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Miami-Dade judge apologizes for saying she defeated 'nondescript Hispanic'

@DavidOvalle305

Miami-Dade Judge Jacqueline Schwartz is apologizing after rankling Cuban-American lawyers with her election-night comments about beating a "nondescript Hispanic."

"I fully understand my comments could readily been seen as offensive to the community, something I never intended and that pains me greatly," Schwartz wrote Saturday in a letter to the Cuban American Bar Association (CABA).

"I should have never issued the post-election statement that has, understandably, caused do much concern. I retract the statement completely."

The judge also said she will ask the courts to "participate" in judicial diversity training.

Earlier this month, the 12-year county court judge easily won reelection over lawyer Frank Bocanegra. Through her campaign manager, she told the Miami Herald that voters had "gone past the days when any nondescript Hispanic could go on the ballot and defeat any Anglo sitting judge."

Campaign strategists have long believed that candidates with Spanish surnames have an advantage in Hispanic majority Miami-Dade, particularly in judicial elections where campaigning is limited.

Afterward, CABA penned her a letter saying the "troubling" comment suggested that Hispanic judges are not elected on merit. Her words were "incompatible with your duties as a judge and with the dignity of judicial office."

Schwartz, who is assigned to the court in heavily Hispanic Hialeah, also met with CABA's board last week to apologize in person.

--DAVID OVALLE

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