Friday, December 2, 2011

Repeatedly Kissing Co-Worker, Representing Mom In F'closure After Stiffing Her On Illegal Campaign Loan Among Antics Meriting Pink Slip For Judge

In Tallahassee, Florida, Florida Today reports:

  • The state Supreme Court removed a central Florida judge from the bench [], ruling that he was unfit to hold office because of a pattern of unethical and illegal conduct.

  • One of the high court’s findings was that Circuit Judge N. James Turner of Osceola County repeatedly hugged and kissed a female court worker, Heather Shelby, without her permission.

  • Turner became involved in her personal life by asking to visit her home and her son in the hospital, as well as inviting her to lunch and to his office for a personal discussion while he was dressed in a T-shirt and shorts, the justices said in an unsigned unanimous opinion.

  • Judge Turner refused to take no for an answer on several occasions,” the justices wrote. "Moreover, Judge Turner’s interest in Ms. Shelby was well known throughout the court, causing Ms. Shelby extreme embarrassment and requiring changes to her professional life.”

  • The high court also found Turner violated judicial ethics by representing his mother in a foreclosure case while a sitting judge and the state’s campaign finance law by accepting and failing to report a $30,000 campaign loan from her.(1) The loan violated a $500 contribution limit.

For more, see State Supreme Court removes Osceola judge (Justices: Turner unfit for office due to unethical, illegal conduct).

For the Florida Supreme Court ruling, see In Re Inquiry Concerning A Judge Turner, No. SC09-1182 (Fla. November 18, 2011).

(1) It is interesting to note that the $30,000 loaned to Turner came as a result of him talking his presumably elderly mother into refinancing her condo in Miami-Dade County, Florida, enabling him to get his hands on the cash needed to help him pay off the outstanding campaign debt he incurred in his successful run for his seat on the Osceola County bench (In Re Inquiry Concerning A Judge Turner, Count 7). It was this refinanced mortgage that his mother had subsequently become unable to repay that drew Turner into his ill-advised representation of her in the associated foreclosure action (In Re Inquiry Concerning A Judge Turner, Counts 8-9).

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