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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Court: Judge Allen deserves to be punished



First District Court of Appeal Judge Michael E. Allen deserves a public reprimand for criticizing the conduct of a fellow judge, says the Judicial Qualifications Commission which also dismissed two additional charges. It will be up to the Florida Supreme Court to decide what, if any action, is taken against Allen.

In a 23-page opinion, the JQC had strong praise for Allen as "an excellent, hard working judge, with an otherwise unblemished reputation who has rendered extraordinary service to the State of Florida.'' But his criticism of Judge Charles J. Kahn Jr. for participating in a case involving former Senate President W.D. Childers crossed the line and caused people to question the integrity and impartialty of the court, the JQC panel ruled.

In a highly unusual move, the panel also suggested that Kahn's own conduct as described by several witnesses at Allen's trial might deserve another look by JQC investigators.

Kahn was forced to resign as chief judge in 2007 and other judges discovered he was having an affair with a court clerk. At Allen's trial, Kahn admitted calling Fred Levin, a close friend of Childers to advise him of Allen's critical comments on the day the Childers opinion was released. Kahn was a Levin law partner when he was appointed to the court in 1991.

Bruce Rogow, the Fort Lauderdale lawyer who represents Allen, said he was disappointed at the recommendation for a reprimand but surprised 0Aand pleased that the panel had some nice things to say about the judge and that they raised questions about Kahn's conduct.

--Lucy Morgan, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:30am]


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