Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimands Broward County judge

Judge Dennis D. Bailey castigated by chief justice for losing temper in court

Broward County Judge Dennis D. Bailey receives a public reprimand before the Florida Supreme Court.
Broward County Judge Dennis D. Bailey receives a public reprimand before the Florida Supreme Court. (Courtesy of Florida Supreme Court)

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – The Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded a Broward County circuit judge Wednesday.

Chief Justice Charles T. Canady castigated Broward County Judge Dennis D. Bailey for violating five canons of the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct.

"We all recognize that this is a sad day for you," Canady said. "It is also a sad day for us and for the entire state judiciary."

Canady told Bailey the court takes its reprimands very seriously as "they send a message to all Florida judges that we will not wink at misconduct."

The Judicial Qualifications Commission filed a notice of formal charges against Bailey in December. It alleged Bailey lost his temper with two defense attorneys and "inappropriately ordered the courtroom deputy to approach the bench and physically remove one of the defendant's attorneys from the sidebar conference."

"You undertook this action within full view and hearing of the jury," general counsel Alexander John Williams wrote in the Dec. 13 notice of formal charges.

Bailey was alleged to have "displayed an intemperate tone of voice" and "condescending tone" when reprimanding the defense attorneys in front of potential jurors.

"In this case, Judge Bailey's lack of restraint constituted serious misconduct which violated the canons," JQC Chair Krista Marx wrote in her Dec. 13 findings and recommendation of discipline. "His failure to appropriately consider the resulting motion to disqualify only further cast a shadow over the fairness of the administration of justice in this matter."

Bailey agreed to a public reprimand, which Canady delivered Wednesday.

Canady urged Baily to exercise self-control and said further misconduct will have "grave consequences."

"For the failures to which you've stipulated, Judge Bailey, you're hereby publicly reprimanded for your misconduct," Canady concluded. "You're now free to leave."

"Thank you," Bailey said before leaving the courtroom.