Broward Judge Ana Gardiner Disbarred by Florida Supreme Court

Former embattled Broward Circuit Judge Ana Gardiner has been disbarred from practicing law by the Florida Supreme Court.

Back in 2008, New Times broke the story of Gardiner's improper sexual relationship with then-prosecutor and Assistant State Attorney Howard Scheinberg during a death penalty trial.

Gardiner and Scheinberg had both been working the Omar Loureiro murder trial, with Scheinberg as prosecuting attorney and Gardiner as judge of the case.

When confronted with the relationship, as well as the 949 phone calls and 471 text messages between the two, Gardiner lied under oath.

See also: Broward Judge Gardiner's Alleged Relationships With Defense Lawyers and Prosecutors Raises Troubling Questions

The two allegedly exchanged text messages and talked and laughed about the trial in public -- including discussing photographs of the dead murder victim.

Their improper relationship led to Loureiro's conviction being overturned.

These revelations eventually led Gardiner to resign as judge. Shortly after that, she was hired by former U.S. Attorney Thomas Scott's law firm in Miami.

The sexual relationship between judge and lawyer continued all the way through the trial in which Loureiro was sentenced to death for murder.

Once the two were exposed, Loureiro was given a new trial. He was eventually sentenced to life in prison.

Shortly following the New Times report, Scheinberg resigned from the State Attorney's Office and was hired by Scott Rothstein, of all people.

Soon after, the Judicial Qualifications Commission hit Gardiner with formal charges.

The charges revealed that Gardiner and Scheinberg had begun their relationship on March 23, 2007, to August 24, 2007, the same date the judge sentenced Loureiro to death.

Phone records also revealed that the two engaged in 949 phone calls and 471 text messages.

On Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court brought down the hammer in a unanimous decision against Gardiner, ending her career in law.

"Considering Gardiner's dishonest conduct and the harm that her actions have caused to the administration of justice in a capital first-degree murder case, we conclude that disbarment is the appropriate sanction," the Supreme Court justices wrote in their decision.

Gardiner's disbarment is effective 30 days from Thursday.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph