Public Defender Wants 'Bully' Broward Judge Removed | NBC 6 South Florida

Public Defender Wants 'Bully' Broward Judge Removed

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    NEWSLETTERS

    (Published Monday, May 1, 2017)

    A Broward County public defender is calling for a judge to be removed from the criminal bench over what he's calling "emotional" and "unbalanced" behavior by the magistrate.

    Judge Mardi Levey Cohen is an elected judge who has presided over cases for more than six years but it's behavior over the past six months that Broward public defender Howard Finkelstein is calling into question.

    In a rare move, Finkelstein sent a letter to the county's chief judge requesting him to take action. Finkelstein said he's also requesting she be removed from criminal court.

    "She has no business sitting on the criminal bench," Finkelstein said.

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    It all started back in January when assistant public defender Jennifer Edgley was in the judge's courtroom.

    "All of a sudden I hear her yelling at me and what she does is, she looks at me and says 'you, you little twit,' and I turned around absolutely shocked that she was speaking to me in that manner," Edgley said.

    The public defender also claims the judge recently called a defendant in her courtroom "an idiot" and "stupid."

    "My reaction was, what the hell is happening in this county where the judges are acting the way you would hear a bully on a playground act in middle school?" Finkelstein said.

    Adding to the drama, Judge Cohen has asked the public defender's office to remove Edgley from all cases in her courtroom. The public defender asked the court to remove the judge instead.

    Judge Cohen didn't answer calls and emails from NBC 6. At one of her hearings Monday, a bailiff told NBC 6 that she had "no statements" to make about what happened.

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    Meanwhile, more than 60 court cases are now in limbo until an appeals judge decides what to do next.

    "You do not have the right to walk into this building and take that bench and decide to inflict pain on other people so it will make you feel better," Finkelstein said.

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