Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Florida to reprimand judge in capital case

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Sept. 30 (UPI) -- A Florida judge had yet to decide Tuesday if she would seek a new hearing on allegations she abused defense lawyers during a death-penalty trial.

Broward Circuit Judge Cheryl Aleman has the option to seek a new hearing after the Florida Supreme Court ruled Monday that she should be reprimanded for her conduct in the case.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel said the court issued a 13-page opinion stating Aleman was "arrogant, discourteous and impatient" with the attorneys in the case.

Specifically, Aleman at one point limited defense motions to 15 minutes and threatened to cite the attorneys with contempt if they went too long.

The justices wrote that the time limit "forced defense counsel to decide between diligently representing their client and abiding by the court's order."

The newspaper said the judge's lawyer unsuccessfully argues that the complaint stemmed from her rulings in the case rather than the manner in which she ran the trial.

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