Broward County judge takes leave after meltdown

Judge Gisele Pollack open about battle with addiction

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County drug court Judge Gisele Pollack has gone on personal leave after another apparent meltdown on the bench.

Pollack was removed from her courtroom last week after she behaved strangely and at times slurred her words. Pollack, who had been open about her battles with addiction and alcoholism in the past, also had a relapse on the bench in December that led to a disruption in court and her return to rehab.

Though she was fighting her own substance-abuse problems, Chief Judge Peter Weinstein chose to return Pollack quickly to the drug court, where she presides over misdemeanor drug cases.

When Local 10 questioned Weinstein in January about that decision, he said he "prayed" it was the right one.

Courthouse blogger Bill Gelin was critical of the decision at the time and remained so Monday, saying that it not only hurt Pollack's recovery efforts but also the credibility of Broward courts.

"She should have been put through the most stringent type of rehabilitation possible, with drug testing and all the rest, just like any other citizen would be," Gelin said. "That didn't happen and now that's hurting Judge Pollack herself because it wasn't handled properly."