Florida Judge Punished for Viewing Porn on the Job

Gretchen Gallen
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Paying the piper for his penchant for viewing online pornography in his chambers, a judge has been given an official reprimand by the Florida Supreme Court and warned that any further porn misconduct will end in immediate dismissal.

Citing ethical violations that occurred between 2002 and 2005, Judge Brandt C. Downey III, a county and circuit court judge since 1984, stands accused by the Judicial Qualifications Commission of three counts of misconduct, in particular for porn surfing on the courthouse computer.

The commission found that judge’s porn viewing habits led to frequent computer virus outbreaks on the courthouse network, and that he patently ignored warnings from IT personnel to stay away from certain sites that would spur computer infections.

Additionally, the judge stands accused of exposing other courthouse employees to pornographic images, including a judicial assistant who was present in the judge’s chambers while his computer was being cleared of all porn-generated viruses.

The judge also was reprimanded for his romantic pursuits of a courthouse attorney and subsequent sexual harassment of her after she spurned his advances.

“Was great seeing you last night and again today – U looked good enuf to…Oh well, wishful thinking. CU soon I hope,” one of the judge’s notes read.

In addition to restricted email and Internet access, the commission has asked for the judge to retire by January 2007, provide a formal letter of apology, and seek psychological counseling. He also is forbidden to ever seek appointment as a judge.