IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY

JOSEPH OBANDO

          Petitioner,

v.                                          Case No. 01-4730 CI – 88B

CHRISTOPHER WRIGHT, in his capacity as Hearing Officer
for DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR VEHICLES,
DIVISION OF DRIVER’S LICENSES,

        Respondent.

___________________________________/

Opinion filed ________________.

Petition for writ of prohibition seeking review of a decision of the DHSMV

Jeffrey Brown, Esq.
Attorney for petitioner

Rhonda Diamond, Esq.
Attorney for respondent

ORDER AND OPINION

            THIS MATTER is before the Court on Joseph Obando’s petition for writ of prohibition. After reviewing the petition and response, this Court denies the petition.

            The petitioner seeks review of a decision of the DHSMV’s hearing officer to deny a motion for disqualification. The petitioner claims that the hearing officer should have disqualified himself from hearing his case because he believed the officer was prejudiced against his attorney. As grounds for the alleged prejudice the petitioner cites to a previous proceeding in which both the officer and the attorney participated. Those proceedings, were the subject of a previous review conducted by this Court. This Court ruled in favor of the petitioner in that case, and found the hearing officer’s actions to be error. The appropriate writ was entered. There is no reason for this Court to believe that the hearing officer will not abide by this Court’s ruling. The mere fact that in a previous hearing a hearing officer made an error, and that error was corrected after review, does not support a conclusion that the hearing officer is prejudiced against the attorney raising the error.

            The petitioner raises one other ground in support of his motion to disqualify. He claims that his attorney has filed a grievance with the Florida Bar against the hearing officer alleging the unauthorized practice of law. In support of his argument that this alone mandates disqualification, the petitioner cites the case of 5-H Corporation v. Phillip J. Padovano, Judge, 708 So.2d 244 (Fla. 1998). The petitioner, however, has badly misread that case. The case does not support the petitioner’s position. In fact, it clearly states that “a Florida judge’s report of perceived attorney unprofessionalism to the Florida Bar (or, conversely, an attorney’s report of perceived judicial unprofessionalism to the JQC) is, in and of itself, legally insufficient to support that judge’s disqualification.” Id. at 246.

            IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the petition is denied.

            DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at St.Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida this 16th day of October, 2001.

                                                                       

________________________
David A. Demers
Circuit Judge, Appellate Division

cc:   Jeffrey Brown, Esq.

        Rhonda Diamond, Esq.