TALLAHASSEE -- The Miami-Dade judge set to face a criminal mischief trial for destroying a pickup truck using
a metal pipe in June escaped prosecution after the charges were dropped.
Victoria Brennan, a
Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge, was not charged for any criminal liability by
the 20th Judicial Circuit. The decision came after the matter was initially
placed in limbo when then Keys state attorney Catherine Vogel removed her
office from the case. Due to her decision to recuse, Florida Gov. Rick Scott
appointed Florida State Attorney Stephen Russell, the chief of the prosecutors in the 20th
Judicial Circuit, to handle the case.
In the explanation she
provided for her recusal, Vogel shared that she had a close relationship with
Brennan in the past. According to the Keys state attorney, she and Brennan had
worked together in the 1990s as Miami Dade County prosecutors. In addition, the
defendant allegedly once dated one of the prosecutors in Vogel’s office.
Records show that no
charges have been officially filed against Brennan. While the Monroe County
deputies signed an arrest warrant against the judge, the pickup truck’s owner,
Victor Garcia of Homestead, was convinced by Daniel Lurvey, the defendant’s
lawyer, to not file charges anymore. According to the agreement with Garcia,
Brennan then paid for the damages caused to the vehicle.
a thorough investigation, Judge Brennan has been exonerated of any wrongdoing,”
shared Lurvey in a statement via the Florida Keys
News. “She was never arrested or charged and this matter is
As for Garcia, the petitioner
appears to be eager to put the incident behind him.
“It was random. She’s a
judge. She took care of what she did. They paid more – more than what it was
worth. I don’t really want to talk about it," Lurvey
told the Miami Herald.
matter started on June 28 when Brennan purportedly found “three drunk males” in her Key
Largo home. They were later identified as the same people partying with her
17-year-old son, police reports state, who had been arrested for a hit-and-run incident and was
detained at a Plantation Key jail. When she asked the males to vacate the
premises, they allegedly cursed at her and threatened her. Garcia and his
companions later on claimed that Brennan proceeded to smash the pickup truck
parked outside using a metal pipe.
the fact that the criminal charges have been dropped, Brennan remains in danger
of facing potential breach of Florida judicial ethics procedure. Since a
warrant had been signed for her arrest or surrender, the rules dictate that the
judge should have properly informed her superiors and the defendants in her
court about the criminal case she was involved with.
“Generally speaking, a judge who has an arrest warrant
out there has no business on the criminal bench. The judge should have asked to
be reassigned so there wasn’t even the appearance of impropriety,” explained Miami
lawyer Michael Catalano.