opponent, Eric Hendon. In the September 2002 primary, she defeated Hendon 121,453 - 115,568. She then ran, unopposed, for reelection in 2008.
In 2014, Schwartz drew two opponents: Frank Bocanegra and Rachel Dooley. Schwartz garnered over 49% of the vote in the primary but Bocanegra forced her into a runoff. In the runoff, Schwartz retained her seat by a 58% - 42% margin.
It was on election night 2014, November 4th, that the proverbial sh-t began to hit the fan. On that night, her campaign manager provided a statement to a Herald reporter, on behalf of Judge Schwartz, which stated:
..... that the voters seemed to have "gone past the days when any nondescript Hispanic could go on the ballot and defeat any Anglo sitting judge" .....
The statement was not well received.
Schwartz began her apology tour by issuing the following statement:
"I fully understand my comments could readily been seen as offensive to the community, something I never intended and that pains me greatly... I should have never issued the post-election statement that has, understandably, caused so much concern. I retract the statement completely"
Schwartz also appeared before the CABA Board of Directors to personally apologize for her comments.
Her problems didn't end there. They actually began several months earlier in June of 2014. You see, it was during that hotly contested 2014 campaign against Bocanegra and Dooley that Schwartz noticed a oversized campaign sign outside a Kwik Stop store in Miami. Schwartz, not particularly caring for the fact that the Kwik Stop decided to support her opponent, went inside the store and confronted the store's owner. Schwartz got into an argument with the owner, Firas Hussain, and eventually told him to "Go F--k yourself" and then threatened to sue him.
After the election, in February of 2015, the JQC filed formal charges against Schwartz for her conduct at the Kwik Stop store. Schwartz and her attorney reached an agreement with the JQC whereby she would issue a written apology and be publicly reprimanded before the Florida Supreme Court.
But, the Florida Supreme Court rejected that resolution. Finally, in April of 2015, Schwartz agreed to not only issuing the formal letter of apology, and the public reprimand, but also to a 30 day suspension and a fine of $10,000. The public reprimand took place on December 9, 2015. It didn't take long for Schwartz to step out of line yet again.
On March 18, 2016, at the Ergon Greek Restaurant, Schwartz was “acting in an irrational and disorderly manner,” slurring and spilling wine, according to a report. Miami paramedics and police were called to the scene and she told them they “couldn’t do anything” to her because she is a judge. She continued her tirade: “You are a f---ing idiot, you don’t know who I am,” she yelled at a waiter after she was refused more alcohol, according to a state investigative report. The report also quoted the judge calling police officers “pigs” when they were summoned to the restaurant to investigate.
Ten days later, on March 28th, while sitting on the bench, according to a JQC Report on the matter:
“Court personnel, litigants and police officers waiting to testify observed that you were unsteady on your feet, slurring your words and unable to concentrate,”. Chief Judge Bertila Soto ordered she go home. Schwartz insisted she could drive herself, but her bailiff ultimately took her. The investigation revealed that she could not remember her own address.
The JQC opened their newest investigation into Judge Schwartz' latest antics on April 18th, issuing new formal charges. The following day, on April 19th, the Florida Supreme Court issued an emergency Order that stated, in part:
"Judge Jacqueline Schwartz is hereby immediately suspended from office with pay pending disposition of this proceeding. The parties shall file simultaneous responses as to why Judge Schwartz should not be suspended without pay pending disposition of this proceeding"
On June 30, 2016, the Florida Supreme Court issued a new ruling, stating:
"Having considered the parties' responses and the applicable law, the suspension of Judge Schwartz shall remain with pay pending disposition of this proceeding".
Surprisingly, Schwartz chose to resign rather than continue her battle to retain her job. She was represented throughout the JQC proceedings by attorney Jeffrey Feiler.
So, now, the JNC will begin the process of accepting applications, interviewing attorneys, and sending names up to Governor Scott who will eventually name her replacement.
*The resignation is effective as of July 31, 2016.
CAPTAIN OUT .....
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