Fla. SC probing unusual judicial ethics charge

By John O'Brien | Apr 9, 2008


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - With violations of judicial ethics charged over an appellate judge's opinion, the Florida Supreme Court is looking for answers.

First District Court of Appeal Judge Michael Allen asked the High Court for help April 1. The Judicial Qualifications Commission had filed a Notice of Formal Charges last May because of what Allen wrote in an opinion in the bribery case of former state Senate President W.D. Childers.

The Commission claims Allen lied when he said he was not motivated by animosity when he filed a concurring opinion that inappropriately criticized Judge Charles Kahn.

According to a report by The Associated Press, it appears to be the first time a judge has been accused of ethical misconduct because of an opinion.

Allen thought Kahn had a conflict of interest in the Childers case because his former law partner, Fred Levin, was a friend and lawyer for Childers, who was sentenced in 2006 to 3 1/2 years in prison for his conduct as Escambia County Commissioner. The appellate court upheld the sentence.

Kahn dissented in the case.

"No JQC proceeding has ever been initiated against an appellate judge in Florida based on what was written in a published opinion, or asking why the opinion was written," Allen wrote.

The Supreme Court has asked the Commission to explain why it has filed the charges.

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