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Resource ID: #20303
Subject: Courts
Source: Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Date: 1994-08-28


Three-part investigation into the Broward County judicial system. "Judges are supposed to be elected by the voters," the article begins. "But politics and a system that gives incumbents life and death power over potential challengers help to shut out the people." While the Florida constitution demands judges be elected, more than half of Broward's 65 judges "first were appointed to their jobs." And when elections did take place, "judges up for reelection ran unopposed 129 out of 138 times" over the last 10 years. More troubling, it seems nobody is keeping an eye on them. The committee assigned to oversee Broward judges has only filed 14 complaints since 1970 (e.g. one judge drew a pistol in a crowded courtroom). Says one defense attorney: "Where else do you find a job like this? Nowhere. They're untouchable, and it's frightening." The series investigates who the judges are, where their campaign financing comes from, and who is influential in picking them. Issues of diversity (or lack of it) on the bench are also discussed. Short profiles on each judge and each member of the nominating committee are included. Also included is a list of campaign contributions from lawyers.

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