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Court removes Judge Sloop (FL Supreme Court, rejects lesser punishments)
http://www.floridabar.org/DIVCOM/JN/jnnews01.nsf/8c9f13012b96736985256aa900624829/39db5cf93439aaf685 ^ | January 1, 2007 | Jan Pudlow

Posted on 01/05/2007 1:16:42 PM PST by longtermmemmory

Amid confusion of a new Seminole County Courthouse, 11 citizens were directed to sit in the wrong courtroom to respond to traffic citations. Next door in an adjoining courtroom, an angry Judge John Sloop signed warrants for their arrest for failing to show. The citizens were handcuffed and chained by 15 officers who took them to jail, where they were strip-searched and sat locked up nine hours until 9 that Friday night.

On the following Monday, when Chief Judge James Perry asked why he didn’t solve the problem when two judges and a bailiff first alerted him to the mistake early Friday afternoon, Judge Sloop responded that he did not understand why it was a “big deal.”

“The arrest of 11 citizens and their continued confinement for nine hours is a very big deal,” the justices wrote in a per curium opinion December 7 in Case No. SC05-555 in Inquiry Concerning Judge John R. Sloop.

It was such a big deal that the court has removed 58-year-old Judge Sloop from office for “conduct unbecoming a member of the judiciary demonstrating a present unfitness to hold office.

“Judge Sloop’s indifference to the anxiety, humiliation, and hardship imposed upon these 11 citizens reflects a callous disregard for others that is among the most egregious examples we have seen of abuse of judicial authority and lack of proper judicial temperament,” the justices said in a 26-page order.

During oral arguments, Sloop had asked that he be allowed to remain on the bench until 2011, when he could finish his term, complete 20 years as a judge, and receive his retirement benefits. He promised he would not seek service as a senior judge. He said he is receiving treatment for anger management and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, which he maintains contributed to his poor judgment. Sloop also argued that he has not had any angry outbursts since serving in the civil division.

But the justices said the court is more concerned about what’s best for the public, not what’s best for the judge.

“A determination that Judge Sloop is fit to remain in office for four years but unfit after that point would convey greater concern for the welfare of the judge than the welfare of the public. In striving to ensure a fair and impartial judiciary, we owe our allegiance to the people of Florida, not to individual judges.

“If Judge Sloop is fit to remain in office now, his misconduct to date would not render him unfit four years from now. Conversely, if that misconduct warrants mandatory early retirement in four years, it demonstrates unfitness to hold judicial office now.”

Efforts to address his hot temper and ADHD with counseling and medication “are too little, too late,” the court concluded.

While the December 3, 2004, episode involving the wrongly arrested and jailed citizens was the most disturbing, it was one of three separate incidents of violating the Code of Judicial Conduct in the current case, and marks the fourth time Judge Sloop has faced allegations of judicial misconduct in his 15 years on the bench.

In his first year as a judge in 1991, he was investigated by the Judicial Qualifications Commission for alleged misconduct in an eviction proceeding and for displaying a firearm in court, which ended in no findings of probable cause and a private admonishment.

In 2002, the JQC investigated Sloop for rude and abusive behavior. Again, there was no finding of probable cause, but the JQC warned him about his temper, as did other judges.

In the current case, Sloop admitted to two other counts: • In the case of State v. Ramos, Sloop declined to release a defendant pursuant to the clear mandate of Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.134, thereby requiring the defendant’s release pursuant to a writ of habeas corpus.

• In the case of State v. Mercano, Sloop was “rude, abrupt, and abusive” in his treatment of the defendant, “acting more like a prosecutor than a county court judge.”

“Regrettably, the previous JQC admonishments, feedback from the bench and bar, and other current charges serve merely as a backdrop for the misconduct alleged in count one in this case,” the court wrote.

Judge Sloop admitted the allegation about wrongly arresting the 11 citizens and failing to do anything about his mistake for hours. The JQC Investigative Panel sought his removal from the bench. Because Sloop contested that recommendation, a full hearing was held before the JQC Hearing Panel, which found that the three instances of misconduct violated Canons 1, 2A, and 3B(2), (4), and (8) of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

But the hearing panel was willing to give Sloop another chance, finding that he does have an ADHD disorder and that his treatment has been beneficial.

Among the panel’s recommended sanctions were a public reprimand, suspension from the bench for 90 days without pay, continued treatment and medication, the directive to issue letters of apology to the 11 people wrongly arrested as well as publish a full-page newspaper apology, and an agreement he would retire from the bench at the end of his current term in January 2011.

The justices rejected those recommendations, saying they are “unconvinced that Judge Sloop can both effectively manage his temper and remain an effective jurist.”

Quoting Canon 1 of the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct, the justices concluded: “We hope that our decision today will remind all judges of their solemn obligation to ‘personally observe’ high standards of conduct ‘so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved.’

“Serving as a judge is a privilege and not a right. Finally, we take this opportunity to apologize on behalf of the justice system to the citizens of the state, to the citizens of Seminole County, and in particular to the 11 citizens harmed by Judge Sloop’s misconduct in failing to promptly ensure their release.”


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: breakpoint; court; damn; donutwatch; florida; govwatch; judge; judicairy; judiciary; justdamn; lawyer; sloop
Does anyone else have similar anecdotes with Judges with anger managment issues?

I think it is very telling that the lawyer was pulled off the bench despite the pension issue and his willingness to forgo reelection and senior judge status post retirement. (BTW: FL has mandatory retirement for judges after age 70)

It is also worth noting this judge probably never had any opposition during elections.

Sadly this judge is not alone, he is only the one who was publicly exposed.

1 posted on 01/05/2007 1:16:43 PM PST by longtermmemmory
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To: longtermmemmory

incoming freepmail


2 posted on 01/05/2007 1:24:57 PM PST by stainlessbanner
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To: longtermmemmory
The citizens were handcuffed and chained by 15 officers who took them to jail, where they were strip-searched and sat locked up nine hours until 9 that Friday night.

An obvious mistake with the people in the room next door and not one officer refused or questioned it. Just followed orders. Scary. I think there is more to this.

3 posted on 01/05/2007 1:29:28 PM PST by beltfed308 (Democrats :Tough on Taxpayers, Soft on Terrorism)
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To: longtermmemmory
Does anyone else have similar anecdotes with Judges with anger managment issues?

Although I never faced her (or any other judge) there was a Judge Maria Lopez here in Massachusetts who was viciously abusive to prosecutors.In one case,where she ruled that a transvestite accused of having kidnapped,tortured and raped a young boy was to be released on some minuscule amount of bail the prosecutor rose to object and she shouted at him to sit down or she'll find him in contempt.

"Judge Maria",BTW,now has her own syndicated show now.

Only in America!

4 posted on 01/05/2007 1:33:03 PM PST by Gay State Conservative ("The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism."-Karl Marx)
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To: longtermmemmory
Thug in a black robe ALERT


...Judge Sloop responded that he did not understand why it was a “big deal.”

Not a big deal...this Judge should be forced to undergo the same indignities, and then be forced to spend a few nights in a small cell with a big con named bubba.
5 posted on 01/05/2007 1:33:27 PM PST by rottndog (While reading this tag, remember Tens of Thousands of Americans are risking their lives for you.)
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To: longtermmemmory
It was such a big deal that the court has removed 58-year-old Judge Sloop from office for “conduct unbecoming a member of the judiciary demonstrating a present unfitness to hold office.

Whew! Now he can run for congress. Maybe he already is in consult with Alcee Hastings.

Embarrassing but I think I voted for this dolt.

6 posted on 01/05/2007 1:35:07 PM PST by VeniVidiVici (Celebrate Mediocrity!)
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To: longtermmemmory
“Judge Sloop’s indifference to the anxiety, humiliation, and hardship imposed upon these 11 citizens reflects a callous disregard for others that is among the most egregious examples we have seen of abuse of judicial authority and lack of proper judicial temperament,” the justices said in a 26-page order.

Wow! A refreshing outcome.

7 posted on 01/05/2007 1:35:42 PM PST by TChris (We scoff at honor and are shocked to find traitors among us. - C.S. Lewis)
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To: longtermmemmory

http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2006/sc05-555.pdf is much more detailed.


8 posted on 01/05/2007 1:36:39 PM PST by beltfed308 (Democrats :Tough on Taxpayers, Soft on Terrorism)
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To: beltfed308

An obvious mistake with the people in the room next door and not one officer refused or questioned it. Just followed orders. Scary. I think there is more to this.



The Nazis on trial couldn't use just following orders as a defence. It's time we serfs stand up and hold the government accountable.


9 posted on 01/05/2007 1:37:33 PM PST by freedomfiter2 ("Modern, bureaucratic, unionized education is a form of intellectual child abuse." Newt Gingrich)
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To: longtermmemmory

Is it possible to sue for wrongful imprisionment?


10 posted on 01/05/2007 1:40:37 PM PST by Shadowstrike (Be polite, Be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.)
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To: TChris

consider how publicly bad this judge has to be to get to this point where even the FL SC has to stop him.

ALSO consider the FL Bar has such LIGHTWEIGHT recomended punishments!!!!

The recomnedations would have left him on the bench!



There are others out there, unfortunatly Judge Sloop is the example not the exception.


11 posted on 01/05/2007 1:40:57 PM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: Shadowstrike

Yes, yes it is.

It will be interesting if the people sue AND if they are eligible to collect under the FL Bar's victim compensation fund.


12 posted on 01/05/2007 1:41:47 PM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: beltfed308
On the following Monday, when Chief Judge James Perry asked why he didn’t solve the problem when two judges and a bailiff first alerted him to the mistake early Friday afternoon

Someone did question it.

13 posted on 01/05/2007 1:43:53 PM PST by AmericaUnited
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To: longtermmemmory

Maybe he should have borrowed the penis pump judge's equipment to work off some of that anger.


14 posted on 01/05/2007 1:44:59 PM PST by CFC__VRWC (AIDS, abortion, euthanasia - Don't liberals just kill ya?)
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To: AmericaUnited

but they left him the power to "not fix" it.

also this was not the only time he did this.

The fact is the judge put people in jail. If he had left it at yelling and scream at them (literally), even put them in cuffs, hear their cases at the very end of the docket, and THEN let them go; he would have gotten away with his ongoing abusive conduct.

This trial judge is very sadly not alone. The other judges tend to know the limits on how far they can be abusive without getting into public trouble.


15 posted on 01/05/2007 1:57:45 PM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: longtermmemmory
Mix-up that put 11 people in jail

The time line, Dec. 3, 2004.

16 posted on 01/05/2007 2:02:51 PM PST by Daaave (The flesh eating jinn of Komari.)
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To: Shadowstrike
Is it possible to sue for wrongful imprisionment?

"The victims who were stripped searched are suing Seminole County in Federal Court for violation of their civil rights."

17 posted on 01/05/2007 2:05:35 PM PST by Daaave (The flesh eating jinn of Komari.)
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To: longtermmemmory

“A determination that Judge Sloop is fit to remain in office for four years but unfit after that point would convey greater concern for the welfare of the judge than the welfare of the public."

“If Judge Sloop is fit to remain in office now, his misconduct to date would not render him unfit four years from now. Conversely, if that misconduct warrants mandatory early retirement in four years, it demonstrates unfitness to hold judicial office now.”

Yikes. Logical, rational analysis. These people would be unqualified for US Supreme Court nominations if a demonrat were president.


18 posted on 01/05/2007 2:25:32 PM PST by Felis_irritable (Dirty_Felis_Irritable...)
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To: longtermmemmory
A real character.

John Sloop Draws Criticism for His Courtroom Style and Demeanor By Rene Stutzman Sentinel Staff Writer May 15, 2005 Wesley Eugene Kendall, terminally ill with lung cancer, spent four of the last five weeks of his life behind bars or chained to a hospital bed on orders of Seminole County Judge John Sloop. His crime: He was too sick to perform community service. In December, Sloop locked up Kendall, who had gotten into a bar fight, even though two doctors said the 31-year-old man was ill. After another judge took over, Kendall was released but died a week later. "I am very angry over this," Kendall's 90-year-old grandmother, Christine Kotz, wrote Sloop. "Rather than help him, you punished him. You will answer to God for this." Sloop's handling of the Kendall case is just one example of the way he runs his courtroom. The longtime judge handles hundreds of cases a year, but sometimes he can be domineering, sarcastic and quick to humiliate, according to people who have come before him and a review of cases by the Orlando Sentinel. The newspaper looked at about 50 appeals cases since 2001 that were reversed or turned back to Seminole county judges with orders requiring more work. Twenty involved Sloop. In addition to treating some defendants harshly, Sloop at times would defy the law to do so. The judge has ordered people to wear electronic monitors when state law clearly said he could not. Appellate judges have reversed Sloop -- or ordered him to rework criminal cases -- more often than the other four Seminole county judges combined, or 17 times since 2001. Sloop would not comment for this article. His attorney, Marc Lubet, said he did not have enough information to discuss Sloop's appeals record or any of Sloop's other individual cases. "While a lot of people may not agree with the way Judge Sloop conducts his courtroom, there are many, many others who think he does a fine job," Lubet said last month. Indeed, Sloop has a reputation among courthouse colleagues and friends for helping people in need. One day, for example, Sloop pulled money from his pocket for a defendant who couldn't buy lunch because he had just spent his last dollar to catch a bus to the courthouse, according to the judge's longtime courtroom deputy, Olly Csisko. But Sloop's actions late last year may have put his career in jeopardy. Sloop, 56, is slated to go on trial before a special judicial panel for sending 11 people to jail simply because they were lost. On Dec. 3, he ordered the 11 arrested when they went to the wrong courtroom because of botched paperwork or bad directions from courthouse personnel. After sitting in the wrong room, the defendants finally discovered the error and immediately went to Sloop's courtroom. But Sloop had adjourned for the morning, was eating lunch and refused to see them, according to a Seminole County Sheriff's Office report. Three deputies approached him separately, trying to explain the mix-up, according to a report by the Seminole County Sheriff's Office. But Sloop said it was too late, that their mistake was not his problem. Meanwhile, the 11 spent several hours in jail. Seminole's chief judge removed Sloop from all criminal cases, allowing him to handle only small lawsuits. The Judicial Qualifications Commission, the state panel that disciplines judges, then filed charges again him. If it finds him unfit to be a judge, he could be thrown off the bench. Sloop admitted he had made a mistake and apologized publicly, calling it a 90-minute lapse in judgment. But once the JQC filed charges, he offered an unexpected defense: He was suffering from undiagnosed attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Sloop is now under treatment, including daily medication, and the problem is under control, his lawyer said.

19 posted on 01/05/2007 3:10:01 PM PST by beltfed308 (Democrats :Tough on Taxpayers, Soft on Terrorism)
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To: beltfed308; All

I think the ADHD is utter BS for this lawyer. He was just using the "twinkie defense" to try and save the remains of his legal career since he has already been booted off the bench.

Remember just because he is pulled off the bench does not pull his law license. He is STILL a lawyer.

He is trying to stay a lawyer with the mental illness BS becuase it is harder to pull the license of a lawyer if the issue is one of mental illnes or substance abuse. (FL Bar has a special intervention program for such lawyers)

This Sloop is the type who as a child enjoyed pulling wings off of flys for no reason. It seems he treated those haples citizens with the impunity of Nero rather that the justice of the law.


20 posted on 01/05/2007 3:46:08 PM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: Felis_irritable; All
Among the panel’s recommended sanctions were a public reprimand, suspension from the bench for 90 days without pay, continued treatment and medication, the directive to issue letters of apology to the 11 people wrongly arrested as well as publish a full-page newspaper apology, and an agreement he would retire from the bench at the end of his current term in January 2011.

The justices rejected those recommendations, saying they are “unconvinced that Judge Sloop can both effectively manage his temper and remain an effective jurist.”


What is shocking and very damning is that the FL Bar panel was willing to let this judicial sadist off with a slap on the wrist. The Bar protecting their own.


The panel's recomendations were a joke and an embarassment. The SC justices knew it. It is VERY VERY rare they deviate from the recomendation unless it is this type of whitewash.

21 posted on 01/05/2007 3:55:37 PM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: longtermmemmory
I just received a book I ordered "the Tyranny of Tolerance"
by Judge Robert H. Dierker Jr.

I will attempt to cover it in detail as I finish it or Find a good tidbit.
******
For the first time, a sitting judge blows the whistle on America’s out-of-control courts.

A judge for more than twenty years, Robert Dierker has enjoyed a distinguished legal career. But now that career may be on the line. Why? Because he is breaking the code of silence that has long kept judges from speaking out to present a withering account of how radical liberals run roughshod over the Constitution, waging war on the laws of nature, the laws of reason, and the law of God.

Even those outraged by America’s courts will be shocked by Judge Dierker’s story of activist judges, deep-pocketed special interest groups, pandering politicians, and others who claim to stand for tolerance, equal rights, and social justice, but actually stand for something quite different—something closer to totalitarianism.

Citing not only Judge Dierker’s own experiences but dozens of other recent court cases, The Tyranny of Tolerance shows how the courts enable left-wing activists to ram their dangerous agenda down the throats of the American people. Consider:

• Why do the courts claim the power to tax us?
• Why is a Christian fired when he voices opposition to his employer’s favoring homosexuals?
• Why are airline pilots sued and sent to “diversity training” for recommending that suspicious-looking people of Middle Eastern appearance be kept off planes?
• Why does a judge who defends a monument to the Ten Commandments in a courthouse lose his job?
• Why are speech codes imposed on employers, university students, lawyers (and judges!), while “artistic” indecency is protected from even the mildest regulation?
• Why are peaceful abortion protesters thrown in jail, their right to free speech crushed?
• Why are white and Asian students denied admission to colleges and universities in the name of “diversity”?
• Why is an enemy fighter captured in Afghanistan granted access to U.S. federal courts, overturning judicial precedent safeguarding the president’s wartime powers—to say nothing of common sense?

With this passionate insider’s account, Judge Dierker reminds Americans what’s at stake in the battle for the courts: the Constitution, the success of the war on terrorism, the freedom to worship God, the ability to keep our families safe, the institution of marriage, and much more.

Fortunately, Judge Dierker shows how we can defeat the radical liberals’ tyranny of tolerance. By wresting back control of the courts and restoring the legal, moral, and religious principles embedded in the Constitution, we can ultimately reclaim the republic the Founders bequeathed to us.
22 posted on 01/06/2007 7:11:57 AM PST by HuntsvilleTxVeteran ("Remember the Alamo, Goliad and WACO, It is Time for a new San Jacinto")
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To: longtermmemmory
He said he is receiving treatment for anger management and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
And this alone doesn't disqualify him? "Holy crap."
23 posted on 01/06/2007 7:16:01 AM PST by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: longtermmemmory

The perp. Ha-ha. The SOB really has something to be angry about now. That is, if he can remember what happened. I'd bet the the jackass is probably a drunk.

24 posted on 01/06/2007 7:30:19 AM PST by csvset
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To: csvset

If he was a drunk he would get a free pass via the Florida Lawyers Assistance program for attorneys with substance abuse problems. That is what he is doing with his ADHD claim in order to save his law license.

Many attorneys are removed as judge but allowed to keep their law license.

Consider how much of a vindictive monster this "person" had to be in order just to open the case! Generally judges are able to be abusive and general a--holes.


25 posted on 01/07/2007 8:29:26 PM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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