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Alvarez to join law firm

Hillsborough's chief judge, whose courthouse was mired in controversy, confirms the move.

As expected, Hillsborough Chief Judge F. Dennis Alvarez will join the law firm of Barr, Murman, Tonelli and Sleet in July after he retires from the bench.

Alvarez, whose last year in the courthouse was rocked by judicial controversy, announced this month that he planned to step down after more than two decades as a judge.

In his last year as administrative boss, one judge stepped down amid sexual harassment allegations and another quit after revelations of an affair with a bailiff and improper involvement in a political campaign. Another judge was accused of breaking into a fellow judge's chambers.

A grand jury later said it wished Alvarez had taken a "more active role in preventing the embarrassment our justice system has suffered." The Judicial Qualifications Commission, which oversees the conduct of Florida judges, opened an investigation last fall of Alvarez's handling of the matters, but the outcome has never been released. His resignation effectively ends the investigation.

Alvarez said he plans to enjoy life away from the limelight for a while and will practice civil mediation and trial work. Future political plans are unclear.

"I'm going to enjoy being a private citizen," he said.

Alvarez said his family is thrilled.

"Like my little one said, "Now the media doesn't have to call dad at home every night,' " he said.