Broward County Judge -- and misdemeanor drug court judge -- Gisele Pollack, who was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence last May, has decided to resign rather than face being fired from her position.
Pollack's fate was in the hands of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, which, after reviewing her case for several months, recommended she be removed from office on Monday. The decision would ultimately fall in the hands of the Florida Supreme Court, which would consider the panel's recommendation. But it's unlikely the court would go against the recommendation.
So, around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Pollack resigned.
Pollack, 56, had had issues with showing up to work drunk even before her May DUI arrest.
In 2013, Pollack admitted that she had shown up to work drunk. According to a report by Red Broward, when her staff tried to stop her from approaching the bench inebriated, her response was, "Fuck you -- you're fired." She took a leave of absence after that.
Back in March 2014, Pollack was behaving erratically in the courtroom and at times slurred her words. Her meltdown on the bench led Pollack to take personal leave, and shortly thereafter, she checked herself into an outpatient treatment program in Weston.
But when she was busted in Plantation for DUI last May, the arrest led to Pollack's being suspended from the bench. Pollack's attorneys had argued that her arrest was the result of her struggles with alcohol dependence but that she was actively receiving treatment.
The charges levied on her by the panel were extensive and included a long list of misconduct by Pollack while under the influence of alcohol. The formal charges document filed against her in August listed at least six occasions when Pollack's work was interfered with by her being inebriated.
In its recommendation, the panel recognized and praised her efforts to recover from alcoholism and entering rehab. But the panel also said her multiple offenses left it with no choice but to recommend a removal from office.
On Tuesday afternoon, Pollack's attorney, Eric Schwartzreich, confirmed to JAABlog that she had resigned rather then face removal from her position.
Pollack had put together a misdemeanor drug court that specialized in helping people arrested for marijuana violations by having them checked into a treatment facility rather than spend any time in jail.
Pollack had described this so-called marijuana court as a place where "defendants prepared to go through a treatment program and six months worth of testing, supervision and staying clean, would have the charges against them dismissed."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!