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Lust, lies and disorder in court

Sworn statements of judges show a bizarre conflict playing out behind the scenes.

TALLAHASSEE — Rarely do outsiders get an inside peek at how judges work together. But last week, judges on the state’s biggest and most powerful appeal court testified about one another. It was not a pretty sight.

They described a court where judges of the 1st District Court of Appeal have accused each other of lying, having affairs with court employees, threats and playing games of “chicken.” Former Chief Judge Charles J. Kahn Jr. was described as “volatile,” “duplicitous” and “schizoid.” They called him a liar, given to temper tantrums.

The marshal who has provided court security for more than 25 years testified that he arranged to have extra law enforcement officers attend a ceremonial event after they heard that Kahn was getting a concealed weapons permit and a handgun.

The marshal said two other judges decided to get guns at the same time. Kahn says he never did get a gun permit but did learn how to shoot at a pistol range in Sopchoppy.

As acrimony between the judges spiraled out of control, the marshal put a lock on the judge’s robing room to keep Kahn from getting in during the ceremony.

And Kahn is not even the one on trial.
By LUCY MORGAN, Times Senior Correspondent
Published February 3, 2008

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