In a grossly ironic twist, a Broward County, Florida drug court judge was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence on Friday morning.
Gisele Pollack, who is also a circuit judge, has a history of substance abuse; in fact, just one month ago, she went on leave to deal with her “personal problems” (I assume that means her alcoholism?) after slurring her speech and behaving strangely in the courtroom. She went on leave and checked into an outpatient program. That followed another unfortunate-sounding meltdown in December that involved her reportedly showing up drunk at work. When colleagues tried to stop her from going to the bench in her condition, she allegedly responded, “Fuck you, you’re fired.” Sounds like a winner, and a charmer!
Alcoholism Doesn’t Discriminate
All kidding aside, this news is sad more than anything else, at least to me. It just goes to show how insidious alcoholism is as a disease (or condition, if you prefer that term): how absolutely anyone can be dealing with the private pain and misery of being hooked on something that’s slowly killing them. In short, if a drug court judge can be a serious alike, it seems legit to reason that anyone else can, too.
Pollack’s job could obviously be affected by this latest legal kerfuffle, and rightfully so. Although the article says most people are viewing her addiction issues with sympathy, it seems pretty obvious that something will shift at her job because of this. And it probably should. I’d be truly surprised if she got off with a wrist slap here. Her lawyer is pleading for public concern instead of a public outcry, saying (er, making excuses?), “She’s been battling a lot of demons from issues with her son to the death of her mother, which have been very, very traumatic for her…I know she’s a judge and they want to hold her to a higher standard, but hold her to the standard of a human being like anyone else.”
Something in the Water
Oddly, Pollack isn’t the only Broward County judge to get arrested for a DUI; last year, a judge named Cynthia Imperato was also arrested for the same crime, and a male judge, Lawrence Korda, was arrested once for smoking pot in a public park. Ah, Florida.