Controversy arises at appointment of Miami-Dade corrections director with domestic violence history

Red flags raised because of past domestic violence incidents

MIAMI – Controversy is brewing about the appointment of Daniel Junior as interim director of the Miami-Dade Corrections Department because of a domestic violence-related arrest in 2004.

Junior, a 20-year veteran of the department, was arrested in 2004 for a domestic violence incident involving his now ex-wife.  

Junior's critics have raised red flags before and are doing so again after a White House aide resigned over domestic violence allegations.

But does a past episode of domestic violence disqualify someone to lead a law enforcement agency?

"Never will I say that there is no chance for redemption for anyone, because I am by no means perfect. However, there are some things that, based on your history, there are some positions that you just can't hold," Corrections Department veteran Corey Barney said. 

On Monday, Junior will become the official director of the Miami-Dade Corrections Department, the largest jail system in Florida, after having served as acting and interim director for the last two years. 

Two incidents of violence are documented, both during Junior's 20-year tenure with the department.

One of the incidents was reported in the mid-1990s. Junior was arrested after getting violent with his ex-wife and he entered a program in lieu of prosecution.

"Knowing my wife was a domestic violence survivor, I just couldn't consciously work for a man that I know beat women," Corrections Department veteran Richard Horton said. 

Some of the rank and file didn't know Junior was being elevated, but found out after Junior sent out an email about it Thursday.

Some women who work in the Corrections Department declined to speak publicly, but said they were less worried about Junior professionally than they would be personally.

A spokesman for Junior said he was not doing interviews Thursday.

A text from the office of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who promoted Junior despite talk of a national search, stated that Junior was determined to be the most qualified candidate.

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."