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The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

1st DCA Judge Charles Kahn reportedly nominated for federal magistrate vacancy

4

February

Buzz is that 1st District Court of Appeal Judge Charles J. Kahn Jr. has been nominated to fill a federal magistrate vacancy in Pensacola.

Former Florida State University President Talbot “Sandy’’ D’Alemberte told Buzz he was among those who agreed to be a reference for Kahn for the magistrate’s job. D’Alemberte said he understands Kahn’s nomination is currently being reviewed by the FBI. He said Kahn wants to move home to Pensacola to help take care of his aging mother.

Kahn would not comment. U.S. District Judge Lacey Collier, one of the judges who selected the nominee for the marshal’s job, refused to identify the nominee saying the name remains confidential until a background investigation is completed.

Kahn, 61, survived a Judicial Qualifications Commission investigation in 2006 after 13 of his fellow judges filed a complaint alleging that he was sexually harassing women who work for the clerk.
 
The JQC filed no formal charges against Kahn but did file charges of conduct unbecoming a judge against another judge at the court who questioned Kahn’s ethics in a case involving former Senate President W.D. Childers of Pensacola.

One of the women allegedly involved with Kahn, a deputy clerk, posted pictures she and Kahn took in a South Florida hotel room on computers at the court, an action that led to a complaint from a fellow employee who was dating the woman.
 
Kahn was appointed to the North Florida court in 1991 by then-Gov. Lawton Chiles. Kahn's court has been in the news lately for its decision to build a lavish $50 million courthouse near Tallahassee. He was on the building committee that completed what critics are calling a "Taj Mahal.''

Collier was chairman of a Pensacola maritime commission involved last year in a case at the 1st District Court that led Kahn and two other judges to rule that Florida citizens have no right to speak at public meetings.

The Florida Supreme Court upheld the controversial ruling in October. That decision has prompted at least one legislator to file a bill that would change the law ensuring the right to speak at public meetings.
 
Collier resigned from the Commission in late February last year, about two weeks after the district court heard oral arguments in the case. Collier said Friday he did not recall being involved in the court case and did not know that Kahn participated in the ruling.
 
-- Lucy Morgan, Times Senior Correspondent

[Last modified: Friday, February 4, 2011 3:50pm]

    

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