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Judicial discipline.

Being one of the several lawyers in this state who actually reads the News, I came across a August 1 article about Judge Gregory Holder of Tampa who was reprimanded by the Supreme Court for actually trying to help somebody who, without question, deserved assistance.

The way I get it from the article is that this judge presided over a case involving a decorated combat veteran who got kicked out of the University of South Florida based on the allegations comprising the case before the court. So the judge contacts the university and asks, nicely, if they would allow the defendant back into school for online classes. The judge also called the state attorney to get them to back off what might've been the problem count(s).

Of course, the judge, who is not, by any stretch of the imagination, asking for the world here, is reprimanded because he created the impression that he wasn't impartial and violated some other rules that reflect on the neutrality of the bench and whatever else they put in there that prompted the JQC and ultimately the Supreme Court to say "Oh. You can't do that. You violated THE RULES."

So I'm reading this and I'm thinking, "You know. I get it. I now completely understand why people hate lawyers." I'm not a Bible scholar, but I remember the bit where Jesus is excoriating the Pharisees (and the lawyers, I might add) because they concentrate all their attention on the rules. They have the law down cold, but they forgot what the law represents.

So here's Judge Holder. I don't know this judge, but he sounds like someone I'd like to know. He probably saw this in the same common-sense way a lot of people do. Our combat veterans should be given some consideration once in a while, whether it's in the playbook or not. From the article, it didn't sound like anybody got hurt. The store clerk might've had it coming anyway. Maybe there's some PTSD issues. Whatever. I don't know. All I know is the defendant is an Army Green Beret soldier who was awarded the Bronze Star. I also know that they don't give those away. So here's a guy who was obviously doing something above and beyond and undertook what was probably a really dangerous mission in defense of this country, and USF kicks him out of school.

Meanwhile, there are students on college campuses all over the country who burn the American flag, shout down speakers who speak with any modicum of sense or reason, verbally trash this country and everything it stands for, and they can go to school just fine, no problem. Maybe it's just the way things are now. That which was celebrated is now condemned and that which was condemned is now celebrated.

For what it's worth, it is this writer's opinion that instead of a public reprimand, Judge Holder should have been given an award for trying to help someone who served our country honorably and well.

Ernie Mullins


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Title Annotation:Letters
Author:Mullins, Ernie
Publication:Florida Bar News
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Sep 1, 2016
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