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Florida Supreme Court reprimands, suspends St. Lucie Judge Yacucci


The Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday publicly reprimanded a St. Lucie County judge who was engaged in a long-running battle with an attorney that included an altercation between the men.

In presenting the reprimand, Chief Justice Jorge Labarga said St. Lucie County Judge Philip Yacucci acted improperly in the dispute with attorney Stephen Smith, including refusing to recuse himself in a case involving Smith.

» RELATED: More Florida government news

The Supreme Court also imposed a 30-day suspension without pay after a panel of the state Judicial Qualifications Commission investigated Yacucci’s actions.

Labarga said Yacucci had “failed to show regret or remorse” during the disciplinary proceedings.

The dispute between Yacucci and Smith included the judge in 2014 finding Smith in contempt of court and having him jailed for five days, according to documents in the investigation.

Smith ran against Yacucci in a 2014 election that the Supreme Court described as “highly combative.” The campaign included an altercation between the two men outside a polling place.

After the election, Yacucci said he would recuse himself from Smith’s cases but in September 2016 refused a request for recusal.

Yacucci stood silently Wednesday as he received the reprimand.



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