BY CAMMY CLARK
Judge David Audlin was serving as Monroe County’s chief circuit judge in late April when he announced via an open letter to friends and colleagues that he was retiring with four years left in his second six-year term.
The well-respected Audlin, 56, who was elected in 2006 and again in 2012, did not give a reason at the time for his sudden and unexpected departure from his $145,000-per-year judgeship with the 16th Judicial Circuit Court.
On Friday, his last day as a judge, Audlin said his voluntary decision was based on an “inappropriate invasion of my privacy.”
On Jan. 16, a blogger found a profile of Audlin on Manhunt, which bills itself as the world’s biggest gay hookup site with a slogan: Any guy. Any time. Anywhere. JAABlog posted the profile under the headline: “Let’s Get Sweaty.”
The next day, a website called Above the Law posted a story about the blog with the headline: “Judge’s Sex Ad Found on Internet Hookup Site.” While Audlin deleted his Manhunt profile, a screen grab of it is readily accessible now and likely indefinitely will be in cyberspace.
Audlin did nothing illegal. No one publicly has called for his ouster. And Audlin is not apologizing for the posting of the profile, which he said was made on a private website for people 18 and older and was supposed to remain private. He even used his real name in the profile, DavidKW, with the KW standing for Key West, his hometown for the past 30 years.
Audlin also said he has never tried to hide his sexuality. “I’ve been out since I was 23. And as an attorney and running as a judge, I never hid it. But I never made it an issue. It’s just part of who I am.”
But upon months of reflection, Audlin said he decided to return to private practice. “I’m looking forward to my constitutional rights being restored — my right to privacy and to be left alone in my private life.”