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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – The Florida Supreme Court has approved a 30-day suspension without pay and a $10,000 fine for a Miami-Dade County judge who was accused of misconduct related to comments she made during an election campaign and her handling of notes in a court file.
Judge Jacqueline Schwartz will also be required to appear in front of the Supreme Court for a public reprimand, the court said in a unanimous ruling.
Schwartz and the state Judicial Qualifications Commission, which investigates judicial misconduct, initially agreed that her penalties should involve a public reprimand and a letter of apology. But the Supreme Court in April rejected that agreement, known as a stipulation, and called for the addition of a fine and a suspension. That led to the revised agreement approved Thursday.
One of the allegations involved a June 2014 incident in which Schwartz used profanity and threatened to sue a convenience-store owner who had declined to allow her to display a campaign sign at the store, the ruling said.
The other allegation involved notes that Schwartz wrote on scrap paper and on documents in a court file during the course of a case. One of the parties in the case reviewed the court file and photocopied Schwartz’s notes. The party then requested a certified copy of the pages, but Schwartz instructed her bailiff to remove the pages from the file, Thursday’s ruling said.
The missing pages were never found.
The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.