Judge Angel A. Cortinas, Third District Court of Appeal (J. Albert Diaz)
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on Monday turned down a request by the Miccosukee Indian tribe to reinstate former state appellate Judge Angel Cortiñas as its attorney.
Cortiñas was disqualified Thursday by U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke at a sanctions hearing in Miami. Cooke determined Cortiñas, now a Gunster partner, heard related cases while a judge on the Third District Court of Appeal.
The sanctions request arose from the tribe’s dismissed racketeering lawsuit against its former longtime lawyers Dexter Lehtinen, Guy Lewis, Michael Tein and others. The former tribal attorneys alleged the tribe’s current attorney, Bernardo Roman III, filed the lawsuit knowing it contained false allegations.
Cortiñas was retained days before Cooke’s hearing as part of the tribe’s new defense team.
A three-judge Eleventh Circuit panel denied a writ of mandamus brought by the tribe and its attorneys.
“After thorough review, we find that the tribe and its attorneys have failed to demonstrate that the circumstances about which they complain amount to an ‘extraordinary situation’ demonstrating a ‘clear and indisputable’ right to the issuance of the writ,” the federal appellate court said in a two-page order.