In his first year on the bench in 1991, Sloop was investigated by the JQC for misconduct in an eviction proceeding and for displaying a firearm in court. That investigation concluded with a private admonishment. In 2002, the JQC investigated Sloop for rude and abusive behavior. Sloop acknowledged that other judges had warned him about his temper, and that’s what the JQC did.
In 2004, the JQC initiated an investigation based on three separate incidents. First, Sloop had declined to release a defendant as required by the rules of court. Second, in one case he was “rude, abrupt, abusive in [the] ... treatment of the defendant, acting more like a prosecutor than a [county] court judge.” Sloop admitted to both counts.
Then on December 3, 2004, Sloop issued arrest warrants for “11 traffic defendants who had not answered [a] ... docket call, but who were in fact, properly in an adjoining courtroom pursuant to their summonses or the direction of the judicial deputy sheriffs or bailiffs.” After being informed of the circumstances, Sloop proceeded to have the warrants carried out, had the defendants arrested, initially declined to release them, and only ordered their release after other judges interceded. [See: PLN, July 2007, p.16].
The Supreme Court found that Sloop’s behavior reflected a “callous disregard for others,” which made him unfit for office. After ordering Sloop removed from the bench, the Court apologized to the eleven citizens who had been subjected to his misconduct. See: In re Sloop, 946 So.2d 1046 (Fla. 2006), rehearing denied.
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