Judge accused of misconduct believes there's nothing wrong with remaining on the bench

Judge denies sexual relationship with bailiff

BARTOW, Fla. - One of the two judges at the center of the courthouse scandal in Polk County believes there's nothing wrong with remaining on the bench, even after a scathing report from the state attorney.

Investigators spent nearly two months looking into allegations that Judge Susan Flood had an inappropriate and sexual relationship with her Bailiff, Bubba Maxcy.

In the end, State Attorney Jerry Hill said Judge Flood never broke the law, but "she ignorantly thought that as a judge, she was free to do what she wanted, when she wanted," he wrote in a 60-page report.

Judge Flood denies her relationship what Maxcy was sexual, but admitted to kissing him and hanging out for hours alone in her judicial chambers.

Judge Flood, who earns more than $137,000 a year, remains on the job even after the state attorney stated, "she should answer for her behavior."

When reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, Judge Flood said "I do not think it's wrong to remain on the bench because I've never been accused of anything criminal. I take my job very seriously and no one has accused me otherwise."

She said she would love to respond to the state attorney's report, but said it's inappropriate at this time.

An attorney for the Judicial Qualifications Commission, which oversees Florida judges, acknowledged the situation but told ABC Action News that all complaints are confidential. The group only meets every six weeks, so the earliest they would take up the investigation is early October.

Meanwhile, as a result of the same investigation, Judge Beth Harlan remains on paid leave after getting arrested on Friday for allowing her only employee to falsify time sheets.

That makes two elected judges accused of questionable behavior, who are still raking in taxpayers dollars.

State Senator Denise Grimsley, whose district covers part of Polk County, told ABC Action News that preserving public confidence in the court should be the immediate concern for all parities involved.

"Judges, like legislators and other office holders, are held to a standard of integrity and accountability. A number of agencies will examine the evidence in the days ahead and make appropriate decisions. The state constitution prescribes that process relating to judicial behavior. But even judges are innocent until proven guilty," she said.
 

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