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03

Public Thinks Campaign Cash Sways Judges

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Public Thinks Campaign Cash Sways Judges
As candidates in Hillsborough County's four judicial races work to convince voters they have integrity, the money fueling their campaigns may be undermining that message. Although Americans trust the courts more than other branches of government, the public thinks judges are influenced by campaign fundraising, according to a recent survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. The survey found that 70 percent of the public think campaign contributions affect j...
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Categories: Ethics | Tags: Ethics, Politics, Judicial Branch, Hillsborough County | View Count: (1236)
12

Judicial Elections Oversight Lax

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Judicial Elections Oversight Lax
A candidate for judge speaks to government employees while they're working. Another judicial candidate touts in a campaign flier that she used to be a judge but neglects to mention she had been removed from the bench. Are those violations of what candidates for judges can do or say? In Hillsborough County, you probably won't know until after the election Sept. 5. In 2004, the last time voters were asked to select new judges, anyone who saw a candidate campaigning through what they considered ...
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Categories: Ethics | Tags: Ethics, Politics, Judicial Branch, Hillsborough County | View Count: (1242)
Ethics Commission Fulfilled Its Purpose In The PSC Case
As chairman of the Florida Commission on Ethics, I would like to take this opportunity to respond to Howard Troxler's Oct. 20 column about the commission's dismissal of complaints against four members of the Florida Public Service Commission (In politics, what's unethical today is legal tomorrow). It does not appear that he understood fully the facts behind the commission's actions.
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Categories: Ethics | Tags: Ethics, Politics | View Count: (1049)
29

Gifts, Ethics Law Discussed

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Gifts, Ethics Law Discussed
Once candidates are elected to office, they suddenly gain more friends who may try to influence their decisions with dinners, hunting trips, golf outings and other gifts, a state ethics officials warned Thursday. But Virlindia Doss, senior attorney for the Florida Commission on Ethics, had a stern warning for about 150 city and county government officials attending the Florida Ethics Conference and Attorney General's Sunshine Summit. ''If you like it, don't take it,'' she said. Doss outlined ...
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Categories: Ethics | Tags: Politics, Ethics, Legislation | View Count: (1113)
10

Tampa Democrat To Lead Ethics Commission

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Tampa Democrat To Lead Ethics Commission
A Tampa Democrat, Thomas P. Scarritt Jr., has become chairman of the Florida Ethics Commission, instead of Tampa Republican John Grant, a change stemming in part from Gov. Jeb Bush's veto of a state ethics law reform bill. Scarritt, a South Tampa lawyer and real estate developer, had been expected to become vice chairman of the commission, and Grant chairman, when the commission elected new officers Sept. 1. Instead, Grant, one of the commission's founding members, and a key player in the prop...
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Categories: Past Law Cases | Tags: Judicial Branch, Ethics, Politics | View Count: (1381)
08

The Politics Of Strange Bedfellows

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The Politics Of Strange Bedfellows
Tampa trial lawyer Tom Scarritt apparently endeared himself to colleagues during the first year of his two-year term on the Florida Ethics Commission. They elected him chairman a week or so ago. It's a bit of a surprise for some political observers. Some expected John Grant, the com­ mission's vice chairman and a former state senator from Tampa, to take over as commission chairman for the 2005-06 term. Only Gov. Jeb Bush didn't reappoint Grant, a Republican, to a second term.
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Categories: Ethics, Politics | Tags: Ethics, Judicial Branch, Politics | View Count: (1185)
07

Judicial Candidates Cleared In Ethics Probe

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Judicial Candidates Cleared In Ethics Probe
A judicial election watchdog group has reversed its opinion that a judge and his challenger violated an ethics code while campaigning. On Aug. 27, the Hillsborough County Judicial Campaign Practices Committee ruled that during a candidates' forum Judge Charles "Ed" Bergmann violated ethics rules by claiming "an overwhelming number" of family law lawyers were supporting him. The next day, the committee determined that Bergmann's challenger, Beth Gilmore Reineke, also violated the ethics code ...
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Categories: Ethics | Tags: Ethics, Politics, Judicial Branch, Hillsborough County | View Count: (1126)
07

Judicial Ethics Findings Reversed

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Judicial Ethics Findings Reversed
A couple months back when Tampa Lawyer Beth Reineke was running to unseat Hillsborough Circuit Judge Charles "Ed" Bergmann, the Hillsborough County Judicial Campaign Practices Committee found both had committed ethical violations on the campaign trail. Their alleged offenses? Bergmann had made the unverifiable claim that a majority of family law attorneys supported his candidacy, while Reineke said Bergmann was "just doing time" on the bench.
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Categories: Ethics | Tags: Ethics, Politics, Judicial Branch, Hillsborough County | View Count: (1118)
28

Judge Judged

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Judge Judged
The Hillsborough County Judicial Campaign Practices Committee has found Circuit Judge Charles "Ed" Bergmann committed an ethical violation for statements he allegedly made about the depth of his support among family-law attorneys. Beth Reineke, a lawyer who is running for Bergmann's seat, complained that Judge Bergmann claimed a majority of family-law attorneys supported his candidacy.
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Categories: Ethics | Tags: Ethics, Politics, Judicial Branch, Hillsborough County | View Count: (1287)
Watchdog Group Accuses Judge Of Violating Ethics During Forum
A watchdog group claims a judge violated ethics rules when he talked about how many family law attorneys support him in the upcoming election. The Hillsborough County Judicial Campaign Practices Committee issued its opinion against Hillsborough Circuit Judge Charles Bergmann on Friday. The committee has no sanctioning power, but Chairman Tom Scarritt said it will pass its findings to the Florida Judicial Qualifications committee, which can bring charges with powerful sanctions. Ultimately, the ...
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Categories: Ethics | Tags: Judicial Branch, Ethics, Politics, Hillsborough County | View Count: (1191)
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