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BROWARD (CBSMiami) – A state judicial panel is recommending that suspended Broward County Judge Gisele Pollack be removed from the bench.
The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission has been investigating Pollack most recently after her arrest on DUI charges last May. Pollack, who admitted driving drunk and waging a decades long battle with alcohol, fought to keep her seat on the bench. However, the panel said, “By clear and convincing evidence, however, we find Judge Pollack presently unfit to remain on the bench. Her past actions simply pose an unacceptable future risk.”
The panel cited instances where Judge Pollack appeared drunk in court and left a treatment facility and drove drunk leading to the accident on May 1, 2014.
In their 28-page ruling, the panel commended Pollack’s “valiant battle against the insidious disease of alcoholism” and mentioned how she wrote and signed an undated resignation letter that would be provided to Florida’s governor if she ever drank again. She was also commended for her work in creating Florida’s first misdemeanor drug court.
Pollack’s lawyer, Eric Swartzreich, told CBS 4 News that it will be up to the Florida Supreme Court whether to accept or deny the panel’s finding.
“It’s a sad day for her and the people of Broward County,” said Schwartzreich, adding that Pollack still intends to assist people who struggle with substance abuse issues.
At a court hearing last year where Pollack accepted responsibility for the DUI her attorneys counseled her to plead no contest. She refused.
“I am going to plead guilty because I am guilty,” said suspended Judge Gisele Pollack. “I’m guilty of driving under the influence. I’m guilty of letting myself down. I’m guilty of letting the community down.”
Pollack who said she hadn’t had a drink for 19 years relapsed December 17, 2013 under personal pressure and was drunk on the bench. Then it happened again on March 19th. The accident led to her suspension and forced her into rehab.
“I am sober. I am healthy and I’m committed to never ever, ever drink again,” said Pollack.
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