DUI Trial for Broward Judge Cynthia Imperato Begins

The last couple of years, we've had a handful of South Florida judge get busted for driving while under the influence of one substance or another. On Wednesday, opening statements began for the DUI trial of Broward circuit Judge Cynthia Imperato.

Imparato, 57, 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 has admitted to having two glasses of wine, but denies she was impaired when cops pulled her over.

She denied a plea deal that would have given her 12 months probation. Now, she's facing possible jail time if she's found guilty.

See also: Gisele Pollack, Broward County Drug Court Judge, Charged With DUI

During opening statements on Wednesday, prosecutor Ari Goldberg painted a picture at the jury of a judge who was visibly impaired on the night she was pulled over by Boca Raton Police.

"She had red, bloodshot, glassy eyes," Goldberg said during his opening statements via the Palm Beach Post.

He added 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, Imerato handed over her judicial badge, Goldberg said.

Meanwhile, the defense argued that Imperato was just fine when she was pulled over. Defense attorney Heidi Perlot said that videos show the judge pulled over just fine and that she wasn't slurring her words.

"I'm not doing anything until I talk to my lawyer," Imperato reportedly was caught telling the arresting officer on video at the time of her arrest.

The second day of the trial resumes Thursday where witnesses, including several of the attorneys who were at the restaurant with Imperato before she left. The prosecution also plans to call on the witness who called 911 to report Imperato's erratic driving that night.

Both sides are hoping to conclude their arguments by Thursday as well, which means we could get a verdict soon.

Imperato is the first of a handful of Broward judges who have been allegedly caught driving impaired.

In May, 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.

Also in May, 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.

In 2007, Judge Lawrence Korda was caught smoking pot in a park. In 2001, Judge Joyce Julian was arrested for alcohol-related incidents.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph