Florida Judge Beats Up Public Defender

Posted on June 6, 2014

This video is pretty amazing. In fact, it’s an embarassment to the legal profession and I think the judiciary in particular. In this video, a Florida public defender is defending a man who apparently has been charged with assault and resisting arrest. The public defender refuses to waive his client’s right for a speedy trial and asks for the case to be set for trial. The exchange between the Judge and the public defender is testy to say the least. I’m sure there’s more to the story and I’m willing bet these two have a history of not getting along. Here’s the video:

There is no place for this type of incivility in our legal profession. It’s more than incivility, it’s an assault – the same criminal charge the defendant was facing! If the judge really thinks this public defender is out of line he can hold the public defender in contempt of court and let his bailiff take care of it. But taking the argument into the hallway for a fist fight is pretty unbelievable. The judge needs to show some serious self restraint and the public defender needs to show some respect for the judge and his courtroom. And how about the reaction of crowd in the courtroom after the judge returns to the bench after beating up the public defender?

Thankfully, this type of behavior is totally outside of the norm in Utah. I’ve never seen or heard of anything like this happening in Utah’s courtrooms. Generally, we have very good judges and counsel do a pretty good job of displaying civility in the courtroom and in other interactions.