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In re Sheldon Schapiro

Supreme Court of Florida
845 So.2d 170 (2003)


Judge Sheldon Schapiro (defendant) repeatedly engaged in behavior that was inappropriate for a judge in a courtroom. In one instance, Schapiro chastised attorney Joseph Dawson for speaking in the courtroom and stated that Schapiro always had to treat Dawson like a schoolchild. Dawson responded that Schapiro treated everyone like a schoolchild, and Schapiro ordered Dawson out of the courtroom. Schapiro also ordered an attorney to appear in court to try a criminal case, despite the fact that the attorney had a severe medical condition and was on bedrest. Schapiro similarly ordered another attorney who was hospitalized with pregnancy complications to appear for trial, against her doctor’s orders. Schapiro routinely berated and embarrassed attorneys for talking in the courtroom, even if the attorneys were quietly discussing court business. Schapiro also cursed at attorneys and told one female attorney that she should try to behave more like male attorneys, who did not become emotional about cases. Based on these and other incidents, the Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) found that Schapiro violated Florida’s Code of Judicial Conduct (Code). The JQC recommended that Schapiro be publicly reprimanded, participate in sensitivity training during therapy, and make a public apology. In a stipulation with the JQC, Schapiro admitted that he had engaged in inappropriate behavior that was unbecoming of a member of the judiciary, had brought the judiciary into disrepute, and had impaired the public’s confidence in the integrity of the judicial system and in Schapiro as a judge. The Supreme Court of Florida reviewed the JQC’s recommendation.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Per Curiam)

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