Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Someone Get this Judge a Nicotine Patch

Judge Singbush
 Marion County, Florida judge, "Jack" Singbush is in "trouble for puffing too much on the job," according to the Orlando Sentinel.  Here's an excerpt from their story:

"Circuit Court Judge William 'Jack' Singbush is also accused of being habitually late to court, demonstrating religious and personal bias during court proceedings and other judicial improprieties that could result in his removal, records released Wednesday show.

The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission, an agency that investigates alleged judicial misconduct, voted to file charges Singbush after a confidential complaint was brought against him.

Singbush repeatedly fails to appear in court on time and often resorts to scheduling hearings at 'inconvenient dates and times, such as Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. or Saturday morning,' the agency said in documents released Wednesday.He is also charged with taking an excessive and extensive number of smoking breaks, which 'compromises the parties' ability to have their cases heard promptly,' the agency said.

Perhaps the most serious allegation lodged against Singbush were charges he obtained a criminal background check on a witness for a case he was presiding over.  The attorneys in the case moved for a mistrial but the judge denied making any mistakes.

He allegedly made a series biased comments deemed improper when he stated he 'believed in God'  and that 'Christ is the intercessor' during the motion hearing.  Judge Singbush delayed judgment on that case more than a year after the trial had ended, the charging documents stated. [. . . ]
'Judge Singbush is disappointed by the JQC's choice to file formal charges,' said Singbush's attorney William 'Dude' Phelan. Phelan noted, however, that the judge only faces allegations. 'Nobody has proven anything.'

[...] 'We are confident the process will ultimately confirm him [Singbush] to be a fair and dedicated judge who does his best to discharge his judicial duties in scrupulous compliance with the Code of Judicial Conduct,' Phelan said."
In my career I had nearly everyone of these experiences with highly idiosyncratic Judges.  Gotta love the judge who purposefully sets a pre-trial at 7:30 AM when he knows that will require the attorneys to be on the road at say, 6 AM to get to his outlying courtroom. 
In the county adjacent to OurCounty I had a favorite judge, an old time, former labor lawyer who chain-smoked on the bench when no jury was present.  I thought this was pretty odd even "back in the day."   

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