Fl Bar investigates attorney after fight with judge in Brevard courtroom
That dang refusal! – people are talking about Lynn Feig-Rosenthal’s pending DUI accusation. It’s been assigned to the Palm Beach SAO for prosecution, and is being reviewed for case filing purposes by ASAs Michael Smith and Richard Clausi.
The concern, of course, is the refusal. Feig-Rosenthal agreed to breath testing, and blew zeroes. However, when asked to provide a blood or urine sample, she said No. She told police she had taken an Ambien the night before, which may have caused the erratic driving pattern. The judge hit something on 595, then struck a police vehicle and a parking lot gate on courthouse property. She allegedly filmed herself via smartphone, and the pc affidavit says the video features her BMW swerving across lanes on the freeway. There’s also supposed to be surveillance footage from the courthouse showing the accidents, although it hasn’t been made public yet.
Feig-Rosenthal is currently running for reelection, opposed by Jahra Mclawrence. The DUI has thus become an election issue, exacerbating the normal concerns attendant to the arrest of any constitutional officer, particularly a law enforcement demigod.
The refusal has a lot of people scratching their heads. Feig-Rosenthal is a circuit court judge, held to a higher standard of behavior. She’s supposed to lead by example, and comply with lawful requests by police officers. Additionally, she was assigned to the criminal division at the time of her arrest, and was known as a zero tolerance judge. Feig-Rosenthal may not have been beloved by the defense bar, but she was respected. And now her failure to comply with testing has caused a lot of folks to lose faith.
Additionally, the refusal has sparked discussion regarding the possibility of something else being in Feig-Rosenthal’s system besides Ambien. Public Defender Howard Finkelstein said so publicly, on Channel 6. And because the jail property inventory form, partially pictured above, shows she was booked with some type of MEDS in her possession, rumors around the courthouse have reached a fever pitch.
Of course, if Feig-Rosenthal had agreed to be tested by blood or urine, the entire controversy would have gone away. But she didn’t, and because whatever MEDS she did have were not listed in the pc affidavit, they aren’t public record, and enjoy HIPAA protections. That’s where the big black line comes from, seen above.
The arresting officer may not have found the MEDS to be relevant to the claim of impaired driving, or he may have listed them in an event report, which is not public record at this time. And if the case is ultimately dropped, and the MEDS only appear on the property inventory form, it’s likely they’ll always enjoy the HIPAA shield.
And now, back to the refusal. As previously stated, if Feig-Rosenthal hadn’t said No, the MEDS wouldn’t be of the slightest interest. But given the refusal, the redacted MEDS entry, and the portion of the pc affidavit where Feig-Rosenthal advises she doesn’t suffer from any illnesses, it’s only natural to echo the Public Defender’s concern and ask if she was in possession of a validly prescribed controlled substance that could have led to impaired driving. After all, Feig-Rosenthal is a circuit judge, held to a higher standard, serving the public, with more power over the average individual than the President of the United States. She’s running for reelection, and the electorate should have all the facts before casting their vote. Lastly, she was heading in to work, and may not have been in the proper state to sit in judgment of others. Clearly valid concerns, and the people deserve an answer.
The problem is, no one’s talking.
Dave Aronberg, the State Attorney handling the case, won’t comment on pending cases. That’s what his office told us, and rightly so.
Feig-Rosenthal’s lawyers aren’t talking either. When asked the controlled substance question, Carlos Canet said “no comment“, while Brian Silber ignored multiple phone messages, and walked on by without acknowledging the repeated question when passed in the courthouse hallway last week.
Feig-Rosenthal, for her part, refused to answer Bob Norman’s queries as to why she refused, and still hasn’t responded to our phone message concerning the controlled substance question left on her office voice mail last week. The second voice mail query, whether she would waive HIPAA so the public can learn just what MEDS were in her possession, also remains unanswered.
But there’s still hope. Feig-Rosenthal’s campaign manager agreed Wednesday evening to relay the concerns again to the candidate and her lawyers, and to get back to us. Hopefully the judge will waive HIPAA, or just flat out state the listed MEDS aren’t a controlled substance that could cause impaired driving, or a hazy morning on the bench. It’s a question of great public importance for all the reasons listed above, and should be answered so as to alleviate all legitimate worries. For our part, we’re optimistic Feig-Rosenthal will answer and put this controversy behind both her and the 17th Circuit in very short order, so stay tuned …
BSO v. Bob Norman – when it comes to getting under your skin, JAABLOG is small fry compared to Bob Norman. Have you been following all the mud being slung at the courthouse’s favorite TV reporter over at The Broward Bugle? Now WPLG 10 and the Sun Sentinel are fighting back. Check out Bob’s recently aired reports Operative Roger Stone aims dirty tricks at Local 10 reporter, Political operative lashes out at Local 10 crew, and Sheriff-tied political committee’s first attack ad aimed at Local 10 reporter, together with a Sentinel editorial called Undue influence at Broward Sheriff’s Office? #Ha. All in a day’s work for the intrepid Norman, who’s learning everybody must get Stoned …
Scapegoated! – last week’s mandatory judges’ meeting taught us a valuable lesson. JAABLOG needs to start paying attention to the civil side of the courthouse STAT. It’s been woefully neglected, and in dire need of a good old fashioned e-enema too. But please remember, the Anonymous Tips box stopped working a long time ago, so send any tips and leads via email. Anonymity is 100% guaranteed, but if you’re still worried, just create a dummy email account and send away …
Coming Soon – What did he ask Nick Lopane?; The judges didn’t know there was a new jury room list either? …
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