TALLAHASSEE- Judge Ernest Kollra of the 17th Judicial Circuit was publicly reprimanded by the Florida Supreme Court after the Court accepted the Findings and Recommendation of the Investigative Panel of the Commission, filed as part of a Stipulation between the Commission and Judge Kollra. Judge Kollra admitted to violating Canon 7 by using the endorsement of the Dolphin Democrats in his judicial campaign. Judge Kollra also disclosed his person political affiliation during an endorsement interview with a newspaper editorial board. Judicial campaigns are strictly non-partisan under Florida law, and under the Code of Judicial Conduct, judicial candidates must refrain from introducing partisan politics into their campaigns.
In its opinion, the Court noted that, “…although we recognize Judge Kollra’s cooperation and remorse and commend him on an otherwise unblemished four decades as a member of The Florida Bar, we also note that being a relatively new judge and not having any prior experience with an election of any kind does not lessen a judicial candidate’s obligations to be familiar with and adhere to the Code of Judicial Conduct. Under the Code, it is incumbent upon judges and judicial candidates to refrain from prohibited political activity. Failures to do so require appropriate discipline. In this case, the appropriate discipline is a public reprimand.” [internal quotations removed]
Documents relating to this matter can be found here.
Photo courtesy of the 17th Judicial Circuit.
Video courtesy of the Supreme Court of Florida.