On Monday, a state judicial panel recommended that Broward Judge Cynthia Imperato be reprimanded, fined and temporarily suspended following her DUI guilty verdict from last December. Palm Beach County Judge Mark Eissey originally sentenced Imperato to 20 days of house arrest, and one year probation, following the guilty verdict on December 19. Imperato had appealed the sentence.
Imperato was busted for DUI back in November of 2013 after driving home from a social gathering with fellow judges and lawyers at Maggiano's restaurant in Boca. Imperato had admitted to having two glasses of wine, but has maintained that she wasn't impaired when cops pulled her over.
She denied an original plea deal that would have given her 12 months probation.
The latest recommendations, filed by the Judicial Qualifications Commission with the Florida Supreme Court on Monday, says that Imperato should be allowed to keep her job as a judge, but that she should be publicly reprimanded and fined $5,000. The panel also recommends a 20-day suspension without pay.
In addition, the Judicial Qualifications Commission said that Imperato should undergo an alcohol evaluation with the completion of any recommended treatment.
For her part, the AP reports that Imperato has agreed to these terms, and will have to file a formal response to the Commission. According to the recommendation, Imperato "agrees that a judge should act at all times in a manner that promotes the public confidence in the judiciary."
According to prosecutor Ari Goldberg, Imperato was visibly intoxicated on the night she was arrested. Goldberg says that Imperato's Mercedes was swerving violently on the road when cops spotted her and that the officers noted she had had a difficult time getting her wallet out of her purse. When asked for her license and registration, Imperato instead handed over her judicial badge,
The Commission recommendation says that Imperato admitted that this was a poor decision on her part. She also refused a roadside breathalyzer test.
"Judge Imperato admits that because of her position, she should not have displayed her judicial badge or referred to her status as a judge in any way that could have been perceived as an attempt to use the prestige of her office to obtain preferential treatment," the recommendation reads. "She also admits that a judge should be faithful to the law and so she should have complied with the officer's lawful commands and should have agreed to submit to a breathalyzer test."
It's up to the state's Supreme Court to accept or reject the Judicial Qualifications Commission's recommendation.
Imperato is one of a handful of Broward judges who have been allegedly caught driving impaired.
In May of 2014, Broward County circuit judge, and misdemeanor drug court judge, Gisele Pollack, who has had a history of substance abuse, including one time when she arrived to work drunk, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Plantation. Pollack resigned her position in January rather than face being fired.
Also in May of 2014, Broward Circuit Judge Lynn Rosenthal was arrested after she rammed her black BMW SUV into a parked police car in the Broward County courthouse parking lot. She claimed she had mistakenly taken some Ambien.