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Cuban-American lawyers: 'Troubling' that Miami-Dade judge said she defeated 'nondescript Hispanic'


The Cuban American Bar Association is not happy with Miami-Dade County Judge Jacqueline Schwartz.

When Schwartz won reelection Tuesday over lawyer Frank Bocanegra, she issued a statement saying 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 Miami-Dade, particularly in judicial elections where campaigning is limited.

In a letter sent to her on Wednesday, the Cuban American Bar Association said "the statement is incompatible with your duties as a judge and with the dignity of judicial office."

Her "troubling" words suggest that "some or all of your Hispanic colleagues on the bench achieved their positions by virtue of a 'nondescript Hispanic name' and not because of their hard work, professionalism and other qualifications," CABA President Ricardo Martinez-Cid wrote.

The veteran judge's campaign was marked by another poor choice of words. Before the August primary, a Coconut Grove store clerk complained that the judge said "Go and f--- yourself" in a row over an opponent's campaign sign.

Bob Levy, the campaign manager who released the statement, declined to comment on CABA's letter. 

"The judge herself is back on the bench doing what the people of Miami-Dade County re-elected her to do," he wrote in an e-mail.

And she is assigned to the courthouse in Hialeah -- one of the most overwhelmingly Hispanic cities in Miami-Dade.