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Judge Takes Deal For Using Marijuana


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A Broward County judge apologized in court Monday for smoking marijuana in a Hollywood, Fla., park, cutting a deal on his misdemeanor drug case but leaving his judicial career in jeopardy.

Circuit Judge Lawrence Korda soon could face tough questions from the state's judicial watchdog agency - ranging from where he got the marijuana to how often he has used the illegal drug. The Judicial Qualifications Commission could recommend that the Florida Supreme Court remove the veteran judge from the bench.

The agreement Korda reached with prosecutors should make Monday his first - and last - court appearance as a criminal defendant. Korda's arrest gained national attention because it came just three weeks after he briefly handled part of the paternity battle over Anna Nicole Smith's daughter.

The misdemeanor possession of marijuana charge will be dismissed against Korda in November if he stays clean during six months of random drug testing and performs 25 hours of community service. He already finished a drug and alcohol awareness course that was part of the agreement reached with the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, which Gov. Charlie Crist specially assigned to prosecute the case.

If Korda fails a drug test, he will have to face the charge and possible jail time.

Korda's deal is typical for a first-time offender arrested on a marijuana possession charge, according to local defenselawyers. It is called a deferred prosecution agreement with the judge making no findings and the case being resolved without a formal plea.

A judge for 28 1/2 years, Korda apologized to his colleagues across the state for any embarrassment he caused the judiciary.

Newshawk: CoZmO - 420Magazine.com
Source: The Ledger (FL)
Copyright: 2007 The Ledger
Website: The Ledger: Florida
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