Kathleen Mary McHugh

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Kathleen Mary McHugh
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Current Court Information:
Broward County Court, Florida
Title:   Judge
Position:   Group 6
Alternative court:   Florida Seventeenth Circuit Court
Active:   1/2013 - 1/2019
Past position:   Attorney in private practice
Personal History
Undergraduate:   Florida State University
Law School:   Nova Southeastern Universit
Candidate 2012:
Candidate for:  Broward County Court
State:  Florida
Election information 2012:
Incumbent:  No
Primary date:  August 14, 2012
Primary vote:  55.6%ApprovedA
Election vote:  ApprovedA

Kathleen Mary McHugh is a judge for the Broward County Court of Florida. She was elected to the court in 2012 and took office in January of 2013 for a term that expires in January of 2019.[1] She also serves in the 17th Circuit Court's Domestic Violence Division.[2]


McHugh received her undergraduate degree from Florida State University and her J.D. from Nova Southeastern University.[3]


Prior to her election to the County Court in 2012, McHugh spent 15 years as a private practice attorney. Prior to that, she was a public defender.[4]

2012 election

McHugh ran for election on August 14, 2012 and defeated Ilene Lieberman with 55.6% of the vote.[1][5]

See also: Florida judicial elections, 2012

Notable cases

Judge rejects NFL player's plea deal after he slaps his attorney on the backside

Former NFL star Chad Johnson was denied a plea deal by Judge Kathleen Mary McHugh after patting his attorney on the backside. Johnson violated terms of his probation in 2012, after a domestic violence dispute with his wife, Basketball Wives star Evelyn Lozada, by not showing up for meetings or completing counseling.

On June 10, 2013, Johnson and his attorney. Adam Swickle, had almost settled a no-jail plea bargain with Judge McHugh when she suggested that Johnson thank his attorney for his excellent work. Johnson, reverting back to his back to his days on the field, tapped Swickle on the rear. This provoked laughter from the audience, to which the judge responded,

I don't know that you're taking this whole thing seriously. I just saw you slap your attorney on the backside. Is there something funny about this? The whole courtroom was laughing. I'm not going to accept these plea negotiations. This isn't a joke.[6][7]
Johnson explained he wasn't trying to be funny, but it was too late. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi weighed in on the case, stating

Although we never condone domestic violence, this event seems to question judicial temperament, not the subject matter before the court.[8][7]

Roger Groves, a professor of law at the Florida Coastal School of Law, wrote in an article for Forbes that McHugh overreacted and should apologize.[9][10]

UPDATE: Judge McHugh released Johnson on June 17 after he apologized. She shortened his sentence to the 7 days he had already served in jail. Johnson stated, "I just wanted to apologize for disrespecting the court last time."[11]

Click here to see a video of the incident (dead link)''

See also

External links


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