Florida Judge Disbarred After Lying About Relationship with Prosecutor
(TALAHASSEE, Fla.) -- A South Florida judge is out of a job after she was disbarred for lying about her relationship with a prosecutor during a death penalty case.
Former Broward County Circuit Judge Ana Gardiner was found guilty of not disclosing a personal and emotional relationship.
"Nothing has interfered with my job because that has been my life," she testified at her trial.
According to court documents, Gardiner exchanged more than 1,400 texts and phone calls with prosecutor Howard Scheinberg during the murder trial of Omar Loureiro. Sheila Alu, another prosecutor on the case, blew the whistle on the relationship, saying the two talked about the trial while partying together.
"We weren't talking about the case. We were talking about personal matters," Gardiner testified.
In its ruling Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court opined that Gardiner's failure to disclose the relationship "tainted the entire legal process."
Gardiner sentenced Loureiro to death. He was later given a mistrial and is serving life in prison.
Gardiner, who married the attorney representing her in her bar trial, was also ordered to pay more than $8,000 in legal fees.
Scheinberg is serving a two-year suspension of his law license.
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