FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A Broward judge charged with DUI left the jail without comment early Tuesday night.
Lynn Rosenthal was arrested just after 8 in the morning after BSO says she hit a parked patrol car in the back courthouse parking lot.
“I saw the lady she was trying to walk and she had a hard time doing it,” said Ted McClode who witnessed the arrest.
According to an arrest affidavit the judge said she had taken the sleep aid Ambien the night before. Rosenthal also was given a breathalyzer test for alcohol consumption and it registered .000. She refused to give her blood or urine to be tested. However, investigators say during a field sobriety test Rosenthal could not maintain balance and failed every heel to toe step she was asked to perform.
Courthouse blogger Bill Gelin said the Chief Judge should assure the public under the circumstances. Rosenthal is the third judge to be arrested for DUI in the last 6 months.
“It’s disgraceful,” Gelin said. “It’s just an accusation at this point but I myself have called on the Chief Judge Peter Weinstein to start to do something. To send a message to the community that judges are not above the law.”
Rosenthal’s docket will be handled by another judge for the time being.
“You can’t put people in danger out there and if that’s true — a no-nonsense judge, former U.S. Attorney as Judge Rosenthal was, should know better than get behind the wheel if that was the situation,” Gelin said.
The most recent case involving a Broward judge booked on a DUI charge is the case of Broward County Judge Gisele Pollack. She was suspended from the bench without pay on May 23rd, while an investigation into her DUI arrest moves forward.
Pollack, who oversaw misdemeanor drug cases, was arrested in early May for driving under the influence and crashing into a stopped car in Broward County.
In November of 2013, veteran Broward Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Imperato was also arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Boca Raton. She was removed from her criminal court and placed in civil court. Imperato has been a Broward circuit judge since 2003.
Nova Southeastern University Law Professor Bob Jarvis says it is unusual to have three sitting judges arrested for DUI within months of each other. However, he says people need to remember that judges are people too.
“It is unfortunate that anyone has their faith in the system undermined,” Jarvis said. “It reminds us that even though you put on a robe and even though you’re sitting up there on the bench, you’re still a human being and you still have frailties and you still have flaws and you’re still imperfect.”
There was no comment from chief judge’s office today on this most recent arrest.
Judge Rosenthal’s cellphone was taken as evidence. According to the BSO report she showed an investigator video she shot of her hitting a guardrail on 595 and driving erratically while on her way to work this morning. Rosenthal told investigators that she was trying to avoid a truck. BSO says the video does not show a truck anywhere nearby.