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Uncivil Proceedings in the Sunshine State

 In case you think you’ve had a rough day  . . .  

In Florida on June 2, 2014, during “just another day in court,” a public defender was addressing a judge with what the jurist and at least one witness felt was “an attitude.” Exasperated with the public defender, His Honor directed the counselor to take a seat and stop talking. The public defender refused. Voices were raised. Fortunately the judge did not have access to a rock, because, he said, he would have hurled it at the attorney.


When the attorney continued to ignore the judge’s demand to sit, the judge offered to settle the matter outside. Without hesitation, the two strode out to the hallway where the judge allegedly punched the public defender in the head. Courtroom cameras were rolling all the while. The official proceedings were captured, but the hallway sidebar was off camera. The sound of a scuffle and accompanying expletives are clear on the audio. Apparently triumphant (after at least one deputy broke up the brawl), the judge marched back into the courtroom to enthusiastic applause, took a breath and continued on.


The state bar investigated the attorney.  The judge took some time off and has been reinstated to, of all things, civil cases. Good news for attorneys who will go before him: the judge reportedly is enrolled in an anger management class. Feeling the judge should have been fired, the public defender resigned. According to news reports, the attorney and the judge will not be taking things to court. In the case of this pair, however, that might be the safer bet.