TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – The Florida Supreme Court has reprimanded a Miami-Dade County circuit judge who yelled at people in a courthouse lobby after they interrupted a trial he was conducting.
The written reprimand came after Judge David Miller entered into an agreement, known as a stipulation, with the state Judicial Qualifications Commission that acknowledged his conduct violated judicial canons.
The issue stemmed from a January 17th incident in which people gathered in a courthouse lobby after an investiture ceremony for Circuit Judge William Altfield.
Noise from the gathering interrupted a trial Miller was conducting. After a bailiff and court clerk could not quiet the people, Miller stepped down from the bench in his robe and went into the lobby, where witnesses said he yelled and waved his arms, according to court documents.
Miller also confronted a woman who was shaking her head and, in part, threatened to hold her in contempt.
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As it reprimanded Miller, the Supreme Court on Thursday also criticized the courthouse disruption.
“Although it by no means excuses Judge Miller’s conduct, we are constrained to observe that the circumstances presented in this case arose only because a loud crowd disrupted trial court proceedings and persisted in their noisemaking after extended efforts were made to bring quiet so that the trial could go on,” the unanimous Supreme Court decision said. “The lengthy disruption of that trial should never have occurred. Investiture ceremonies are significant events in the life of our courts, but they should not occasion the disruption of judicial business. The participation of judges or court staff in any such disruption of court proceedings is a matter of serious concern. Administrative measures should be taken to ensure that such problems do not recur.”
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