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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – A Broward County circuit judge has been publicly reprimanded by the state’s Supreme Court for conduct that Chief Justice Jorge Labarga said, “damaged the public trust and confidence.”

The reprimand of Circuit Judge John Contini stemmed from a series of events that started in March 2015 when the judge sent an email to a public defender. The email included a legal form that Contini thought the public defender should use in proposed orders seeking more lenient sentences, and Contini did not provide copies to prosecutors until later, Labarga said.

The email led prosecutors to seek to disqualify Contini from pending criminal cases, with the issue ultimately going to the 4th District Court of Appeal.

Labarga said the dispute at the appeals court led to work being unable to proceed on criminal cases before Contini.

An investigative panel of the state Judicial Qualifications Commission said Contini took the matter “very personally” and made disparaging comments about prosecutors.

Contini stood quietly Tuesday before the Supreme Court as Labarga gave an overview of the allegations and criticized Contini’s conduct.

“Your actions damaged public confidence in you as a judicial officer and in the court as an instrument of justice,” Labarga said. “In sum, your misconduct struck at the very roots of an effective judiciary.”

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.


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