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VIA U.P.S. No.

1Z64589FP298545124 September 5, 2013


Brooke S. Kennerly, Executive Director
Michael Schneider, General Counsel
J udicial Qualifications Commission - J QC
1110 Thomasville Road
Tallahassee, FL 32303-6224
RE: Re: Complaint No. 10395, J udge Cook, and the August 30, 2013 letter response of
Brooke S. Kennerly, J QC Executive Director, copy enclosed.
Dear Ms. Kennerly and Mr. Schneider:
The letter response of Ms. Kennerly August 30, 2013 shows conduct involving dishonesty,
fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, and
conduct to knowingly assist a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of applicable
rules of judicial conduct or other law.
Apparently that is why Ms. Kennerly responded to my complaint against Martha J ean Cook
rather than J QC counsel Mr. Schneider, which conduct would have subjected him as a lawyer to
a bar complaint for violation of Rule 4-8.4(c), (d), and (f).
Ms. Kennerlys letter is wrongly captioned: Re: Complaint No. 10395, J udge Cook. That
complaint number does not match any complaint I know of concerning Martha J ean Cook.
Ms. Kennerlys letter to me August 30, 2013 states in substance:
We have received your complaint correspondence dated August 21, 2013. A review of
our records indicates the Commission dealt with your complaint and advised, on
November 23, 2010, that your concerns involve legal matters that have remedy solely
through the courts. There is nothing contained in your present correspondence that would
cause the Commission to revisit its earlier disposition of the matter.
Ms. Kennerlys written statement is false: No one from the J QC ...advised, on November 23,
2010, that your concerns involve legal matters that have remedy solely through the courts...
The Commission did not provide me a letter or other advice November 23, 2013 that [my]
concerns involve legal matters that have remedy solely through the courts. Ms. Kennerlys
assertion is false. If not, provide a copy of the document Ms. Kennerly referenced.
Ms. Kennerly made this false statement: There is nothing contained in your present
correspondence that would cause the Commission to revisit its earlier disposition of the matter.
Specifically I raised a new issue, Martha Cooks failure to properly respond to my spoken
motions to disqualify her as judge, and Cooks failure provide a reasonable amount of time to
reduce the motion to writing as required by Rogers v. State, 630 So. 2d 513 (Fla. 1993).
Brooke S. Kennerly, Executive Director September 5, 2013
Michael Schneider, General Counsel
Florida J udicial Qualifications Commission
Page - 2
The J QC and the Supreme Court of Florida upheld Rogers in SC07-198 September 29, 2008, see
Inquiry Concerning a J udge, No. 06-52, RE: Cheryl Aleman, copy enclosed. I am a non-lawyer
and only learned of Rogers and is application to the Cheryl Aleman inquiry last month.
Ms. Kennerly, your decision announced August 30, 2013 that my complaint against Martha J ean
Cook involves legal matters that have remedy solely through the courts is a new decision, not
one previously made by the J QC. Unless you are licensed to practice law in Florida, you may
have engaged in the Unlicensed Practice of Law (UPL), Rule 10-2.1(a). Also, you are not free to
create a false record to dismiss my complaint made August 21, 2013 against Martha J ean Cook.
The J udicial Qualifications Commission of Florida is an independent agency created by the
Florida Constitution solely to investigate alleged misconduct by Florida state judges in a fair and
unbiased manner without favoritism, extortion, improper influence, personal self-enrichment,
self-dealing, concealment, and conflict of interest.
Authority for The J udicial Qualifications Commission is found in the Florida Constitution,
Article V J udiciary, Section 12 Discipline; removal and retirement, and section 43.20 Florida
Statutes, J udicial Qualifications Commission:
43.20(1) PURPOSE.The purpose of this section is to implement s. 12(b), Art. V of the
State Constitution which provides for a J udicial Qualifications Commission.
Brooke S. Kennerly is the Executive Director of the J udicial Qualifications Commission, and is
by virtue of that position of trust an officer and employee of state government, responsible for
lawfully performing and discharging her duties without bias, favoritism, extortion, improper
influence, personal self enrichment, self-dealing, concealment, conflict of interest, or the
Unlicensed Practice of Law.
Unfortunately Brooke S. Kennerly engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or
misrepresentation as the Executive Director of the J udicial Qualifications Commission.
The J QCs letter to me August 30, 2013, sent through the U.S. mail, shows Ms. Kennerly used
the mail to carry out a scheme or artifice to defraud another, 18 U.S.C. 1341, of the
intangible right of honest services. 18 U.S.C. 1346.
Ms. Kennerly corruptly and knowingly assisted a judge or judicial officer, Martha J ean Cook, in
conduct that is a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct or other law.
Thus, Brooke S. Kennerly failed to lawfully perform and discharge her duties. Instead, Brooke S.
Kennerly engaged in fraud or impairment of a legitimate government activity.
Brooke S. Kennerly, Executive Director September 5, 2013
Michael Schneider, General Counsel Page - 3
Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission
Ms. Kennerly, I demand you withdrawal your letter of August 30, 2013 and lawfully perform
and discharge your duties. In addition to and in the alternative, I demand you correct your letter
to reflect the actual case number and factual record. I demand you identify the basis of your
opinion, order, decree, mandate, or decision as JQC Executive Director that my complaint
against Martha Jean Cook involves "legal matters that have renledy solely through the courts".
I demand you provide evidence showing you are licensed to practice law in Florida, if you are in
fact licensed.
Under penalty of perjury, I declare that I have examined and understand this complaint and
to the best of my knowledge and belief, the above information is true, correct and complete and
submitted of my own free will.
Telephone: (352) 854-7807
Email: neilgillespie@mfi.net
Enclosures: Letter of Brooke S. Kennerly, August 30, 2013 to Neil J. Gillespie
Order SC07-198 JQC Inquiry of Cheryl Aleman
My complaint letter against Martha Jean Cook August 21, 2013 (letter only)
STATE OF FLORIDA
HON . ..J. PRESTON SILVERNAIL
CHAIR
QUALIFICATIONS COMMISSION
BROOKE S. KENNERLY
I I 10 THOMASVILLE ROAD
EXECLmVE DIRECTOR
TALLAHASSEE. FLORIDA 32303-6224
MICHAEL L. SCHNEIDER (850) 488- I 58 I
GENERAL COUNSEL
August 3D, 2013
Neil J. Gillespie
8092 SW 115
th
Loop
Ocala, FL 34481
Re: Complaint No. 10395, Judge Cook
Dear Mr. Gillespie:
We have received your complaint correspondence dated August 21, 2013.
Areview of our records indicates the Commission dealt with your complaint and
advised, on November 23,2010, that your concerns involve legal matters that
have remedy solely through the courts. There is nothing contained in your
present correspondence that would cause the Commission to revisit its earlier
disposition of the matter.
Sincerely yours,

Brooke S. Kennerly
Executive Director
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STATE OF FLORIDA
JUDICIAL QUALIFICATIONS COMMISSION
1110 THOMASVILLE ROAD
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA 32303-6224
Neil J. Gillespie
8092 SW 115
th
Loop
Ocala, FL 34481

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VIA U.P.S. No. 1Z64589FP290041183 August 21, 2013
Brooke S. Kennerly, Executive Director
Michael Schneider, General Counsel
J udicial Qualifications Commission - J QC
1110 Thomasville Road
Tallahassee, FL 32303-6224
RE: Complaint against J udge Martha J ean Cook, Hillsborough County, Florida
Dear Ms. Kennerly and Mr. Schneider:
Please find enclosed my signed J QC complaint form and supporting documents in my complaint
against J udge Martha J ean Cook. My complaint shows the existence of judicial misconduct and
disability by J udge Cook as defined by the Constitution and the laws of the State of Florida.
J udge Cooks misconduct occurred September 28, 2010 in her courtroom during a 11:00 AM
hearing. I appeared pro se for myself. Opposing counsel was Ryan Christopher Rodems.
The record shows I made three spoken motions to disqualify J udge Cook. The record shows that
J udge Cook failed to properly respond and provide a reasonable amount of time to reduce the
motion to writing as required by Rogers v. State, 630 So. 2d 513 (Fla. 1993). My spoken motions
to disqualify J udge Cook were as follows:
Transcript September 28, 2010, page 3:
16 MR. GILLESPIE: Your Honor, this morning I
17 filed a federal lawsuit against you. I have a
18 complaint here if you would like to read it. I
19 move to disqualify you.
20 THE COURT: Your motion to disqualify
22 based on a federal lawsuit is legally insufficient
23 and is denied.
Transcript September 28, 2010, page 4:
1 MR. GILLESPIE: I move to disqualify you
2 on the basis that I have a financial
3 relationship with your husband.
4 THE COURT: All right. Your motion to
5 disqualify me on that basis is denied.
6 MR. GILLESPIE: I move to disqualify
7 you - -
8 THE COURT: Sir - -
9 MR. GILLESPIE: on the basis of an
10 affidavit that you made misrepresentations at
Brooke S. Kennerly, Executive Director August 21, 2013
Michael Schneider, General Counsel
Florida J udicial Qualifications Commission
Page - 2
11 the last hearing about whether or not I was - -
12 THE COURT: Sir, file a written motion.
13 I'm not going to allow you to disrupt these
14 proceedings again. The last proceedings you
15 feigned illness. You left this courtroom - -
16 MR. GILLESPIE: No, I did not feign
17 illness.
Clearly J udge Cook recognized the need for me to file a written motion (line 12) but she failed
to provide me a reasonable opportunity to write and file the motion.
When a motion to disqualify a judge occurs mid-trial or mid-hearing, the trial court must give
counsel a reasonable opportunity to write and file the motion. Rogers, 630 So. 2d at 516.
The J QC and the Supreme Court of Florida upheld Rogers in SC07-198 September 29, 2008, see
Inquiry Concerning a J udge, No. 06-52, RE: Cheryl Aleman. A copy of SC07-198 is enclosed.
J udge Cook did not stop the proceedings and provide me a reasonable opportunity to write and
file the motion to disqualify. A copy of the transcript of the hearing with errata sheet is enclosed.
J udge Cooks misconduct was extremely prejudicial to justice. First, I had just informed J udge
Cook that she was a Defendant in Gillespie v. Thirteenth J udicial Circuit, FL, et al, 5:10-cv-503,
U.S. District Court, M.D.Fla, Ocala Div. This was a section 1983 civil rights and ADA disability
lawsuit. I provided J udge Cook a courtesy copy of the Complaint.
Second, instead of providing me a reasonable opportunity to write and file the motion to
disqualify, J udge Cook ordered me removed from court by Deputy Christopher E. Brown, then
falsely made a record that I elected to leave the hearing. Fortunately Deputy Brown told his
Commander, Major J ames Livingston, that J udge Cook ordered me removed from the hearing.
Major Livingston provided me a letter dated J anuary 12, 2011 with Deputy Browns statement,
which is found attached to the errata sheet to the transcript of the hearing September 28, 2010.
Third, the transcript shows two additional hearings continued ex parte without my presence, and
without counsel representing me. The transcript shows Defendants Motion for Final Summary
Judgment was heard ex parte, pages 5-16. The transcript shows Defendants Motion for Civil
Contempt and Writ of Bodily Attachment was heard ex parte, pages 17-25. Both motions were
granted in favor of Mr. Rodems for the Defendants, Rodems law firm and partner Mr. Cook.
Ultimately I made five written motions to disqualify J udge Cook; she denied the five motions.
1. Plaintiffs Motion To Disqualify Circuit J udge Martha J . Cook, J une 14, 2010
Order Denying Motion To Disqualify Circuit Court J udge Martha J . Cook, J une 16, 2010.
Brooke S. Kennerly, Executive Director August 21, 2013
Michael Schneider, General Counsel
Florida J udicial Qualifications Commission
Page - 3
2. Plaintiffs Motion To Disqualify J udge Martha J . Cook, J uly 23, 2010
Order Denying Motion To Disqualify Circuit Court J udge Martha J . Cook, J uly 27, 2010.
3. Emergency Motion To Disqualify J udge Martha J . Cook, November 1, 2010 with
Plaintiffs Notice of Filing Affidavits.
Order Denying Emergency Motion To Disqualify J udge Cook, November 2, 2010.
4. Plaintiff's 4th Motion To Disqualify J udge Martha J . Cook, November 10, 2010.
Order Denying Plaintiffs 4th Motion To Disqualify J udge Martha J . Cook, Nov-15, 2010.
5. Plaintiff's 5th Motion To Disqualify J udge Martha 1. Cook, November 10, 2010.
Order Denying Plaintiff's 5th Motion To Disqualify J udge Martha J . Cook, Nov-15 2010.
On November 18, 2010 I sought removal of trial J udge Cook by writ of prohibition in the
Second District Court of Appeal, case 2D10-5529, see Verified Emergency Petition for Writ of
Prohibition, Motion for Order of Protection. A copy of the 37 page petition is enclosed, without
exhibits. The full petition containing 763 pages with supporting exhibits, including the five
motions to disqualify, and orders denying same, is posted on Scribd at this URL:
http://www.scribd.com/collections/3852902/Second-District-Court-of-Appeal-Florida
J udge Cook recused sua sponte the same day, November 18, 2010, copy enclosed.
J udge Cooks recusal sua sponte, albeit 52 days late, is conclusive proof that my spoken motions
September 28, 2010 were justified. A judge has a duty to remain on a case assigned to him or her
unless he or she is legally disqualified. State ex rel. Palmer v. Atkinson, 116 Fla. 366, 156 So.
726, 96 AL.R. 539 (1934); Micale v. Polen, 487 So. 2d 1126 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 4th Dist. 1986).
Conclusion
The Thirteenth J udicial Circuit in and for the state of Florida is a court created by statute to
administer, apply, and interpret the laws of the state of Florida in a fair and unbiased manner
without favoritism, extortion, improper influence, personal self-enrichment, self-dealing,
concealment, and conflict of interest.
Martha J ean Cook is an elected State Circuit Court J udge for the Thirteenth J udicial Circuit, and
was by virtue of that position of trust an officer and employee of state government, responsible
for lawfully performing and discharging her duties without bias, favoritism, extortion, improper
influence, personal self enrichment, self-dealing, concealment, and conflict of interest.
Brooke S. Kennerly, Executive Director
August 21,2013
Michael Schneider, General Counsel
Page - 4
Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission
When a motion to disqualify a judge occurs "mid-trial or mid-hearing," the trial court must give
counsel a "reasonable opportunity" to write and file the motion. Rogers, 630 So. 2d at 516. Judge
Cook failed September 28, 2010 to provide me a "reasonable opportunity" to write and file the
motion. Instead, Cook corruptly entered orders that harmed me, and benefited opposing counsel.
Judge Cook continued presiding over the case for another 52 days until she recused sua sponte
November 18, 2010, which was the same day I filed a petition for writ of prohibition to remove
her from the case. During those 52 days, Judge Cook engaged in addition breach of the Code of
Judicial Conduct, and the Constitution and laws of the. state of Florida, and the United States.
Unfortunately Martha Jean Cook failed to lawfully perform and discharge her duties.
Martha Jean Cook must be removed from office.
Under penalty of perjury, I declare that I have examined and understand this complaint and
to the best of my knowledge and belief, the above information is true, correct and complete and
submitted of my own free will.
Enclosures:
JQC complaint form
Transcript of the September 28, 2010 hearing
Errata Sheet of Neil J. Gillespie, Transcript of the September 28, 2010 hearing
Order SC07-198 JQC inquiry Cheryl Aleman
Second District Court of Appeal, case 2DI0-5529, Verified Emergency Petitionfor Writ of
Prohibition, Motion for Order ofProtection, November 18, 2010.
Sua Sponte Order to Recuse Assigned Judge Martha Cook, November 18, 2010.
Supreme Court of Florida
____________

No. SC07-198
____________


INQUIRY CONCERNING A JUDGE, NO. 06-52,
RE: CHERYL ALEMAN.

[September 29, 2008]

PER CURIAM.
In this case we review the determination by the J udicial Qualifications
Commission (J QC) that Seventeenth J udicial Circuit J udge Cheryl Aleman
violated the Code of J udicial Conduct and its recommendation that J udge Aleman
be publicly reprimanded and charged the costs of investigation and prosecution.
For the reasons discussed below, we approve the J QCs determination and
recommendation.
I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The charges stem from J udge Alemans behavior in response to three
motions to disqualify her made by Assistant Public Defenders Sandra Perlman and
Bruce Raticoff on J anuary 24, 2006, the second day of jury selection in State v.
Braynen, a first-degree murder case.
1
On the morning of J anuary 24, Perlman
sought to disqualify J udge Aleman based on what Perlman perceived to be J udge
Alemans aggressive and intimidating questioning of prospective jurors during voir
dire the previous afternoon. Because the motion was oral, Perlman requested a
reasonable amount of time to reduce the motion to writing as required by Rogers v.
State, 630 So. 2d 513 (Fla. 1993).
2
J udge Aleman denied the request for
additional time and immediately denied the motion on its merits.
The second motion to disqualify related to J udge Alemans allegedly
preferential treatment of Assistant State Attorney Peter Holden. J udge Aleman had
granted Holden a fifteen-minute delay in the start of the afternoon proceedings
while denying a similar request from Perlman. When Perlman requested at least
an hour to reduce this second oral motion to writing, J udge Aleman responded

1. Prior to trial, defense counsel filed two motions to disqualify J udge
Aleman. Perlman first moved to disqualify J udge Aleman because Ms. Perlman
supported J udge Alemans opponent in the 2004 election. J udge Aleman denied
the motion, and the Fourth District affirmed this ruling on appeal. See Braynen v.
State, 895 So. 2d 1169 (Fla. 4th DCA 2005). The defense then sought review of
the Fourth Districts decision in this Court and moved to stay the trial proceedings.
J udge Aleman denied the motion to stay and instructed Ms. Perlman to prepare an
order reflecting this ruling. When Ms. Perlman handed the proposed order to
J udge Aleman, J udge Aleman ripped it up and wrote her own. This led to the
second motion to disqualify, which J udge Aleman likewise denied. However,
these first two motions to disqualify were not the basis for the J QC investigation.
2. When a motion to disqualify a judge occurs mid-trial or mid-hearing,
the trial court must give counsel a reasonable opportunity to write and file the
motion. Rogers, 630 So. 2d at 516.
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that the court would be in recess for five minutes. During this time, J udge Aleman
conferred with another jurist, who suggested that defense counsel be given a pad of
paper and a pen to prepare a written motion. When the proceeding resumed at 2:20
p.m., J udge Aleman did just that; she gave Perlman paper and pen and stated that,
if defense counsel subsequently wished to substitute a typed motion, she would
allow it. But rather than giving counsel an hour, J udge Aleman gave the defense
attorneys fifteen minutes to transcribe the motion, stating that the court would
adjourn until 2:35 p.m.
Intending to research and type the motion, Perlman and Raticoff left the
courtroom to return to their office. In their haste, they ran past a number of
prospective jurors who were sitting and standing in the hallway. At 2:42 p.m.,
when the proceeding reconvened, neither assistant public defender was in the
courtroom. J udge Aleman took a recess until defense counsel returned.
By 2:48 p.m., Raticoff had returned, but Perlman had not. At that point,
J udge Aleman mentioned the prospect of holding both public defenders in
contempt:
The Court: The Courts go[ing] to issue a rule to show cause, and
well hold this in abeyance until conclusion of the trial. The Court
had [given] counsel 15 additional minutes to handwrite a motion,
provided a paper and pen for counsel to do so, and when the Court
returned back neither Defense Counsel was here, and now its 2:49
and were still missing one of defense counsel.

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Again, good grounds for the rule to show cause is failure to
abide by the Courts order with respect, and well hold that in
abeyance until the concluding of the proceeding.

Mr. Raticoff: J udge, just so the record

The Court: Directly to both Counsel, Mr. Raticoff and Ms. Perlman.
And well be in recess until Ms. Perlman arrives.

Upon returning to the courtroom at 2:57 p.m., Perlman inquired into the status of
the contempt charge. There was some confusion as to whether J udge Aleman
actually issued the order to show cause. At first, J udge Aleman suggested that she
did not. Upon further inquiry by defense counsel, however, J udge Aleman
indicated that she had, in fact, issued the order.
Raticoff then moved to withdraw from the case, citing the conflict between
defending his client on one hand and defending himself on the other. In addition,
Raticoff expressed his concern that he would not be able to represent Braynen
effectively. J udge Aleman denied the motion, finding no reason to believe that the
defendant had not received effective assistance of counsel. J udge Aleman
eventually denied the second motion to disqualify, finding it legally insufficient.
J udge Alemans order to show cause triggered defense counsels third
motion to disqualify. Again, Perlman requested a reasonable time to reduce the
motion to writing, and again J udge Aleman granted fifteen minutes. When
Perlman objected, reminding J udge Aleman that fifteen minutes was previously
insufficient, J udge Aleman instead granted twelve minutes. Once again, Perlman
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objected, and J udge Aleman eventually gave defense counsel twenty-two minutes
to prepare the written motion.
This time, when the court reconvened, both Public Defenders were
presentbut the motion was not. Afraid to violate the courts order, Perlman had
returned to the courtroom without finishing the motion and requested an additional
five minutes to do so. J udge Aleman expressed her concern for the jurors who had
been sitting in the hallway since 1:30 p.m., but agreed. When presented with this
third motion, J udge Aleman denied it as well.
The next day, when Raticoff asked J udge Aleman to reconsider or vacate her
order to show cause, J udge Aleman declined to hold a hearing on the matter,
stating instead that I believe everyone is entitled to due process. Ultimately,
J udge Aleman never issued a written order to show cause, and the issue of
contempt was never acted upon.
Based on these events, an Investigative Panel of the J QC charged J udge
Aleman with violating Canons 1, 2A and 3B(4) of the Code of J udicial Conduct.
A Hearing Panel of the J QC heard testimony from several witnesses, including
Public Defenders Perlman and Raticoff, Assistant State Attorney Holden, and
J udge Aleman. The J QC concluded that:
J udge Alemans conduct involving her denial of the motions for
disqualifications [sic] without giving counsel a reasonable time to
prepare the motions in writing and in threatening contempt by
announcing entry of an order to show cause and then refusing to
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vacate the order to show cause constituted conduct which was
arrogant, discourteous, and impatient to the lawyers appearing before
her and others appearing in the Braynen case. . . . She acted in a
manner that erodes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality
of the judiciary.

More specifically, the J QC Hearing Panel found that J udge Aleman did not give
the Public Defender adequate time to prepare [the first] motion in writing before
denying it, it was . . . improper to have the lawyers in the case run up and down
in front of the prospective jurors in order to avoid being held in contempt, [t]he
order to show cause which was never reduced to writing and which was never
acted upon caused conflicts and further delays, the time limits imposed by J udge
Aleman were unreasonable under all of the circumstances, and [f]orcing an
attorney to prepare a handwritten motion for disqualification of a judge within 15
minutes or within 22 minutes was improper in the context of this first-degree
murder case in which the death penalty was being sought.
As a result, the J QC Hearing Panel found by a two-thirds vote that J udge
Aleman was guilty of misconduct and recommended that J udge Aleman be
publicly reprimanded and charged the costs of the investigation.
II. ANALYSIS
J udge Aleman disputes the J QCs findings, arguing: (a) the J QCs findings
are not supported by clear and convincing evidence; and (b) rather than requiring
her to pay the costs of the investigation, the J QC should pay her costs because
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J udge Aleman was the prevailing party.
3
We conclude that each argument lacks
merit.
A. Clear and Convincing Evidence
First, J udge Aleman argues that there is no clear and convincing evidence to
support the J QCs conclusion that her conduct was unreasonable or that she
threatened the public defenders with contempt. To the contrary, we find that
sufficient evidence supports the J QCs conclusion in both respects.
The Florida Constitution vests this Court with the ultimate decision in
determining what constitutes judicial misconduct. Specifically, article V, section
12(c)(1) provides that [t]he supreme court may accept, reject, or modify in whole
or in part the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the [judicial
qualifications] commission and it may order that the justice or judge be subjected
to appropriate discipline. In In re Graziano, 696 So. 2d 744, 753 (Fla. 1997), we
described how we review the J QCs findings of fact:
Before reporting findings of fact to this Court, the J QC must conclude
that they are established by clear and convincing evidence. In re
McAllister, 646 So. 2d 173, 177 (Fla. 1994). This Court must then
review the findings and determine whether they meet this quantum of
proof, a standard which requires more proof than a preponderance of
the evidence but the less than beyond and to the exclusion of a
reasonable doubt. In re Davey, 645 So. 2d 398, 404 (Fla. 1994). If
the findings meet this intermediate standard, then they are of

3. J udge Aleman also argues that the J QC does not have jurisdiction over
her conduct in Braynen. We disagree. See art. V, 12(a)(1), Fla. Const.
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persuasive force and are given great weight by this Court. See In re
LaMotte, 341 So. 2d 513, 516 (Fla. 1977). This is so because the J QC
is in a position to evaluate the testimony and evidence first-hand. See
In re Crowell, 379 So. 2d 107 (Fla. 1979). However, the ultimate
power and responsibility in making a determination rests with this
Court. Id.

Furthermore, this Court has relied upon the clear and convincing evidence
standard without distinguishing findings of fact from whether the facts as found
warrant particular discipline. In re Henson, 913 So. 2d 579, 589 (Fla. 2005)
(citing In re Kinsey, 842 So. 2d 77, 85 (Fla. 2003)).
Based on generally undisputed facts, the J QC concluded that J udge
Alemans conduct violated Canons 1, 2A, and 3B(4) of the Code of J udicial
Conduct.
4
J udge Aleman admits, and the Braynen transcript reflects, the facts
upon which the J QC relied in making its decision.
5
Far from patient, dignified, or

4. Canon 1 provides, in pertinent part, that judges should participate in
establishing, maintaining, and enforcing high standards of conduct, and shall
personally observe those standards so that the integrity and independence of the
judiciary may be preserved. Canon 2A provides that judges shall respect and
comply with the law and shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public
confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. Canon 3B(4)
provides that judges shall be patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants, jurors,
witnesses, lawyers, and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity,
and shall require similar conduct of lawyers, and of staff, court officials, and others
subject to the judges direction and control.
5. J udge Aleman disputes one aspect of the J QCs findings: that she
threatened contempt by announcing entry of an order to show cause and then
refusing to vacate the order to show cause. J udge Aleman argues that she never
actually entered a written order, but only stated her intention to do so at a later
date, and thus there was no order to vacate. Indeed, the J QCs findings are
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courteous, the J QC concluded that J udge Alemans undisputed conduct was
arrogant, discourteous, and impatient, as well as [in]adequate, improper,
unacceptable, and unreasonable.
We find that clear and convincing evidence supports the J QCs findings of
fact as well as its conclusion that J udge Aleman violated Canons 1, 2A, and 3B(4).
We agree with the J QCs conclusion that, with respect to the time limitations,
forcing an attorney to prepare a handwritten motion for disqualification of a judge
within 15 minutes or within 22 minutes was improper in the context of this first
degree murder case in which the death penalty was being sought. This is true
particularly in light of our decision in Rogers, which entitles counsel to a
reasonable amount of time to prepare a written motion. By imposing unreasonably
strict time limits, J udge Aleman forced defense counsel to decide between
diligently representing their client and abiding by the courts order. Such conduct
is improper.

somewhat unclear on this point. In addition to the language quoted above, the
J QC, in a section entitled The Threat of Contempt, seemed to espouse J udge
Alemans version of the events, stating: The basis for the order to show cause
which was never reduced to writing, was that the attorneys were late in returning
with the written motion which they had been given 15 minutes to prepare.
(emphasis provided). The difference, though, is largely semantic. The thrust of
the J QCs finding was that the specter of contempt loomed over the public
defenders, and this remained true whether J udge Aleman entered a written order or
merely stated an intention to do so.
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In addition, J udge Alemans use or threat to use her contempt power is even
more unsettling. A judges power of contempt must be exercised with care. This
Court has stated that:
[O]ne of the most important and essential powers of a court is the
authority to protect itself against those who disregard its dignity and
authority or disobey its orders. This authority is appropriately
administered through a courts power to punish by contempt. South
Dade Farms, Inc. v. Peters, 88 So. 2d 891 (Fla. 1956). Nevertheless,
although the power of contempt is an extremely important power for
the judiciary, it is also a very awesome power and is one that should
never be abused.

In re Perry, 641 So. 2d 366, 368 (Fla. 1994). A judges abuse of contempt powers
has, on several occasions, resulted in discipline. See id. at 366-68 (reprimanding a
judge for holding six defendants in contempt for driving away from courthouse
with suspended licenses, for which one defendant spent twenty-six days in jail);
see also In re Shea, 759 So. 2d 631, 632 (Fla. 2000) (imposing discipline for,
among other things, entering an order to show cause after a litigant sent a letter to
the Governor complaining of J udge Sheas handling of a support case); In re
Wright, 694 So. 2d 734, 735 (Fla. 1997) (reprimanding a judge for, among other
things, threatening a prosecutor by stating if you talk any more[,] its an Order
that you dont open your mouth anymore until I invite you to do so, and if you do
Im gonna hold you in contempt); In re Muszynski, 471 So. 2d 1284, 1285 (Fla.
1985) (imposing discipline for demanding a police officer to lower the volume on
his police radio while dining in a restaurant and, when the officer refused, directing
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him to appear in court to explain his contemptuous conduct); In re Crowell, 379
So. 2d 107, 108 (Fla. 1979) (removing a judge for abusing his contempt powers
which demonstrated a propensity to summarily adjudicate and incarcerate a
citizen . . . without according to the accused a right to be heard or any opportunity
to defend himself).
Here, after J udge Aleman announced her intention to issue an order to show
cause, the prospect of defense counsel being held in contempt had a palpable
impact on the proceeding. Perlman sought to disqualify J udge Aleman for the fifth
time, and Raticoff moved to withdraw, citing the conflict between defending his
client and defending himself. Raticoff later testified that the order to show cause
had a chilling effect on his representation. The fear of being held in contempt,
Raticoff recalled, limited his ability to zealously represent his client. In sum,
J udge Alemans threat of contempt was unnecessary and harmful under the
circumstances.
Accordingly, we approve the J QCs findings of fact and its conclusion that
J udge Aleman committed misconduct by imposing unreasonable time limits on
counsel and then threatening counsel with contempt.
B. Discipline
Having approved the J QCs conclusion that J udge Aleman committed
misconduct, the final matter is the appropriate discipline. The J QC recommends
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that we issue a public reprimand of J udge Aleman and require her to pay the costs
of the investigation and prosecution. We agree.
J udge Aleman does not challenge the propriety of a public reprimand, and
we find it to be a suitable punishment considering the nature of her conduct. We
have employed a public reprimand to sanction judges for similar misconduct. See
Perry, 641 So. 2d at 366-368 (abuse of contempt powers and, to a lesser extent, the
admonition of army recruiter for wearing his uniform in court); see also In re
Schapiro, 845 So. 2d 170 (Fla. 2003) (intemperate courtroom behavior); In re
Schwartz, 755 So. 2d 110 (Fla. 2000) (rude remarks during oral argument). And,
because the J QC prevailed in the matter of whether J udge Aleman committed
misconduct with respect to her actions in Braynen, we likewise order J udge
Aleman to pay the cost of the J QCs investigation and prosecution relating to that
charge. See art. V, 12(c)(2), Fla. Const.
III. CONCLUSION
For the reasons stated, we approve the J QCs conclusion that J udge Aleman
violated the Code of J udicial Conduct, and we approve the J QCs recommendation
that J udge Aleman be reprimanded and charged the cost of the investigation and
prosecution relating to her conduct in State v. Braynen. In accordance with the
policy announced in In re Frank, 753 So. 2d 1228, 1242 (Fla. 2000), we hereby
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command J udge Cheryl Aleman to appear before this Court for the administration
of a public reprimand at a time to be established by the Clerk of this Court.
It is so ordered.
QUINCE, C.J ., and WELLS, ANSTEAD, PARIENTE, LEWIS, and BELL, J J .,
concur.

NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION, AND
IF FILED, DETERMINED.

Original Proceeding J udicial Qualifications Commission

Lansing C. Scriven of Lansing C. Scriven, P.A., Special Counsel, Tampa, Florida,
Michael Louis Schneider, General Counsel, Tallahassee, Florida, and Marvin E.
Barkin, Special Consulting Counsel, Tampa, Florida,

for J udicial Qualifications Commission , Petitioner

J . David Bogenshutz, of Bogenschutz, Dutko, and Kroll, P.A., Fort Lauderdale,
Florida, and Perry W. Hodges, J r. of Rogers, Morris and Ziegler, LLP, Fort
Lauderdale, Florida,

for Respondent