Broward County circuit judge, and misdemeanor drug court judge, Gisele Pollack, who was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in early May, is asking to be paid during her suspension.
Pollack, 56, has admitted last year she'd shown up to work drunk before. According to Red Broward, when her staff tried to stop her from approaching the bench slammed, her response was "Fuck you, you're fired." She took a leave of absence a couple months ago when she arrived to work inebriated.
Her latest DUI entanglement in Plantation led to her being suspended and entered into rehab.
But now the crazy part has happened.
Pollack's lawyer, David Bogenschutz, filed a petition with the Florida Supreme Court this week requesting that Pollack still be paid her $138,000 annual salary. Bogenschutz said Pollack's bout with alcohol meant it was a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In the petition, Pollack's alcoholism was compared with cancer:
"A suspension without pay will work an onerous hardship and be emotionally debilitating as she struggles to overcome this disability and disease," the petition reads. "If, in fact, Judge Pollack had been suffering from cancer or another disability that required her to be out of office in treatment or therapy, such a restriction would not have been appropriate."
It's unclear whether the Supreme Court will agree with Bogenschutz' assessment but the defense lawyer has asked for it to be reviewed in the next 90 days. Pollack has been in an alcohol treatment program since May 7 (six days after her DUI) in Gainesville, the same program she had entered into in March and left without completing before her accident.
Back in March, 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 checked herself into an outpatient treatment program in Weston.
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 sound 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," according to Broward Bulldog.
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