Squeezed on:

Justice for Nasty, Belittling, Heartless Florida Judge?

You be the judge. Over a period of years, Florida Judge Sheldon Schapiro engaged in the following conduct [which he admitted to in a Stipulation submitted to the Court] which is set forth in the Florida Supreme Court’s opinion.

A motorcyclist killed a child and fled the scene. At the bond hearing for the motorcyclist [to determine if he could post bond and leave jail pending trial], the child’s mother was present. The assistant state’s attorney told the Judge that the mother of the victim wanted to address the court. The Judge responded by saying “What do I need to hear from the mother of a [dead] kid for? All she will tell me is to keep the guy in custody and never let him out.” (The Judge says he used the word “deceased,” not “dead.” Sure.)

An assistant state’s attorney, who was 8 months pregnant, was hospitalized due to pregnancy complication on the third day of a trial before Judge Schapiro. Due to the hospitalization, she requested a continuance. HE DENIED IT! Against doctor’s orders, the attorney returned to court to finish trying the case.

That same attorney was arguing a motion to revoke bond [to force someone charged with a crime to post bond or go to jail pending his/her trial] before Judge Schapiro. He “summoned [her] to the backroom behind [his] bench and told her that she needed to emulate the style of male attorneys when addressing the court because male attorneys did not get as emotional about their cases as the female attorneys did.”

As a criminal defense attorney was making an argument in a sexual battery case, you cut him off and said, ‘Do you know what I think of your argument’ …, at which time you pushed a button on a device that simulated the sound of a commode flushing.

When the Judge thought an attorney was talking, he said “Why do I always have to treat you like a school child?” The attorney responded that the Judge routinely treated everyone in his courtroom like a school child. He was ordered out of the courtroom.

Not finally- but you get the idea – the Florida Supreme Court found that

In violation of Canon 1, Canon 2A, and Canon 3B(4), you have fallen into a general pattern of rude and intemperate behavior by needlessly interjecting yourself into counsel’s examinations of witnesses; embarrassing and belittling counsel in court; and questioning the competence of counsel by making remarks such as, ‘What, are you stupid?”

So what was the Judge’s punishment? Lose his job as a judge?

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No. Okay, a suspension lasting several months? No. A few weeks? Days? No, and no. A PUBLIC REPRIMAND. Oh the humanity. But that’s not all. Judge Schapiro also was ordered to undergo “psychological /behavioral therapy,” publicly apologize “in the form attached hereto as Exhibit A” [a negotiated form apology?!], and write personal letters of apology only to the few people identified in the admitted to violations. The form apology will have to do for everyone else.

Click here to read the entire Florida Supreme Court decision.

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