Ethics Complaint Accuses Florida Judge of Too Many Smoking Breaks, Religious Bias
A Florida judge has been accused in an ethics complaint of being late to court, taking too many smoking breaks, and showing religious bias.
Singbush is accused of making litigants and lawyers wait because he is “habitually late” to court and takes long and numerous smoking breaks, according to the notice of charges posted by Ocala.com. When hearings can’t be completed in the allotted time, Singbush offers to resume the proceedings at inconvenient times such as Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. or Saturday morning, the complaint alleges.
The notice of charges also cites religious statements by Singbush, made after a lawyer sought a mistrial because the judge obtained a criminal background check of a witness in a civil suit on his own initiative.
“I don’t know of anybody that’s not made a mistake—and except for perhaps one, and for that we murdered him. You know, he was faultless and we murdered him for it. That’s not politically correct but I happen to believe in God. … Christ is the intercessor.”
The case concerned rights to an airport runway, and Singbush’s reference to murder apparently referred to the death of Christ, Ocala.com said. The witness was Jewish.
Singbush’s lawyer, William “Dude” Phelan, said in a statement he is disappointed by the commission’s choice to file formal charges. “Nobody has proven anything,” Phelan said. “We are confident the process will ultimately confirm him to be a fair and dedicated judge who does his best to discharge his judicial duties in scrupulous compliance with the Code of Judicial Conduct.”