Casey Anthony judge to handle local criminal cases against judge and former assistant
Supreme Court appointed Judge Belvin Perry
11:56 AM, Sep 25, 2013
2:32 PM, Sep 25, 2013
BARTOW, Fla. - The Florida judge who presided over the Casey Anthony murder trial has been selected by the Supreme Court to handle the Polk County cases of Judge Beth Harlan and her former judicial assistant Alisha Rupp.
Chief Judge Bruce Smith confirmed Wednesday that Judge Belvin Perry of the 9th Judicial Circuit will handle the two local cases to avoid a conflict of interest.
Earlier this month, the state attorney's office charged Judge Harlan with scheming to defraud taxpayers and grand theft, alleging that she knowingly allowed Rupp, her judicial assistant, to falsify timesheets.
At the same time, deputies also arrested Rupp on charges that include scheming to defraud, perjury, and filing a false police report.
Chief Judge Smith fired Rupp earlier this summer for the time sheet discrepancies.
The state attorney's office opened an investigation after Rupp held a press conference with her attorney claiming sexual harassment and even abuse at the courthouse involving Judge Susan Flood and her bailiff, Bubba Maxcy.
Rupp alleged Judge Flood and her bailiff maintained an inappropriate relationship in the office. She even claims she walked in on them having sex on the judge's desk.
Judge Flood denies all claims and has not been charged with a crime.
State Attorney Jerry Hill wrote in the report, "all four individuals... have brought shame to the circuit court."
Although Flood did not break the law, Hill wrote, "Judge Flood should answer to the public, her fellow judges, and the Judicial Qualifications Commission, for her behavior."
Judge Flood remains on the bench.
Judge Harlan took a voluntary paid suspension, until the criminal charges are resolved.
Bailiff Bubba Maxcy has since been transferred to the jail, while the sheriff's office does its own internal investigation.