Miami judge off case after having photo taken of mayor testifying in his courtroom

12/09/2012 1:51 PM

12/09/2012 5:41 PM

A judge has removed himself from a city lawsuit case after Miami’s police union complained he had an aide snap a photo of Mayor Tomás Regalado testifying in his court.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Spencer Eig agreed to recuse himself in a lawsuit filed by the Fraternal Order of Police against Miami. The union alleges the city violated the state’s Sunshine Law by allowing “unauthorized individuals” to attend a close-door meeting two years ago.

Last month, Regalado was testifying in Eig’s courtroom when a courtroom employee used a camera phone to snap a photo of the mayor, on the witness stand, testifying next to Eig.

An FOP lawyer then asked that Eig remove himself from the case, citing a fear that the photo op meant the judge might harbor “bias and favoritism toward the city.”

Late last month, Eig agreed, saying he was stepping down “in order to assure the judicial appearance of total impartiality,” according to his order.

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