We have for review a referee’s report recommending that respondent Ana I. Gardiner be found guilty of professional misconduct in violation of the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar (Bar Rules) and suspended from the practice of law for one year. The Florida Bar filed a notice of its intent to seek review of the referee’s report, challenging the referee’s recommended sanction and urging the Court to disbar Gardiner from the practice of law. We have jurisdiction. See art. V, § 15, Fla. Const. As discussed below, we approve the referee’s findings of fact and recommendations as to guilt. However, we disapprove the referee’s recommendation as to discipline. Considering Gardiner’s dishonest conduct and the harm that her actions have caused to the administration of justice in a capital first-degree murder case, we conclude that disbarment is the appropriate sanction.I'm struck by how often these people wanted to communicate with each other:
Beginning with their conversation on March 27, the referee found that Gardiner and Scheinberg commenced a “significant personal and emotional relationship.” Between March 23 and August 24, 2007, the day that Gardiner imposed a sentence of death, she and Scheinberg exchanged 949 cell phone calls and 471 text messages. In particular, on the day before, the day of, and the day following Gardiner’s actual imposition of the death sentence, she and Scheinberg communicated by phone and text 44 times. The referee further found that Gardiner deliberately and knowingly chose not to disclose this emotional relationship to the defense, despite her clear duty to do so.They say communication is key to a solid relationship, but come on.