Polk judge ensnarled in scandal announces her resignation; state attorney drops case against her

BARTOW, Fla. - Judge Beth Harlan has informed Governor Rick Scott that she is stepping down from the bench.

Deputies arrested Judge Harlan last year following an investigation by the state attorney's office. She's accused of allowing her judicial assistant to get paid for time she did not work.

Harlan faced a third degree felony for "aiding or abetting grand theft," but this morning the Assistant State Attorney Brian Haas confirmed they dropped the case against her after receiving a copy of her resignation letter.

In her brief letter to the governor, Judge Harlan asks him to "please accept this letter as notification of my retirement effective April 4, 2014 as a circuit judge of the Tenth Judicial Circuit."

Judge Harlan has been on a "voluntary suspension" since her arrest in September.

The case against her former judicial assistant, Alisha Rupp, continues. Last Friday, the state attorney added 13 new counts of forgery by making a false public record.

She still faces a third-degree felony of grand theft and a misdemeanor charge of making a false report.

In addition to falsifying her time sheet, investigators say Rupp falsely reported that a bailiff threatened her for refusing to have sex with him.

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