JQC request stay of Robinson discipline hearing; look into ‘additional matters’

By David Hutton | Dec 22, 2017

The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission has asked the Florida Supreme Court to put on hold an agreement with Broward County Judge Claudia Robinson over allegations she steered work to a mediator who worked as a volunteer on her 2014 campaign.

The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission has filed a motion with the Florida Supreme Court asking to put on hold an agreement with Broward County Judge Claudia Robinson over allegations she steered work to a mediator who worked as a volunteer on her 2014 campaign.

According to the Dec. 14 motion, a panel investigating allegations against Robinson has found that probable cause exists to support the charges filed.

The panel reached a deal with Robinson in which she admits her conduct violated the Code of Judicial Conduct.

“However, since then, additional matters have come to the attention of the investigative panel which require further proceedings before that body,” the motion stated.


Florida Supreme Court  

By filing the motion, the Judicial Qualifications Board gains the option of determining whether it will retain its agreement with Robinson or seek a harsher penalty against the embattled judge. Once the investigative panel has concluded its investigation, the commission will let the court know if it will keep the present agreement and recommendation already entered in the case.

On Dec. 1, Robinson had agreed to a 30-day suspension from the bench for steering cases to a mediator who had worked as an unpaid adviser on her 2014 campaign for the seat, according to The Sun-Sentinel

In a recommendation of discipline and findings issued on Nov. 29, the commission found Robinson was guilty of assigning a vastly "disproportionate" amount of mediation work to a former political consultant Michael Ahearn.

According to that recommendation, Robinson ordered 296 cases to mediation and 245 of those were assigned to Ahearn, which was a violation of rule 3C(4), which demands that all such appointments be impartial.

The commission's ruling states that during her 2014 judicial campaign, Robinson often sought advice from Ahearn, who often helped her plan campaign and media strategy. She defeated incumbent Judge Ian Richards by less than 1 percent of the vote and took the bench in 2015. The term for the seat runs until 2021.

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