The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) has submitted its third batch of proposed sanctions against Miami-Dade County Court Judge Maria D. Ortiz, charged with violating the judicial code of conduct by accepting free hotel stays with her husband, a government official who allegedly took them as bribes.
The JQC charged Ortiz with ethics violations in May, while her husband lost his job and faces corruption charges.
The justices said no to the last two stipulations, ruling they weren’t harsh enough.
This time, Ortiz has swapped a 30-day suspension without pay for a 90-day stint. The judge has also agreed to cover the JQC’s court costs, pay a $5,000 fine and undergo a public reprimand.
In the agreement, Ortiz admitted that she failed to inquire about how hotel stays in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Miami Beach were paid for, while the JQC conceded that it would likely be unable to prove the judge intentionally violated the judicial canons.
JQC attorney Alex Williams declined to comment on the case. Ortiz’s lawyer, David B. Rothman of Rothman & Associates in Miami, did not respond to requests for comment before deadline.
The high court is likely to accept the agreement, as Justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis, Peggy Quince, Ricky Polston and Jorge Labarga recommended the 90-day supension in a per curiam opinion on Friday.
Read the full stipulation: