McFarlain to lead Judicial Qualifications Commission

first_img October 15, 2002 Associate Editor Regular News McFarlain to lead Judicial Qualifications Commission McFarlain to lead Judicial Qualifications Commission Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Richard McFarlain — the governor’s quick-witted golf partner, former general counsel of the Republican Party, former chief legislative counsel to The Florida Bar, and now general counsel of Florida State University—has a new role the first of the year.McFarlain has been elected chair of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the constitutional state agency that investigates ethics complaints against state court judges and recommends discipline to the Florida Supreme Court. His two-year term begins January 1, 2003.“It’s the first time I’ve ever been elected to anything,” quipped McFarlain, 69.Elected as vice chair for the same term was First Judicial Circuit Judge John P. Kuder of Pensacola.First District Court of Appeal Judge James Wolf, the JQC’s current chair, nominated McFarlain, who was elected by the JQC at a meeting held in Tampa September 12.“Richard has a lot of experience both as a member, and he has both prosecuted cases and defended a number of judges. He knows the workings of the commission as well as anyone,” Judge Wolf said.“He’s an experienced lawyer who knows what goes on in the courtroom. And he’s one of the smartest lawyers I’ve met.”McFarlain began his work with the JQC in 1978, when he was retained as a special counsel to prosecute judges and continued in that role through 1984.At that point, McFarlain said, “I decided to switch sides. I guess I represented a judge or two every year until I came to FSU.”Last year, McFarlain became general counsel of FSU, where, he said, “I learn something new three times a day. It’s like a city of 35,000 people, most under age 25, and 1,800 with Ph.Ds.”He’ll still keep his challenging day job, while chairing the JQC — a sideline Judge Wolf said takes him about eight hours a week to accomplish.“It’s time-consuming,” Judge Wolf said. “People don’t realize what goes on behind the scenes. It’s very interesting and sometimes very stressful to do the right thing.”McFarlain said a large number of cases are about “people cranky about losing a case.”But he knows the solemnity of standing beside judges seriously reprimanded, too, shielding them from reporters’ questions as they left the Florida Supreme Court in shame.Before graduating from Stetson College of Law in 1964, McFarlain served as a top secret control officer with the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in 1955-56, then served in Army Intelligence at The Pentagon, in 1956-58, followed by a stint as budget analyst with the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in 1958-62.After he got his law degree, McFarlain worked at the Bar, first as assistant staff counsel from 1965-69, then as assistant executive director for legal affairs from 1969-76.On loan as special counsel for the American Bar Association Center for Professional Responsibility, McFarlain was involved during the Watergate Investigation in Washington, D.C., from 1973-74.He became general counsel for the Republican Party of Florida in 1990 and was often quoted in worldwide media accounts of the presidential election fiasco of 2000.last_img

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