Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough judge is reprimanded by Florida Supreme Court

TALLAHASSEE -- His tie red, white and blue and his back military straight, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Gregory Holder stood before the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday and accepted a reprimand for his advocacy on behalf of a veteran in his court.

In a case that raised questions about the role of a judge in a court that emphasizes treatment over punishment, Holder was accused of crossing the line on behalf of Clay Allred, then a troubled former U.S. Army Green Beret who behaved bizarrely and fired a gun in the air at a Tampa convenience store in 2014.

After Allred avoided prison as part of Veterans Treatment Court - a special court for people with mental health or substance abuse issues related to their military service - the judge lobbied hard to get him accepted back at the University of South Florida and advocated against a formal finding of guilt on his record.

And that crossed the line, according to the Judicial Qualifications Commission.

"Whatever feelings you harbor for Mr. Allred, you went far beyond" the canons that govern judicial conduct, Chief Justice Jorge LaBarga told the judge in a somber hearing that lasted less than ten minutes.

Holder, 62, did not speak at the disciplinary hearing, as is custom. In the front row behind him sat more than a dozen people there to support him, many of them retired or active military men who are volunteer mentors to veterans in his court.

And a few rows back was a bespectacled man who had just driven in from Jacksonville and had to get back to class - Allred, the veteran for whom Holder got into hot water.

"I couldn't see myself not coming to this," said Allred, who is finishing up an IT degree and said he got all A's last semester.

Holder, who has been on the bench for more than two decades, agreed to Wednesday's disciplinary proceeding. Afterward, he said he hoped the rules governing judges would be updated to reflect the mission of a court in which judicial interaction is considered "essential."

"I'm glad it's over so I can get back to work serving the veterans," he said.

Sue Carlton can be reached at carlton@tampabay.com.

Hillsborough judge is reprimanded by Florida Supreme Court 08/31/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 31, 2016 1:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Minors also a training ground for umpires with big-league dreams

    The Heater

    Umpire Tom Fornarola, 23, left, and Taylor Payne, 24, facing, talk before the start of the Gulf Coast League game between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers at the Tigertown complex in Lakeland, Fla. on Wednesday, July 5, 2017.
  2. In Florida, nation's only lightning center closes after DARPA cuts funding

    Environment

    University of Florida professor Martin Uman usually spends much of this summer at an old Army base about an hour northeast of Gainesville, shooting rockets at thunderclouds, then measuring the bright flashes of lightning that followed.

    Rocket-and-wire triggered lightning at the University of Florida's International Center for Lightning Research and Testing, which recently lost federal funding. A rocket trailing a grounded wire is launched toward an active thunderstorm at the ICLRT. One launch is from a tower, one from ground. When the wire is about as high as the Empire State Building, lightning is induced to strike the top of the wire, much as it strikes tall objects like the ESB. Interestingly, the cloud charge source is about 3 miles high, so a 300 yard-long wire can cause a 3 mile or more long lightning.  After that, there are several normal tortuous strokes ( downward leaders from the cloud charge/upward return strokes) which can be seen as the wind blows the individual strokes to the right. The time between strokes is about 50 thousands of a second. Between some strokes, continuing current can be seen. Continuing current is what generally starts forest fires. [Photo by Dr. Dustin Hill]
  3. Editorial: Reasonable clarity on gambling in Florida

    Editorials

    Gambling expansion strategies — and misfires — are nearly an annual ritual in Florida. There were the eight counties that voted to allow slot machines but were blocked by the Florida Supreme Court. There was the governor's $3 billion deal with the Seminole Tribe in 2015 that was never approved by the …

    Gov. Rick Scott agreed to a much simpler deal with the Seminole Tribe that embraces the status quo instead of expansion. And that’s a good thing.
  4. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]
  5. Editorial: Hillsborough smartly embraces diversion program for youths

    Editorials

    Children who commit minor crimes can pay for their mistakes for a lifetime — losing a chance to attend college, join the military or obtain credit and a good job. That is unjust to the individuals and a burdensome cost to society, and Hillsborough County is taking the right new approach by giving some juveniles a …

    Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren has announced an agreement between law enforcement agencies and the courts that will allow first-time offenders who commit nonviolent crimes as juveniles to be issued civil citations rather than face an arrest and prosecution.