The Miami judge accused of bashing in a man’s windshield in the Florida Keys has been temporarily moved from the criminal division.
The decision was announced Thursday – days after dozens of defendants asked that Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Victoria Brennan be removed from their cases because she failed to publicly disclose her scrape with the law in Monroe County.
Brennan is still technically facing the possibility of an arrest for misdemeanor criminal mischief, but the victim has already said he no longer wants to prosecute because the judge paid him restitution for the broken windshield.
Back on Jan. 28, Brennan had traveled to Key Largo when her teenage son was arrested after an alleged hit-and-run crash. She came across three of his pals drinking at a home she owns in Key Largo, and got into a profanity-laced exchange while trying to kick them out, according to a police report.
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According to Monroe deputies, Brennan used a metal pipe to shatter the truck windshield of a 20-year-old Victor Garcia. A few days later, a Key West judge signed an arrest warrant and deputies called her chambers trying to arrange her surrender.
But Brennan had gone on vacation out of town. Over the course of the next few weeks, her defense lawyer approached the truck’s owner, who agreed to sign an affidavit agreeing not to prosecute.
Deputies called the Key West judge seeking to withdraw the warrant, which had yet to be entered into the clerk of courts computer system. But the judge put the case in limbo after Monroe County State Attorney Catherine Vogel, a former co-worker of Brennan’s at the Miami-Dade prosecutors’ office, recused her agency.
Prosecutors in Lee County are now reviewing the case. The matter stayed out of the limelight until the Miami Herald and the Keynoter detailed the allegations earlier this month.
Earlier this week, clients of the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office began filing motions asking that Brennan remove herself from the case, saying they felt she would not be fair and impartial after her run-in with the law.
Two days later, Miami-Dade Chief Judge Bertila Soto issued an “administrative order” reassigning Brennan to the dependency division in juvenile court. The assignment is not permanent – she’ll return to the criminal bench after Dec. 31, unless otherwise ordered, according to the chief judge.
Brennan, 53, has been a circuit judge since 2011.