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Judges think they are above the law

A pastor has an affair. A legislator doesn’t pay his taxes. A County judge is arrested for DUI. Each of these criminal or moral lapses makes each of us feel a little less secure about what we always hoped is true: those in a leadership position should live a life above reproach. It’s natural to hold those in a position of authority to a higher standard. Some claim a person can do their job even if their personal life is in shambles, but I would argue self-control is critical to managing and leading others.

Judges in Broward Country arrested for DUI

  So what should we make of the three Broward County judges who have been arrested on DUI charges in the last seven months? The arrests have “sent shockwaves” through the county, according to one public defender. Many have questioned why those who have been charged with upholding the law would have so much trouble following it? It’s a great question. According to Broward County public defender Howard Finkelstein, “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. 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.”

Judge Lynn Rosenthal of the 17th Judicial Circuit arrested for DUI

  As reported earlier in the week Judge Lynn Rosenthal of the 17th Judicial Circuit was arrested after hitting a parked, unmarked patrol car. She claimed she was “forced into a guardrail on I-595 on her way to work,” but authorities have reviewed a videotape of the incident dispute her account. After a breathalyzer test the judge tested negative for alcohol, but she claimed she may have been under the influence of Ambien which she reportedly consumed the night before the incident. At issue, however, is her refusal to take a chemical test of her blood and urine which could have indicated what if any drug she may have had in her system. Others close to the case question whether or not taking Ambien so many hours before the accident could have caused the accident. Unfortunately, Judge Lynn Rosenthal is just one of three judges who have been charged with DUI this year. Early in the month Broward County Judge Gisele Pollack was also charged with DUI and suspended from the bench. And in November Broward Judge Cynthia Imperato was arrested for DUI in Boca Raton. So what do we make of the judges charges for DUI? Do these arrests point to a larger issue about drunk driving and the number of people who have dependence on alcohol or is it simply three isolated incidences which has nothing to do with the integrity of the judiciary system? A far better question is why those in authority such as judges so often lack self-control but somehow managed to climb to the highest offices in our land?
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