VOTE NOW FOR THE BEST OF ORLANDO® 2021!

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Florida's 'Grim Reaper' lawyer Daniel Uhlfelder could face discipline over lawsuits, comments against Gov. Ron DeSantis

Posted By on Wed, Mar 31, 2021 at 10:10 AM

click to enlarge SCREEN CAPTURE COURTESY YOUTUBE USER AUSTIN KELLERMAN
  • Screen capture courtesy YouTube user Austin Kellerman

A Northwest Florida attorney who drew national headlines by dressing as the Grim Reaper to criticize Gov. Ron DeSantis’ response to the coronavirus pandemic faces possible discipline after prosecutors filed a motion last week.

The motion, filed in Walton County, came after a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal took the rare step of ordering State Attorney Ginger Bowden Madden to pursue discipline against Santa Rosa Beach Daniel Uhlfelder.



The motion asked a judge to “set proceedings in this case” according to rules that allow judges to seek discipline against lawyers. But it did not spell out what type of discipline Bowden Madden’s office is pursuing.

The issue stems from an unsuccessful lawsuit —- and a subsequent appeal —- that Uhlfelder filed last year to try to force DeSantis to close beaches amid the pandemic. A three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled that Uhlfelder’s appeal appeared to be “frivolous and/or filed in bad faith.”

The appeals court also asked The Florida Bar to consider imposing sanctions against Uhlfelder because of the appeal, which prompted the attorney to be quoted in the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper as saying, “I do find it interesting that this opinion attacking my critiques of Gov. DeSantis appeared just two days after I launched a (political) committee to remove Ron DeSantis.”

That comment caused the Tallahassee-based appeals court to direct Bowden Madden to pursue discipline. In the motion filed last week, Assistant State Attorney Anne N. Izzo accused Uhlfelder of “violating rules of professional conduct” for lawyers “as well as violating the oath of admission to The Florida Bar.”

In a status report filed Tuesday, Izzo wrote that Uhlfelder has until April 12 to respond to the charges and that an evidentiary hearing in his case had not been set. According to Walton County court records, three judges from the 1st Judicial Circuit were recused from the case, which is now assigned to Santa Rosa County Circuit Judge Scott Duncan.



Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly newsletters, and consider supporting this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you Central Florida news, and every little bit helps.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 21, 2021

View more issues

Calendar

© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation