Richard Albritton Jr.

richard albritton judge.jpgAs we noted yesterday, federal judge Manuel Real (C.D. Cal.) is facing an impeachment inquiry (more details here). But when it comes to egregious judicial misconduct, state court judges win handily over their federal counterparts.
Check out this AP report about a recent disciplinary hearing for a Florida state judge:

A judge who admitted to 14 ethics violations, including unconstitutionally ordering a probationer to go to church, was scolded Monday by the Florida Supreme Court.

“Your behavior is unacceptable,” Chief Justice R. Fred Lewis told the accused, Circuit Judge Richard Albritton Jr. “It’s a stain on all of us.”

Accusations against Albritton include jailing a young mother because she was unable to remember her address; soliciting gifts and invitations to lunch; getting hunting trips from lawyers; and demeaning a Department of Children and Families staffer because of her young age.

Alas, the AP report omits some of the more colorful allegations against Judge Albritton. They can be found in this TSG report from last year:

A Florida judge is facing a disciplinary hearing for a host of allegedly inappropriate behavior on the bench, including the recommendation to one female defendant that she “needed to close her legs and stop having babies.”…

Among the commission’s many allegations is the claim that Albritton once demanded that a teenage mother identify the father of her baby. When the girl declined to answer, Albritton told her that he would “put her back in juvenile detention” if she did not give up the dad’s name.

Here’s our favorite quote from the disciplinary hearing for Judge Albritton:

During the reprimand, Lewis said Albritton had told a staff lawyer that he realized ordering a probationer to go to church was unconstitutional but that the defendant didn’t know that. The order violated the First Amendment prohibition against the government endorsing a religion.

“You abused your position by placing yourself above the law,” [Chief Justice] Lewis told him.

The Honorable Richard Albritton, Jr.: a judge after our own heart.
Florida Judge Scolded for Ethics Violations [Associated Press]
Injudicious Judge May Be Benched [The Smoking Gun]