By Francisco Alvarado
By Trevor Bach
By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Keegan Hamilton and Francisco Alvarado
By Jake Rossen
By Allie Conti
Where are the cops when you really need one?
When last Tailpipe heard from Judge Ana Gardiner, it was Super Bowl Sunday and she was sitting mutely in her BMW after having driven into the rear of a new Mercedes Benz. It seemed that Gardiner, chief judge of the Broward Criminal Court, had been so preoccupied with checking up on an ex-boyfriend in Fort Lauderdale's upscale Sunrise Intracoastal community that she forgot to look where she was driving.
A minor hitch in South Florida's course of events. Gardiner got a ticket from an accident investigator, who wrote in her report that the damage to the parked Mercedes was $350 (though the 'Pipe has learned that repairs on the Mercedes cost ten times that).
But the accident cast some unwanted light on Gardiner's allegedly cozy relations with other lawyers. In April, New Times columnist Bob Norman followed with his feature "Judging Ana," which reported on Gardiner's improper relationships with lawyers and prosecutors who appear before her. One of the lawyers named in the story, veteran homicide prosecutor Howard Scheinberg, left the State Attorney's Office shortly after publication.
Tailpipe can't answer the $64,000 question of whether, as rumored around the courthouse, Gardiner is being investigated by the Judicial Qualifying Commission. But he can say (as no other newspaper has reported) that Gardiner has been removed from her vaunted position as chief criminal judge of Broward County.
Gardiner is currently (and ignominiously, according to some courthouse observers) a civil court judge.