Longtime Coral Gables lawyer suspended, ordered to apologize over alleged misbehavior in court

By Karen Kidd | Feb 4, 2019

TALLAHASSEE — Longtime Coral Gables attorney Alexander John Michaels has been suspended and ordered to apologize to four assistant state attorneys following a Dec. 27 Florida Supreme Court order over his alleged misbehavior in court in 2013, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.

The state Supreme Court suspended Michaels for six months, followed by three years' probation. In its two-page order, the state Supreme Court approved the uncontested referee's report and ordered Michaels to "provide a written letter of apology" to Miami-Dade County assistant state attorneys Kathleen Hoague, Erica Lounsberry, Nilo Cuervo and Allison Freidin.

Michaels agreed to apologize as part of the terms and conditions of the consent judgment filed with the court. The consent judgment also includes Michaels' conditional guilty plea.

The court also ordered Michaels to pay almost $2,063 in costs.

Florida court orders are not final until time to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion does not alter the  effective date of Michaels' suspension or probation.

The state bar announced the discipline and the Supreme Court's order on Jan. 31.

Michaels was admitted to the bar in Florida on Nov. 19, 1984, according to his profile at the state bar website. No prior  discipline before the state bar is listed on Michaels's state bar profile.

In its formal complaint, the state bar alleged Michaels "engaged in ongoing disrespectful, disruptive, contentious, and unprofessional behavior, requiring the court to admonish him" during his client's three-day probation violation hearing in May 2013. The behavior included "name calling, insults and profanities directed at the officers and prosecutor" before Eleventh Circuit Court Judge Cristina Maria Miranda, the complaint said.

In April 2014, Florida's Third District Court of Appeal denied Michael’s petition for habeas relief for allegedly mumbling profanities after the lower court found him in direct criminal contempt. In its decision the appeal court commented that "counsel for neither party distinguished himself by his conduct in this otherwise quite ordinary probation violation hearing."

In the consent judgment, Michaels admitted "he engaged in a course of conduct demonstrating a lack of civility and professionalism" in which "state's witnesses were subjected to vitriolic outbursts in and out of count." Those outbursts included "profanity-laced tirades, screaming and yelling and name calling."

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Florida Supreme Court Florida Third District Court of Appeal The Florida Bar

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