Above The Law’s David Lat weighed in on David Audlin’s statements from the Miami Herald earlier today, and he nailed it.  Apparently, there isn’t much gray area, no matter how effective Audlin’s early spin may have been.  A big thank you to ATL, since we now have the night off.  Enjoy!

The following article by David Lat is found here at Above The Law, Copyright © 2014 Breaking Media, Inc.  (Excerpts from Herald omitted):

In January, we brought you word of a Florida state-court judge who posted a sex ad on Manhunt. We covered the news, first broken by JAAblog, since we are fond of stories about sexy judges. But we did not judge. Instead, Staci Zaretsky wrote of Chief Judge David Audlin, “more power to him if [the photos are] real. Everyone needs to get some, even judges.”

Last week, Judge Audlin resigned from the bench, apparently because of L’Affaire Manhunt. With all due respect to the judge, this strikes me as a bad decision….

I’m not sure this is a true “invasion of privacy,” since Audlin had voluntarily injected himself into the public space that is Manhunt. Nobody hacked into his private email account to pull his photos; he maintained a public profile that was viewable by anyone on the site. But anyway….

Audlin did nothing illegal, and nobody was calling for his ouster — which is exactly why he shouldn’t have resigned. Even though he tells the Herald that he’s “not apologizing,” his actions speak louder than his words. He didn’t do anything wrong; why is he leaving the bench?

Instead of stepping down, Audlin should have told his critics to, in essence, suck his gavel. I’m inclined to agree with JAAblog’s view of Audlin as “a quitter who should have stood up and fought for what he believes in.”

His claim of being a privacy martyr is spurious. He posted a request for sex in a public place — to wit, the internet. Audlin’s reference to Manhunt as a “private” website is misleading. It might be privately owned, but profiles are available to anyone who signs up for the service — and pretty much anyone can (and does) sign up. As one JAAblog commenter said:

For a sitting judge not to understand that if you publicly (yes, Virginia, the Internets, as W would say, is/are a public place) advertise for random sex and then, when this public solicitation becomes known to members of the public whom you would like not to know, you claim that your “privacy has been wrongly invaded, then what you raise is serious, reasonable, valid concerns about whether you possess the legal analytical tools to even be on the bench.

In other words, Judge Audlin wasn’t wronged; he was just stupid. As Kashmir Hill noted when covering the Congressman Christopher Lee scandal, you should never include your face in your pics when trolling the web for sex. Here, Audlin should have a non-obvious screen name — instead of “DavidKW,” he could have tried “Gavelbanger” — accompanied by some photos of his body, “face pics available upon request.” That would have greatly reduced (although not eliminated) the likelihood of his being discovered. And it would have made his claim of privacy violation more legitimate, if his photos had been released by a single individual to whom he sent them via private message.

Audlin also seems to be trying to “play the gay card” here, claiming that he was mistreated on account of his sexual orientation.

Sorry, Your Honor, but this wasn’t a gay thing. We write all the time about judges’ sexual misadventures; click on some of the links in Staci’s original post about you for examples. If a sitting judge, gay or straight or bi, goes on the internet and announces his penis size, rest assured that Above the Law will be there.

You know how you should have responded to discovery of your Manhunt profile, Judge Audlin? You should have quoted the wise words of former judge Wade McCree, when he was accused of sending shirtless photos of himself to his bailiff: “Hot dog, yep that’s me. I’ve got no shame in my game.”

There was no shame in David Audlin’s game — until, well, Audlin acted like there was. If he really wanted to take a stand for the privacy rights of public officials, he should have returned to doing the people’s business, ignoring the critics, and staying in office until the bitter end.

Let’s hope that Audlin resigned not in a fit of pique but to pursue another opportunity — namely, so he could follow in the footsteps of many other Florida judges and become a television judge. As it turns out, Fox is looking for a current or former judge for a new reality show.

Please, Judge Audlin, respond to that casting call. Don’t make Fox go on a Manhunt to find you.

David Lat

Let’s Get Sweaty! (1/15/14)


ATL: Judge’s Sex Ad Found On Internet Hookup Site  (1/16/14)


Peter Weinstein and David Audlin broke their respective silences last Friday, but neither one had anything interesting to say.  There are a lot of topics Weinstein should be addressing the community about, so it’s anyone’s guess why the leader of the 17th Circuit would make himself available to talk toilets, while remaining mum on problems like substance abuse, diversity, safe staff parking, and lazy judges.  The Sun Sentinel’s article is here.

As for Audlin, he confirmed he resigned from the Monroe County circuit court because of JAABLOGThe Miami Herald’s article is here.  We’ll be addressing his statements shortly, but in the meantime, please post a comment if you agree with Audlin that he’s a victim, or if outside pressure was indeed brought to bear, a quitter who should have stood up and fought for what he believes in.  It’s not hard to tell which way we’re heading, so drop a comment if you think we’re missing something …

Coming SoonAntonacci said what?; County court applicant names;
The American All You Can Eat Buffet Restaurant Association joins “Don’t Let Florida Go To Pot” campaign.

PB Post: Kastrenakes slaps atty with $6,000 sanction for missing letter in DUI


Today’s lunch time sojourn yielded 22 empty courtrooms and 14 courtrooms in use out of 36 checked in the old courthouse between 1:40 PM and 1:55 PM.  Of the courtrooms in use or about to be used, 3 were staffed by senior judges, and one was staffed by a circuit juvenile delinquency judge.  As always, North Wing courtrooms were not checked, since everyone knows the Broward prison machine is nearly always running full steam.  Satellite courtrooms were likewise not checked, although it’s a safe bet another bonanza of inefficiently managed resources and personnel would have been discovered if North, South, and West were monitored.

Even allowing for the slight possibility that a few of the desolate courtrooms might have been scheduled for late starts, the fact that only 14 out of 36 courtrooms were in use during peak hours on a Wednesday afternoon speaks volumes.  Critics are quick to point out that Peter Weinstein can’t physically stop his judges from behaving badly, but no one will argue that his administration wouldn’t last a day in the private sector with so many tax dollars going up in flames on a daily basis.  Once again it’s a leadership problem, and based on the 17th Circuit’s most recent request  to the Supreme Court for 6 additional  county judges, don’t expect anything to change soon …

(Drop an email  if you’d like to know individual courtrooms and their occupancy status)

SS: Broward prosecutor arrested on meth charge



Coming Soon
Is your juice box empty?

Coming Soon to Broward?:

KPBS: Judicial Candidate Accuses Judge Of Being A Criminal On Billboards
(San Diego – 5/8/14)

“Keehn, a former U.S. Army captain, has put a stark message on billboards above four intersections along Interstate-5 and downtown: “Vote for Carla Keehn . . . the only candidate for this office not convicted of a crime.”

According to court records, (Judge) Schall was
charged in October 2007 with a DUI, but pleaded guilty to a lesser reckless-driving charge six months later …

Osceola judge criticized for offering bibles to defendants


The SAO’s Drug Trafficking Unit just dismissed the Sunrise case against Blake Larocca.  Obviously, they chose to drop a major cocaine haul instead of complying with Bernie Bober’s order to disclose the CI responsible for luring many suspects into Sunrise’s jurisdiction.  What this means for other cases remains to be seen, but congrats are now in order to Kevin Kulik, Eddie Kay, and Mickey Rocque, who first exposed Sunrise’s shenanigans right here on JAABLOG many moons ago  …

SS: Prosecutors drop drug charges to protect Sunrise police informant


 ASA busted for drug possession …

In Peter Weinstein’s courthouse, you don’t have to be a judge to get arrested on substance abuse related charges.  Following the DUI arrests of Cindy Imperato and Gisele Pollack, ASA Molena Mompoint was busted Monday night, accused of Possession of Methamphetamine

Another sad day for the Broward legal community, and most importantly, the community we serve.  And still nothing from the chief judge, the captain of the ship.  Quite the opposite, in fact, since Weinstein has taken to issuing statements through a spokesperson, as he did on the occasion of Pollack’s car crash with injuries.  Not very reassuring, even to a citizenry used to a justice system that’s the laughing stock of the state.

Let’s face it.  Weinstein didn’t create the culture of permissiveness, hypocrisy and double standards that permeates the courthouse elite.  And he can’t control everyone wearing a robe or a badge.  But after four years at the helm, one thing is certain: Weinstein is either incapable or unwilling to take necessary steps to lead the 17th Circuit to a place of respectability and dignity in a county bruised by decades of corruption and corresponding public distrust of its legal system.  And with the Rothstein, Gardiner, and Watson matters threatening to further darken the clouds over the courthouse, things can only get worse.

It’s time for a change.  Not mushy public platitudes while backroom deals are cut concerning the chief judgeship in 2017, but honest to goodness, old-fashioned leadership.  Someone must come forward from within the ranks of the judiciary to remind the public that the vast majority of Broward lawyers and judges are hard working, capable individuals.  Someone who isn’t afraid to break a few eggs or lose a few votes, and set a good example by handling a docket at the same time.

For instance, courthouse counseling and substance abuse training must be set up, and ethics seminars too, where judges and lawyers can establish dialogues.  Transparency must replace secrecy.  Lazy judges must be taken to task, and the wholesale use of unelected, senior judges running entire divisions must be eliminated.  Troubled or obstinate judges must be dealt with decisively before they become public embarrassments, or dangers to themselves and innocent bystanders.  Regular rotation of judicial assignments must be implemented to reverse stagnation and burn-out, and to ensure an even distribution of the most talented jurists in every sphere of the legal system, as the electorate would expect when casting their votes or going to court.  And most importantly, a strong message must be sent not only to the public and judges, but to lawyers young and old that everyone will be held accountable to the highest standards of professionalism, or face stern consequences.  The perception that anything goes once becoming a Broward judge, that you will be protected by judicial administration and your colleagues come hell or high water after donning a robe, must be quashed forever, if only lawyers of the highest integrity and character are to be attracted to the 17th Circuit bench.

So how about it, judges?  Is there a leader in the ranks?  Doesn’t Broward deserve better?

Coming SoonResigning Women …

SS: Broward schools chief apologizes for underling’s Bible blunder

Peter Antonacci, Rick Scott’s judicial diversity czar …

Pathways to the Bench:
A Panel Discussion on the Judicial Nominating Process & Networking Reception

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

: 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Panel Discussion; 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
 Reception (light appetizers and wine)

Venue: Broward County Bar Association-1051 S.E. 3rd Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale

Cost: $25 for BCBA, Caribbean Bar and TJ Reddick Members;$40 for Non-members;
No cost to BCBA Judiciary




Panel Discussion: A panel discussion geared at demystifying the Judicial Nominating process.  Speakers from the Governor’s office, the JNCs and the Judiciary will provide an overview of the Judicial Nominating process from application to appointment by the Governor, including the mechanics of the Judicial Nominating process and “do’s” and “don’ts” in order to be a successful applicant.


Meet the Panelists:


Peter Antonacci – General Counsel for Governor Rick Scott


Ken Gillespie, 17th Judicial Circuit Judge


Stacy Ross, 17th Judicial Circuit Judge


Raag Singhal, 17th Judicial Circuit Judge


Jamie Finizio Bascombe Esq., Judicial Nominating Commission Member.
Vice Chair and Chair (two terms)

Presented by the Broward County Bar Association,
Caribbean Bar Association, and TJ Reddick



Still 17 minutes to go …

Florida Division of Elections

*UPDATE* – 12:20 PM.  It seems congratulations are due to all the unopposed reelected incumbents, while best wishes go out to everyone running for open seats, in addition to incumbents and their challengers, namely Ellen Feld, Mark Rickard, Jahra McLawrence, Lynn Rosenthal, John Contini, Steve Feren, Ian Richards, Jonathan Kasen, and Claudia Robinson.

                                May the most entertaining candidates win!

BBeat: Judge Steve Feren Gets Last Minute Opponent


Gisele Pollack has been arrested and accused of DUI.  She already bonded out, so no picture is available at this time.  The clerk’s entry is here

Very, very sad …

UPDATE – The Sun Sentinel has picked up the story.  Their article is here, with mugshot. 

Quote from the Sentinel, concerning Peter Weinstein:

“Everyone is concerned for Pollack’s well-being and welfare,” said attorney Bill Gelin, whose courthouse blog was first to report on the DUI arrest. “Some of us are also questioning the leadership of the chief judge in putting her back on the stressful and high pressure criminal bench in January when everyone knew there was a real problem brewing.”

Eric Schwartzreich reports he’ll be representing Gisele on the DUI charges.  In other news, Kevin Kulik has signed onto Jahra McLawrence’s campaign as co-treasurer …


The Administrative Order Assigning Judges everyone has been waiting for went out during lunchtime today.  It should post online this afternoon.

Liz Scherer has landed in Cindy Imperato’s old FJ spot, currently occupied by Barry StoneEd Merrigan is going to Liz’s spot in Dependency.  County Criminal Merrigan MB is “vacant pending appointment“.  Sandy Perlman is going to O’Connor’s 04 Civil Division, and Imperato is running Foreclosures.  Nothing else seems to jump out, although we could be missing something.

It looks like the seniority system is alive and well …

*UPDATE*Admin. Order 2014-18-Gen


1.) Kevin Kulik and Eddie Kay, a couple weeks back; 2.) Mark Polen, the latest recruit to Weinstein’s senior judge army, now handling foreclosures.  

Barry Cohen, Live! – be sure to tune in Tuesday at 9:00 AM to see Barry Cohen’s public spanking, live from Tallahassee.  His crime?  In large part telling the truth about the failed Drug War, as you can see from the JQC’s Notice of Formal Charges.  This tongue lashing might be interesting though, since many of the justices probably agree with some of what Cohen had to say regarding racial disparity in the system, although they’d never make the mistake of admitting it in a public courtroom.  Lesson learned …

The Un-replaceable – no one can replace Joe Murphy, but the JNC is going to try.  Here is the notice, with a May 12 deadline for applications.  Now the JNC has two chances to show what they’re made of, with the May 5 cutoff to apply for Ed Merrigan’s spot on the county court also just around the corner.

Speaking of the Colonel … his ears must be ringing.  Whether or not Merrigan would accept his party’s nomination for chief judge remains to be seen, but there most definitely is a Draft Ed movement brewing …

End of an error Eileen O’Connor’s last day is this Wednesday.  Well done!

Coming Soon Following-up on President Pettis’ letter; Pay your own filing fee, you cheap *%#$!

BBeat: Judges Nervous as Filing Opens For Bench

JQC response to Watson’s Stay request

SS: Laura Watson fights JQC for her job

Bob Norman at Scott Israel’s Bergeron bash


 Voice of Reason, West

Promoting Judicial Excellence – blogging fever is spreading, and Haydee Oropesa may have caught it after coming to JAABLOG’s defense last June.  The Clearwater based attorney recently started the Florida You Judge  blog, a great read, even after taking out the nice things she wrote about us.  Check it out, and don’t miss the post about Beth Harlan, who recently quit the Polk County circuit court to avoid criminal charges.  Of course Harlan’s judicial assistant wasn’t so lucky, suffering a first offense felony conviction, jail time, and probation for her role in the same hijinks that only cost Harlan her job.  Apparently Broward isn’t the exclusive home of egregious double standards of justice, and now that brave lawyers like Haydee are doing their best to spread the word, everyone in the State should eventually know it.  Thank you again, Haydee!

 51st Anniversary …

Mike Rothschild writes:

Fifty-one years ago, today, April 29th 1963, the United States Supreme Court entered its landmark ruling regarding desegregation in Johnson v. Virginia. I know you constitutional scholars are scratching your heads wondering why I am referencing this as a landmark case when Brown v. Board of Education was decided in 1954, sixty years ago, and which eliminated the notion of “separate but equal.” But, Johnson v. Virginia is important because it eliminated desegregation in a very important public venue: the courtroom!

That’s right, even nine years after Brown v. Board of Education the United States Supreme Court, in a 9-0 opinion, was forced by the State of Virginia to rule that desegregation applied in the courthouse. Even though in 1938 the Court ruled that desegregation was not permitted in admission to law schools (Missouri ex el Gaines v. Canada); the very place where due process is guaranteed, where equal protection most applies was among the last places where racial discrimination should have been permitted, or so the State of Virginia believed. 

Things certainly have come a long way in fifty-one years…or have they? With current controversies involving Donald Sterling and the NBA, or rancher Cliven Bundy’s  statements, or closer to home with the Florida Bar’s call for diversity on the bench and this very Blog’s constant statistical analysis o
f the incarceration rates of Blacks, has this issue ever really gone away?

Your thoughts?