The Florida Supreme Court issued a reprimand against Broward Circuit Judge Cheryl Aleman for acting in an "arrogant" and unprofessional manner against defense counsel during the 2006 jury selection for accused Hollywood killer Lawrence Braynen.
Aleman, a Jeb Bush appointee, repeatedly refused to step down from the case at the request of defense lawyers Bruce Raticoff and Sandra Perlman, who was the campaign treasurer for Aleman's opponent, Robert Malove. On at least five occasions, Aleman made the defense lawyers file hand-written motions, with limited time or face contempt charges.
The Judicial Qualifications Committee found Aleman acted unprofessionally, and the Supreme Court agreed today, writing "Far from patient, dignified, or courteous, the JQC concluded that Judge Aleman’s undisputed conduct was “arrogant, discourteous, and impatient,” as well as “[in]adequate,” “improper,” “unacceptable,” and “unreasonable.”
Aleman has to appear before the court for a reprimand and pay for JQC investigative costs. She also has to deal with the ire of the lawyer-run blogosphere, which suggests this isn't an isolated case.
"The Florida Supreme Court recognizes the power of the judiciary and the importance of the judges to be reasonable and fair and they found she was anything but that," said Perlman. "It's a beautiful opinion. It emphasizes what Bruce Raticoff and I had to go through.... When you read it, you can sense what was happening. We're trying to defend a first-degree murder case and at the same time we have a judge who was not being reasonable and not being fair."