Legal Ethics

Judge Is Reprimanded for Excessive Tardiness, Christ Comment

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A Florida judge has agreed to write a letter of apology to the public and the legal community after he was given a public reprimand for excessive tardiness and an inappropriate religious comment.

The Florida Supreme Court issued the reprimand (PDF) against Judge William “Jack” Singbush of Marion County on Thursday, report the Legal Profession Blog and the National Law Journal (reg. req.).

The Judicial Qualifications Commission had alleged Singbush was habitually late for court; offered to schedule late-running hearings at inconvenient times, such as 5 p.m. on Friday; took multiple, lengthy smoking breaks; and made an inappropriate comment introducing religion into the decision-making process.

Singbush made the comment in response to a mistrial motion filed because the judge obtained a criminal background check of a witness. “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.”

In a stipulation, Singbush had admitted making the comment and being habitually tardy. He will submit the apology letter to the Judicial Qualifications Commission, and for the next year he will also submit weekly logs documenting his courtroom timeliness.

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