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Judge reprimanded for a lack of candor

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Judge reprimanded for a lack of candor

A judge who failed to disclose a speeding ticket when interviewed by a judicial nominating commission will receive a public reprimand from the Florida Supreme Court.

The court on April 9 accepted the recommendation from the Judicial Qualifications Commission that 18th Circuit Judge Jessica J. Recksiedler’s actions should be sanctioned by the reprimand.

The case stemmed from three separate interviews the judge had with the Fifth District Court of Appeal JNC. At the first, she was questioned about her driving record. At the second, which occurred a year later in March 2014, the judge received a speeding citation on the way to the interview.

During that interview, the judge said she took commission members’ concerns about her driving very seriously, but did not disclose she had received a ticket while driving to the meeting. At a third interview in September 2014, a commission member asked the judge if she had been stopped that year.

Recksiedler testified to the JQC that she understood that question as inquiring whether she had any tickets since the March interview and assumed that the JNC members knew of the ticket she received on the way to the March meeting. Hence, she answered that questioned in the negative.

The stipulation filed by the JQC and the judge to the court said, “While her answer may not have been intentionally false, it was confusing and misleading. Judge Recksiedler acknowledges that she should have mentioned the March 17 traffic stop to avoid the confusion and to ensure that the commission was aware that she was not trying to avoid the issue.”

The court, in its opinion, said, “In its findings and recommendation of discipline, the JQC found that Judge Recksiedler’s conduct violated Canons 1, 2A, 4A(2), and 4A(3) of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which require a judge to act at all times in a manner that upholds the integrity and independence of the judiciary, to avoid the appearance of impropriety, and to avoid engaging in any activities that demean the judicial office.”

The court went on, “We agree with the JQC that the incompleteness and inaccuracy of the responses constitutes a lack of candor amounting to an ethical violation where, as here, the statements are misleading.. . . We also agree with the JQC that Judge Recksiedler’s conduct demonstrated a lack of candor not befitting the high standards of ethical conduct that we expect of all judges in this state.”

The court acted in case no. SC15-311, Inquiry Concerning a Judge No. 14-557 Re: Jessica J. Recksiedler.

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