Ana Gardiner avoided a misconduct complaint by resigning as a judge and agreeing never to seek the position again, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported. She was a Circuit Court judge in Broward County.
Palm Beach County Circuit Judge David Crow, in a report Tuesday to the state Supreme Court, recommended sanctions against Gardiner for not disclosing to the defense "the honest and true nature of her relationship" with Assistant State Attorney Howard Scheinberg. Crow found Gardiner and Scheinberg had a close relationship during the 2007 trial that included 949 cellphone calls and 471 text messages.
"I find the misconduct at issue involves dishonesty and deceit," Crow said, adding that Gardiner also was dishonest with a state investigator about the relationship.
Crow was named a special referee by the Florida Bar. The state Supreme Court will make the final decision.
Crow said he did not recommend disbarring Gardiner because she has already suffered public humiliation and the loss of her judgeship and shows "genuine remorse" for her conduct.