Case Detail
CitationClayton v. Willis, 489 So.2d 813 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1986)
CrimeNon-violent, other
StateFL
Pros. First NameStephen
Pros. Last NameKunz
FederalNo
Trial YearUKN
BodyAppeals court
OpinionThe District Court of Appeal for Florida granted a Writ of Prohibition to prevent trial of multiple counts of an indictment against a sitting judge. Reflecting on the absurdity of the charges brought, the Court questioned the ethical judgment of the prosecution: "This court is concerned about the prosecutor's use of the indictment process in this case to level charges which are fatuous and patently without merit. For example, in the absence of bribery or corrupt influence, it cannot be a crime for a judge to release a defendant on his own recognizance; it cannot be a crime for a judge to hear a case not assigned to him; it cannot be a crime to withhold adjudication of guilt or waive courtroom appearances; it cannot be a crime to fail to have a court reporter present on all occasions; it cannot be a crime to amend a judgment or correct a record; it cannot be a crime to dismiss a criminal case or to fail to fingerprint a defendant. If these matters are crimes, virtually every judge in Florida, including the respondent, is subject to indictment at the whim and caprice of a disgruntled or ambitious state attorney. The indictment procured by the assistant state attorney in this case suggests, in the words of Chief Justice Burger: '[T]he dangers of a system of legal education that trains students in technique without instilling a sense of professional responsibility and ethics-a bit like giving a small boy a loaded pistol without instruction as to when and how it is to be used.'"
Determination YearUKN
Misconduct TypeP
C/S EffectDismissal
Pros. Misc. ReportedUKN
SanctionsUKN
Sanction TypeUKN
Web linkhttp://www.leagle.com/decision/19861302489So2d813_11151