Broward Circuit Judge Cynthia Imperato is standing trial on reckless driving & DUI strikes. The defendant’s case is being heard over two days from Dec. 16th. The judge reportedly isn’t in favor of the Palm Beach County jury gaining knowledge of her position as a judge.
Imperato had expressed concerns through her lawyer about the chances of not getting a fair trial if the jurors were aware of her occupation, believing that citizens do not expect judges and attorneys to disobey the law since they are usually held in high regard. However, her request was turned down by Judge Mark Eissey.
Booked for Drunk and Dangerous Driving
57 year old Judge Imperato was arrested on Nov. 5th, 2013 in Boca Raton after police found her weaving on the roadway, and nearly causing an accident. The veteran judge was seen driving a white Mercedes Benz erratically on Northeast Second Street off Federal Highway.
Another motorist called 911 to report the white Mercedes after which she was pulled over in the 2400 block of West Palmetto Park Road. She was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol but refused to take a breath test. Imperato also refused to get out of the car and said she was going to call her attorney. She was arrested and booked into jail, and was released in the morning.
A Second DUI
According to drunk driving Lake City, FL. attorneys, the judge could request a hearing with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to challenge her suspension even though refusal to take a blood test leads to an automatic suspension of her driver’s license. State records indicate that this was Imperato’s second DUI.
She was first booked for drunk driving in 1988. Hours before her second arrest, she had attended a social legal function hosted by a group of civil trial attorneys that included the County Justice Association and the Palm Beach County Justice Association, at a Boca Raton Italian restaurant.
A Discriminatory Position
In his unsuccessful bid to block any mention of Imperato’s occupation during the trial, the judge’s attorney said the prosecutor was likely to make her position the focus of the trial. According to her attorney, this would place his client in a discriminatory position with the jury while she had the right to a fair trial based on facts and not on her occupation.
A list of several attorneys who were at the social function and motorist, William Barthelme, who called 911 after seeing Imperato’s Mercedes swerving dangerously on North Federal Highway in Boca Raton, are included among the prosecutor’s witness list.
A Tarnished Career
The prosecutor has appealed to have the 911 tape presented during the trial in order to establish a crucial factor in Imperato’s drunk driving criminal charge. The dash cam video on the night the judge was arrested by Boca Raton police was released by investigators around 10 days after the incident. According to drunk driving Lake City, FL. attorneys who have been closely watching the case, the judge was removed from criminal cases and was presiding over foreclosures after her arrest and release.