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Judge Seeks Pay While in Treatment

Jail mugshot
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Broward County Judge Gisele Pollack, accused of presiding in court twice while drunk and arrested on charges of driving under the influence, says she should be paid while she is suspended from office and getting treatment for alcoholism.

As the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports, Pollack's attorney has filed a petition with the Florida Supreme Court arguing that alcoholism qualifies as a disability. The petition says: "A suspension without pay will work an onerous hardship and be emotionally debilitating as she struggles to overcome this disability and disease. If (she) had been suffering from cancer or another disability that required her to be out of office in treatment or therapy, such a restriction would not have been appropriate."

An employment law specialist interviewed by the Sun Sentinel said it's an interesting argument, but the accusation that she was drunk while at work may give the court pause. Another factor: It's not clear the treatment will work; she went through the same residential alcohol treatment program in Gainesville before and left without completing it, the Sun Sentinel reports.

Pollack was one of three Broward judges to be arrested on a DUI charge in the past six months.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.