On my original blog I gave my strong opinions about Broward County Judge Eileen O'Connor. Two months ago she gave a prospective juror a four month sentence for lying when questioned if he had a criminal record. Sending a juror candidate to jail is unheard of, and this jurist was obviously way out of line.
Guess what Judge O'Connor is back in the news. She is being accused of lying on the application for the judgeship she now holds. Here is the link to the Miami Herald article.
BY SARA OLKON AND JAY WEAVERjweaver@herald.com
When Eileen M. O'Connor applied for a state judgeship in Broward County in 2003, the federal prosecutor wrote on her application that no co-workers had ever filed a ''formal complaint or accusation of misconduct'' against her.
But The Herald has learned that two federal prosecutors who worked under O'Connor at the U.S. attorney's office in Fort Lauderdale filed racial and religious discrimination complaints against her in 2000 and 2001 -- including one that the U.S. Department of Justice settled for about $10,000.
O'Connor, appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush as a Broward Circuit Court judge in 2003, was recently in the public spotlight when she sentenced a prospective 19-year-old juror to jail for four months on a contempt-of-court charge because he lied about his arrest history during jury selection.
The judge said Friday that she filled out her March 2003 judicial application truthfully.
''There were no formal complaints filed against me,'' O'Connor, 56, told two Herald reporters in her chambers at the Broward Courthouse.
The judge said she wouldn't comment further because the reporters' questions dealt with ''personnel matters,'' but then she said: ``I have never seen these complaints that you're telling me about, nor have I been served with them.''
When asked whether the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida or Department of Justice ever informed or told her about the discrimination complaints, O'Connor refused to answer.
''Here is the bottom line: The answer to that question is, I stand by my application,'' O'Connor said as she left her chambers for a midday appointment.
What a load of bull. The article goes on to say.
O'Connor's 2003 judicial application could now become the basis for an investigation by the state Judicial Qualifications Commission. The panel, which consists of judges, lawyers and lay people, investigates claims of judicial wrongdoing, holds evidentiary hearings and makes recommendations to the Florida Supreme Court, which can issue penalties ranging from a public reprimand to removal.
On her March 6, 2003, application for the 17th Judicial Circuit in Broward, O'Connor was asked: ``Have any of your current or former co-workers, subordinates, supervisors, customers or clients ever filed a formal complaint or accusation of misconduct against you with any regulatory or investigatory agency, or with your employer?''
O'Connor's response: ``No.''
But according to five sources familiar with O'Connor's employment history at the U.S. Attorney's Office, she was hit with two employee discrimination complaints in 2000 and 2001 when she served as managing assistant in its Fort Lauderdale division. (The sources asked that their names not be used because personnel cases are exempt from public release under the federal Freedom of Information Act).
The first complaint, alleging disparate treatment on the basis of race, was filed by the civil section chief in Fort Lauderdale. She alleged that O'Connor discriminated against her as a black supervisor because she gave her more case work than nonblack section chiefs in an effort to set her up for failure.
The U.S. Attorney's Office conducted an investigation, interviewed numerous prosecutors and then resolved the complaint by reassigning some of the civil section chief's duties.
The second complaint, which accused O'Connor of discrimination on the basis of religion, was filed with the Department of Justice in 2001. A Fort Lauderdale prosecutor alleged that O'Connor took reprisals against her because she was Jewish.
The complaint accused O'Connor of giving the prosecutor poorer performance evaluations than those of non-Jewish colleagues in the office. It also alleged O'Connor gave her smaller bonuses than non-Jewish prosecutors for the same work.
The Equal Employment Opportunity staff at the Justice Department formally opened an investigation. In September 2002, the prosecutor's complaint was officially settled in an agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida and the Justice Department's Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys in Washington, D.C.
Both offices declined comment or to release O'Connor's personnel file, citing exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act.
The mediated settlement included a Justice Department payout of about $10,000 to resolve the prosecutor's complaint against O'Connor, according to several sources familiar with the complaint.
That September, in 2002, O'Connor was reassigned from being in charge of the U.S. Attorney's Fort Lauderdale office to being a prosecutor in its white-collar section.
This woman is a work of art that has no business being on the bench. The Florida Supreme Court should remove her that's if these complaints are true.
Ha! Ha Judge O'Connor. Won't it be ironic if you're removed for lying? Payback is a bitch, bitch!