Legal Ethics

Ex-Jurist Should Lose Law License for a Year Over Close Relationship with Prosecutor, Judge Says

A Florida judge overseeing an unusual legal ethics case against a former state court jurist has recommended that Ana Gardiner lose her law license for a year over her conduct on the bench.

A judicial ethics case against Gardiner over her alleged concealment of a clandestine relationship with a prosecutor while he was trying a capital murder case in her court was dismissed when she resigned from the bench. But an attorney ethics case was pursued against the former Broward Circuit Court judge over the relationship, and Palm Beach County Circuit Judge David Crow recommended a one-year suspension in a report Tuesday, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel recounts.

“I find the misconduct at issue involves dishonesty and deceit,” Crow wrote. He was referring both to the hundreds of cellphone calls and text messages between Gardiner and the then-veteran prosecutor—who also resigned after the close relationship between the two came to light—and Gardiner’s attempt to downplay that relationship during a judicial conduct investigation.

Crow also found Gardiner had engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. However, he rejected the disbarment penalty sought by the Florida Bar, which argued that lawyers have to be counted upon to tell the truth, saying that she lost her job, has been publicly humiliated and has expressed remorse, the newspaper recounts.

The state supreme court will make a final determination concerning discipline for Gardiner.

Earlier coverage: “Ex-Judge Faces Ethics Case, as Lawyer, re Alleged Chats with Murder Prosecutor While Still On Bench” “Report: Prosecutor’s Hundreds of Texts, Calls to Judge During Capital Trial Merit 1-Year Suspension”

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