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| Crime |

Broward Adoption Judge's Former Foster Son, Accused of Stalking Him, Heads to Court

Update 1/22: For the latest details on the case, read our updated story with information from Harper and Bowman.
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Eighteen-year-old Charles Monroe Harper will be in court this morning to answer charges of stalking his ex-foster father, John Bowman, in December.

According to a police report, Harper stood across the street from Bowman's residence in Plantation, called the house "from a bogus number," and told Bowman to step out of the house. Harper was with his half-brother, and both were arrested for stalking (a domestic violence charge.) The charges resulted in a restraining order against Harper.

Bowman is a judge in the Broward County Courthouse and has presided over hundreds of adoption cases from his bench.

According to JAABlog, "over the years, [Bowman] and his assistant attorney general wife [Claudette Bowman] have also opened their home to DCF kids." In Harper's case, it hasn't ended well, and it's a stark reminder that after the paperwork goes through, adoptions and foster care are often volatile processes. 

According to testimony from Claudette Bowman, Harper had threatened to kill her and her husband.

Miami-Dade Judge Richard Feder was brought in to move the case forward, to avoid a conflict of interest on the part of Broward judges. An arraignment was scheduled for 8:30 this morning. It's possible the case won't be a case after all: JAABlog has it that the judge initially found "no probable cause," and there are no charges listed on the clerk's website.

We have not been able to get in touch with Bowman, and Department of Children and Families spokesman Mark Riordan says his office doesn't have any information about the case. Harper is now listed as living in Miami.

Here's the report from the arresting officer's probable-cause affidavit: 

I responded to [the address] reference Harper and Gibbs causing a disturbance in front of the victim's house. Officers stopped the parties approximately 100 feet from the house. I met with the victim who stated his ex-foster son Harper was calling his house from a bogus number telling the victim to step out. The victim observed the parties across the street from his residence on the phone. The victim has documented several incidents involving Harper but no injunction was active. Harper nor Gibbs could explain their purpose for being around the victim's house. Both parties were arrested, transported.


We'll update soon on whether the case is going to move forward.

Update 9:57 a.m.: The state has not yet decided whether to press charges against Harper, who looks likely to swap out his public defender for private counsel if it goes forward. Judge Ian Richards was momentarily perplexed to learn the circumstances of the case -- the victim being a sitting judge. Judge Jay Hurley recused himself from an earlier hearing and brought in a judge from Miami-Dade, but Richards may remain: "I would start to consider withdrawing myself, though I don't really know Judge Bowman," Richards told the public defender.


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