TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — A Northwest Florida judge has refused to toss out a lawsuit seeking possible sanctions against a Santa Rosa County attorney who drew national attention for dressing as the Grim Reaper to criticize Gov. Ron DeSantis’ handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Prosecutors in March filed a motion in Walton County to pursue sanctions against lawyer Daniel Uhlfelder, who traveled throughout the state in the macabre costume to call attention to issues such as the Republican governor’s refusal to close beaches amid the pandemic.
The probe into possible sanctions came at the direction of a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal, which took the rare step of ordering State Attorney Ginger Bowden Madden to pursue discipline against Uhlfelder.
Uhlfelder’s lawyer, Richard Greenberg, asked Santa Rosa County Circuit Judge Scott Duncan to dismiss the case, arguing that the appeals court’s order for the possible sanctions fails to comply with a disciplinary rule cited by the three-judge panel.
The seldom-used rule allows judges to direct state attorneys to file a motion seeking discipline if a lawyer “has been guilty of any unprofessional act” laid out in Florida Bar regulations.
During a June 7 hearing on Uhlfelder’s request to have the case dismissed, Greenberg told Duncan that the appeals court’s order does not comply with the rule…