Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gov. Rick Scott weighs investigation of Supreme Court justices for misdemeanors

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott is considering calling for an investigation into whether three Supreme Court justices are guilty of a misdemeanor in their scramble to get papers filed last week in their merit retention races.

Rep. Scott Plakon, a Longwood Republican, had sent a letter to Scott on Thursday asking for the probe. The governor is evaluating whether to order the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate, according to the governor's staff.

Plakon cited media reports about the court's rare, hour-long break in the midst of redistricting arguments last week in which Justices Barbara Pariente, Peggy Quince and R. Fred Lewis scrambled to complete paperwork needed to be named on the November ballot.

Supreme Court justices and district court of appeal judges are not elected, but are appointed by the governor in Florida.

To keep them accountable to the public, the Florida Constitution requires them to appear on the ballot for a "yes or no" merit retention vote every six years.

Another state law prohibits candidates for public office from using the services of any government staff "in the furtherance of his or her candidacy" during working hours. Violators are guilty of a first-degree misdemeanor.

Dan Stengle, the lawyer working with the justices on their merit retention campaigns, said a "comedy of errors" led to the need to take a recess in the court hearing so that the justices could get their paperwork completed by the noon filing deadline. He denied that they violated the law.

Plakon disagrees and urged the governor to ask the FDLE to investigate.

Gov. Rick Scott weighs investigation of Supreme Court justices for misdemeanors 04/26/12 [Last modified: Thursday, April 26, 2012 11:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Nearly 1 in 4 Tampa Bay homeowners considered equity rich

    Real Estate

    If your home is worth at least 50 percent more than you owe, you're rich — equity rich that is.

    About one in four Tampa Bay homeowners are considered "equity rich." [Associated Press file photo]
  2. Trump strategist Steve Bannon: No military solution in North Korea


    BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon says there's no military solution to the threat posed by North Korea and its nuclear ambitions, despite the president's recent pledge to answer further aggression with "fire and fury."

    Steve Bannon, chief White House strategist to President Donald Trump, has drawn fire from some of Trump's closest advisers. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays have their chances, but end up with another loss (w/video)

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The litany of games the Rays have given away this season is long enough, arguably too lengthy. So the only way to get to the postseason is make up for some of those losses by grabbing some wins when the opportunity is presented, especially at this time of year when the margin is diminished and the stakes …

    Associated Press
  4. Dunedin man accused of possessing child pornography


    DUNEDIN — A 57-year-old man was arrested Wednesday, accused of intentionally downloading child pornography, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.

    Richard Beal Anger, 57, of Dunedin faces 11 counts of possession of child pornography. [Courtesy of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  5. Pence cuts short Latin America trip and pressures Chile to sever all ties to North Korea


    SANTIAGO, Chile — Vice President Mike Pence is cutting short his Latin America trip by one day to return to Washington for a strategy meeting Friday at Camp David with President Donald Trump and the national security team.

    Vice President Mike Pence urged Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to take a tougher stand against North Korea on Wednesday in Santiago, Chile.