MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Miami-Dade circuit court bailiff has been arrested for allegedly accepting cash in exchange for fixing traffic tickets, according to the State Attorney’s Office.
Juana Olga Durand, 52, is charged with three felonies: uttering a forged instrument, official misconduct and illegal compensation. She was also charged with a misdemeanor count of violating the county’s ethics code.
Court records show Durand claimed she could arrange legal help for a man with various traffic violations. She’s accused of accepting cash payments, while in uniform and on-duty outside the Miami-Dade family courthouse in downtown Miami.
The man she was helping was Maciel Gonzalez, who was working undercover with Miami-Dade public corruption detectives, according to court records.
Those detectives recorded and videotaped a number of conversations between Durand and Gonzalez, according to the warrant.
The warrant states Durand arranged for a local attorney to represent Gonzalez in exchange for cash and also arranged a fake certificate showing Gonzalez had completed traffic school.
Durand is also accused of using her relationship to the Police Benevolent Association to make traffic tickets disappear.
Durand has a daughter who works for the Miami-Dade police department and her husband is also a bailiff in Miami-Dade
criminal court. Her daughter is on the Board of Directors for the Police Benevolent Association and her husband is a member of the PBA Executive Committee.
According to the warrant, an undercover Miami-Dade detective posing as a defendant, met with Durand in regards to two traffic citations received in the City of Sweetwater. Durand reportedly told the undercover detective she would find out the name of the police officer who issued the citation and stated, “Sweetwater Police is a police department that’s listed with the PBA… and we know the PBA well.”
She revealed she had “friends” in Sweetwater Police Department and she would be given preferential treatment and the police officers would “forget” the case or the police officers would fail to appear in court, according to the warrant.
Durand faces up to 25 years in jail if convicted of all counts.