Criminal Justice

Judge hits sheriff's vehicle in courthouse lot, is county's 2nd jurist charged with DUI in a month


A Florida judge was arrested Tuesday morning after her BMW sports utility vehicle struck a parked sheriff’s department vehicle in a Broward County courthouse parking lot

Circuit Judge Lynn Rosenthal, 56, was charged with driving under the influence after the 8 a.m. incident, reports the Sun Sentinel.

It is the second time in a month that a Broward judge was charged with DUI. Judge Gisele Pollack, also 56, was suspended from her job without pay Friday on an interim basis by the state’s top court, following a series of alcohol-related incidents, according to an earlier Sun Sentinel article and WPLG.

Pollack relapsed after almost two decades of sobriety following the death of her mother, the newspaper reports, relying on information from her lawyer, Eric Schwartzreich.

Pollack twice took the bench while intoxicated, on Dec. 13 and March 19. Meanwhile, she signed a written pledge on March 3 to abstain from drinking and not to come to work if she did, contends a notice of charges by the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission that was made public Friday. On March 19, another judge had to help her walk from the courtroom, the JQC says.

After March 19, Pollack took a leave of absence. But after leaving a 40-day program of inpatient substance-abuse treatment, she was involved in a traffic crash in Plantation and charged with multiple counts of driving under the influence, the newspaper recounts.

“She’s had a relapse, and relapse is part of recovery,” Schwartzreich told the Sun Sentinel. “It’s our position that this is a disease and that it should be treated like any other disease. If she had cancer, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

He said he hopes the Florida Supreme Court will reconsider its decision to suspend Pollack without pay. Her DUI case is being handled in Miami-Dade County.

Broward Circuit Judge Cynthia Imperato also has a pending DUI case, which resulted from an incident in Boca Raton late last year. The 56-year-old was arrested one night in early November, after a fellow motorist called to report her white Mercedes-Benz was being driven erratically, as the Sun Sentinel reported at the time.

Imperato refused a breath test at the scene.

The articles don’t include any comment from Imperato or Rosenthal or their legal counsel.

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