The Knuckleheads of the Day award
Today's winners are the seven members of the Florida State Supreme Court. They are Chief Judge Barbara Pariente plus Justices Charles Wells, Harry Anstead, Fred Lew, Peggy Quince, Raoul Cantero III and Kenneth Bell.
These justices get today's award for their handling of the disciplinary complaint against County Judge W Wayne Woodard. The court affirmed the seven charges against this knucklehead jurist. They included-
*- At a time when the trial schedule was in disarray because of the 2004 hurricanes, Woodard issued a bench warrant with bail set at $100,000 for an expert witness who did not show up for a case. That witness was jailed for seven hours before the judge released him.
*- In April 2004, Woodard tried to improperly discourage Assistant Public Defender Carolyn Garber from running against him for his position as a judge. He called Garber's home and told her husband he had gathered a lot of money for his campaign and losing would affect his retirement and grandchildren.
*- In addition, the judge frequently was late for scheduled hearings; once left an arraignment to conduct a radio campaign interview; and repeatedly exhibited rude, impatient and disrespectful behavior toward counsel, witnesses and parties who appeared before him.
Judge Woodard is out of control. He took away a person's civil rights for seven hours. I don't care if its seven minutes, this behaviour is seen too often in our courts. Check here and here. Judges on a power trip need to be put in their place, off the bench. For every time a travesty like these happens, the public trust in judicial system is ruined once again. Our judges need to be held to a higher standard, not a lower. They have the powert to take away a person's rights and for that they must be fair and even tempered. If they can't, they have no business on the bench.
The worst of Woodard's offenses is the arrest of the expert witness. For that he should be removed from the bench and retired. There is no excusing that behavior.
What does the Florida State Supreme Court do?
Woodard will have to undergo anger management counseling and will be publicly reprimanded by the Supreme Court.
That is a joke. The FSSC obviously doesn't or can't police its own. They aren't the only judges or judicial body that refuses to bring appropriate justice to judges who fail the courts and the public. Chief Judge Pariente and her colleagues have helped to make a mockery of the Florida Judicial system. For that, they are today's Knuckleheads of the day.
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