Florida Judge Ana Gardiner Accused of Improper Relationship and Conduct

A new judge is under scrutiny over improper her relationship and conduct. Ana Gardiner, the chief criminal judge for the 17th Judicial Circuit, is accused of having a romantic relationship with defense attorney John Cotrone and also discussing pending murder cases over dinner with prosecutors — including laughing about the evidence, jurors, and capital charges.

There is nothing strange about a lawyer dating a judge. After all, they have much in common. However, such relationship normally call for recusal in cases and avoidance of official acts that could benefit the lawyer or create the appearance of impropriety. Lawyers have complained that Gardiner and Cotrone openly flirt in court and that Gardiner has used her office to bestow special appointments on Cotrone.

In one account, Gardiner had drinks with Sunrise Commissioner Sheila Alu and Assistant State Attorney Howard Scheinberg at the high-end Timpano Chophouse and Martini Bar .

Alu reportedly said that Gardiner and Scheinberg talked about a pending criminal case — with Gardiner as the judge and Scheinberg as the prosecutor. If true, it would be an astonished breach of judicial and professional ethics for both Gardiner and Scheinberg.

According to the article below, the man was convicted five days later.
Scheinberg issued a statement of denial: “I’ve been prosecuting homicide cases for 11 years,” he wrote. “During that time, I have never discussed a pending case outside of the court with a presiding judge, including this case with Judge Gardiner.”

To add to Gardiner controversial tenure, she was recently involved in a bizarre accident with a parked car and accused of spying on an “ex-boyfriend” and flooring the car when someone stepped outside, click here. Lawyers on the scene said that she said that she was looking for an address and then refused to give more information.

Just having drinks with the judge during a pending case would be a remarkable act for a prosecutor and a judge. The fact that Gardiner is the Chief Judge supervising over a dozen of other judges makes this all the more important to investigate.

For the full story, click here.

22 thoughts on “Florida Judge Ana Gardiner Accused of Improper Relationship and Conduct”

  1. Michael Spindell: “Are you all sure that I haven’t stumbled onto a MENSA website, or is it that I should have paid more attention in school and spent less time getting a buzz?”

    Mind reading would most likely be covered at a website dedicated to parapsychology.

    For further info on the nexus between “getting a buzz” and parapsychology, click here:

    http://tinyurl.com/5ku58k

    Regards,

    Bob

  2. Mespo: “I Kant tell!”

    “Give that man a kewpie doll!”

    What movie?

    (Hint: William Holden played the starring role)

  3. WhoolieBacon wrote:
    Can’t elaborate as my brain has turned to mush grappling with the knowledge that the SciFi channel is airing….WRESTLING!

    *******************

    Uh, yes, that would definitely have me confused as well. 🙂 Your brief rewrite of the original statement was enough clarification, and thanks.

  4. Susan,

    I agree with your statements and apology accepted. Please accept my rewrite:

    Given the current culture of corruption, the Judge’s actions seem appropriate to her.

    ***

    Can’t elaborate as my brain has turned to mush grappling with the knowledge that the SciFi channel is airing…WRESTLING!

  5. One post quotes the wise words of an anonymous philosopher. A second reveals the name in a pun. A third adds to the pun and apologizes for “3rd grade humor.” Are you all sure that I haven’t stumbled onto a MENSA website, or is it that I should have paid more attention in school and spent less time getting a buzz?

  6. Whoolie Bacon wrote:
    “Considering changing values and morals, and reaching the apex of political corruption, this judge’s actions seem spot on. ”
    *******************************

    Could you elaborate on that a little more? I hope you’re NOT saying that Judge Gardiner’s actions of improper conduct (to say the LEAST), should they be found to be absolutely true, are in any way justified. If I misunderstood this statement, my apologies for the error.

    There can be no excuse or justification for deliberately shredding parts of our Constitution and Bill of Rights in the name of the “War on Crime,” and that applies just as equally to judges and prosecutors as it does to Presidents and their White House officials.

  7. Mespo,

    Kant or won’t? (I know, I know, but I love 3rd grade jokes, it’s a weakness.)

    Jill

  8. Mespo:

    One guess who wrote this:

    “Nothing can possibly be conceived in the world, or even out of it, which can be called good, without qualification, except a good will. Intelligence, wit, judgement, and the other talents of the mind, however they may be named, or courage, resolution, perseverance, as qualities of temperament, are undoubtedly good and desirable in many respects; but these gifts of nature may also become extremely bad and mischievous if the will which is to make use of them, and which, therefore, constitutes what is called character, is not good. It is the same with the gifts of fortune. Power, riches, honour, even health, and the general well-being and contentment with one’s condition which is called happiness, inspire pride, and often presumption, if there is not a good will to correct the influence of these on the mind, and with this also to rectify the whole principle of acting and adapt it to its end. The sight of a being who is not adorned with a single feature of a pure and good will, enjoying unbroken prosperity, can never give pleasure to an impartial rational spectator. Thus a good will appears to constitute the indispensable condition even of being worthy of happiness.”

  9. Just an aside: Lord Acton, a Catholic, opposed the Doctrine of Papal Infallibility.

  10. Lite Heavy Metal –That would be aluminium tubes, wouldn’t it?

  11. As a transplanted NYer and current S.Florida resident I have been astonished by the overt corruption that infuses the State. I worked in government in NYC for many years, so I am not naive about political corruption. What was covert in NY is overt in FL. There was a greater effort in NY to maintain some fairness to the system. Depressingly, this is not a corruption tied to either party, rather it is a way of doing the publics’ business that is accepted and ingrained. Judicial excess in one form or other shows up at least bi-weekly, after expressions of shock at the offense, or outrage at its disclosure business as usual continues.

  12. whooliebacon,

    So true…a little song to honor the great ones…

    Iraq,
    Iran,
    Afganistan.

    Katrina,
    Not eatin’,
    we’re billionaries and,

    we just don’t care!
    WE JUST DON’T CARE!!! (SCREAM LOUDLY)
    (Done in lite heavy metal please.)

    Jill

  13. As one of my many, many careers, I have covered County and Superior court trials as a local news reporter. Judges in my day were rock stern and the law seemed to be there life.

    Considering changing values and morals, and reaching the apex of political corruption, this judge’s actions seem spot on.

    Jill,

    To quote the great ones (Bush/Cheney) “If you knew what we knew.”

  14. Hi Mespo,

    But bad men are rarely great men (see cheney, bush and minions)!
    (Although I believe they see themselves as great men and women.)

  15. rafflaw:

    “I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption, it is the other way, against the holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”

    — Lord John Dalberg-Actor (letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, dated April 1887)

    The last line is as instructive as its predecessor. That’s why I quote it at length.

  16. This is a fascinating story on many levels. The ethical breach, if proven, is breathtaking. Even more interesting is Judge’s rise to power, through influence and association with the Prosecutor’s Office. It seems that in Broward County, the prosecutors try to stack the deck by advancing the careers of judges predisposed to their position, using political influence and the calling in of favors. For all my rants against elected judges, this is the seamy underbelly of the appointment process that goes unnoticed by the public. Tip O’Neill’s famous quote “that all politics is local,” applies as much to judicial appointments as elections, but, as here, the results can be ominous.

  17. For such smart people, how do they do such stupid things? Is this power going to her head? I think that there may be an appeal being drawn up as we speak.

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