It’s not exactly a great look when judges get arrested on DUI charges but DUI law has taken a new turn with not one, not two but three Broward County judges haveing been arrested in the past seven months on DUI charges.
Is there something wrong with “judicial culture”, the county’s leading public defender has asked?
“When people ascend to the bench and put that robe on, it’s very common that they start to believe that they are bigger than the law; they are above the law; they are the law,” said Broward County public defender Howard Finkelstein.
“Is that happening in Broward? I’ve seen that happen here for many years, decades. I thought it was getting better. I still think it’s getting better, but this is a very big bump in the road.”
The latest arrest came Tuesday when Judge Lynn Rosenthal of the 17th Judicial Circuit was arrested after hitting a parked, unmarked patrol car in a Fort Lauderdale courthouse parking lot. Judge Rosenthal told deputies she was also forced into a guardrail on I-595 on her way to work before the parking lot accident, but deputies said video disputed that report.
Judge Rosenthal was arrested on a charge of DUI, but tested negative for alcohol. Judge Rosenthal told deputies she had taken an Ambien CR the night before the accident in the parking lot.
Finkelstein said he doubted Judge Rosenthal’s claim of the Ambien CR affecting her.
“I have a little bit of experience with drugs. That is not from an Ambien at 10 o’clock at night,” Finkelstein said. “The fact that she refused the urine and the blood test is gonna keep people wondering.”
Just last week, fellow Broward County Judge Gisele Pollack was suspended from the bench without pay after she was arrested on DUI charges earlier this year following a car crash.