A Broward County judge who was accused of showing favoritism to the prosecution and losing her temper in court has been publicly reprimanded by the Supreme Court of Florida. Judge Elizabeth A. Scherer of the 17th Judicial Circuit received the reprimand on Monday, July 24, 2023, following the recommendation of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, which found her guilty of intemperate conduct and bias.

The case is titled “Inquiry Concerning a Judge re: Hon. Elizabeth A. Scherer,” and was brought by the Special Counsel for Judicial Qualifications Commission, under case no. 2022-785.

The charges cited Scherer’s violation of Florida Code of Judicial Conduct Canons 1, 2A, 3B(2), 3B(3), 3B(4), 3B(5), and 3B(9). 

The Code of Judicial Conduct can be found here.

According to the Notice of Formal Charges, Schere was alleged to have displayed conduct that was intemperate and gave the appearance of partiality to the prosecution while presiding over a proceeding during the penalty phase and at the sentencing. It was further alleged that when the defense counsel raised objections to the vitriolic comments directed at them during sentencing by family members of the victims, Judge Scherer acknowledged that some comments were inappropriate but failed to take action to stop them.

Additionally, during the proceedings, when a member of the defense team commented on Scherer’s children being talked about, she accused him of threatening her children. Scherer ordered him to leave the defense table and sit in the back of the courtroom, effectively denying him the ability to represent his client. Furthermore, after the sentencing hearing, Scherer stepped down from the bench in her judicial robe and embraced members of the prosecution team while also embracing victims and their families.

Following the notice of charges, the Investigative Panel of the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission and Scherer filed a stipulation wherein the latter admitted that she violated the Code of Judicial Conduct as charged.

The Stipulation states that Judge Scherer does not contest the findings and recommendations, accepts and agrees to a public reprimand, and waives a final hearing before the Hearing Panel of the Commission if the findings and recommendations are accepted by the Court.

Accordingly, the Court, upon consideration of the Judicial Qualifications Commission’s Findings and Recommendation of Discipline and the parties’ Stipulation, ruled to accept and approve the proposed sanction.

The Disposition reads:

“We therefore hold that respondent shall receive a public reprimand, which will be accomplished by publication of this order.”

Judge Elizabeth A. Scherer attended the University of Miami. Judge Scherer is a judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit Court in Florida, located at 201 SE 6th Street, Ft Lauderdale, Fl. 33301. Her info can be found on ballotpedia.org.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.