In what has been a trend for Broward judges in the last few years, Broward Circuit Judge Cynthia 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. Imaparato admitted to having two glasses of wine but denies she was impaired when cops pulled her over.
She refused to submit to a breath test at the time.
She also denied a plea deal that would have given her 12 months probation. In December of last year, Imperato was found guilty of driving under the influence and sentenced to 20 days of house arrest, a year of probation, perform 150 hours of community service, attend DUI school, and pay for court costs.
Now, the Judicial Qualifications Commission has recommended that Imperato serve a three-month suspension and a $20,000 fine. Earlier this year, the JQC said 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 to go along with her house arrest, and that she should undergo an alcohol evaluation with the completion of any recommended treatment.
Imperato initially agreed to those terms, but the Florida Supreme Court rejected the agreement and ordered that a full hearing be held against her.
During her trial, prosecutors said Imperato was visibly intoxicated on the night she was arrested. They gave details on how Imperato's Mercedes was swerving violently on the road when Boca Raton Police 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 Florida Supreme Court will now have to decide to take up the Judicial Qualifications Commission's latest recommendation on Imperato.
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Imperato is the first 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 in January.
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. Rosenthal resigned earlier this month.