INQUIRY CONCERNING A JUDGE NO. 19-101 & NO. 19-175 RE: Robin C. LEMONIDIS.
Original Proceeding - Judicial Qualifications Commission
Krista Marx, Chair, and Alexander J. Williams, General
Counsel, Judicial Qualifications Commission, Tallahassee,
Florida; for Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission,
Lindsey of Lindsey & Ferry, P.A., Winter Park, Florida, for
Judge Robin Lemonidis, Respondent
case, we review the findings and recommendation of the
Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) concerning
misconduct by Judge Robin C. Lemonidis of the Eighteenth
Judicial Circuit, as well as a stipulation entered into by
Judge Lemonidis and the JQC. We have jurisdiction.
See art. V, § 12, Fla. Const. For the reasons
explained below, we accept the stipulation and approve the
JQCs findings and recommended sanctions.
case stems from Judge Lemonidiss conduct in two incidents
that occurred in proceedings related to two different
matters: State v. Francis, 052016CF012745AXXXXX, and
State v. Welch, 052000CF044961AXXXXX. The first
incident occurred during the Francis trial. In
response to defense counsels violation of courtroom
rules— specifically, his failure to "address[ ]
all participants by their surname[s]"— Judge
Lemonidis employed an "adversarial tone and demeanor
when" speaking to "the defendant and his
attorney." On at least five separate occasions,
"Judge Lemonidis repeatedly and loudly struck her
gavel" while admonishing defense counsel for using only
the defendants first name. Early in the proceedings, Judge
Lemonidis was warned that a juror had been overheard
"commenting about [her] treatment of the defense
counsel." But she continued to reprimand defense counsel
in full view of the jury, often using "facial
expressions and a tone of voice" that indicated her
frustration. Judge Lemonidis behaved similarly in her
interactions with witnesses and others involved in the
proceedings, "at times appearing openly annoyed ... by
the person she was addressing."
second incident occurred as "Judge Lemonidis presided
over a retrial of the penalty phase" in Welch .
The defendant had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of
first-degree murder, for which the State sought the death
penalty. When the jury declined to recommend the death
penalty, Judge Lemonidis held a sentencing hearing.
the hearing, Judge Lemonidis listened to impact statements
from the victims family members before "impos[ing] the
legally required life sentences." Judge Lemonidis made
the following remarks during the sentencing colloquy:
And uh sir, I cannot disagree with a single thing that [the
victims family member] said and Im glad she said it.
[Other impact speakers] are far more gracious soul[s] than a
person like you deserves. And that is something youre going
to get to ponder for the rest of your miserable life. There
is a Chinese proverb, do good, reap good, do evil, reap
evil— which section will you sit in sir? Theres no
doubt in my mind. And I tend to ...