Because of our basic human nature, it's difficult to trust someone you've just met. Oftentimes though, we are thrust into situations where we need to trust someone else. This is certainly the case when it comes to family law issues. You have to not only trust that your attorney is on your side but you also have to trust that the judge will be unbiased and will help you reach a resolution that is in your best interest.
But for several people here in Florida, that trust may have been broken by one particular judge. That's because, according to a lawsuit filed recently, Circuit Judge Linda Schoonover may not have presided over some cases as fairly as she should have. This could mean that the outcomes in several cases, including seven divorce and child custody cases, may be up for dispute and could lead to further litigation.
The lawsuit against Schoonover claims that her behavior as of late may have impacted the outcomes in several cases including one where the judge reached out on Facebook to a woman whose case Schoonover was deciding on. In another case, she is accused of "refusing to listen to the testimony of a litigant because 'he annoyed her'."
In an August hearing, Schoonover was charged with 36 counts of improper conduct. She has since moved to have all of the charges dismissed because three of the allegations have already been removed from court documents.
It's unknown at this time if the courts will take this misconduct into consideration or if it could lead to new litigation for cases she has already decided on.
Sources: The Orlando Sentinel, "Facebooking judge asks state to toss out ethics charges against her," Rene Stutzman, Aug. 31, 2014
The Raw Story, "‘Paranoid’ FL divorce judge accused of punishing woman who refused Facebook ‘friend’ request," Scott Kaufman, Sept. 1, 2014