Larry Seidlin (born May 24, 1950 in The Bronx, New York) was a State Court judge for the Circuit Court of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit of the State of Florida in and for Broward County. He was the presiding judge during the infamous Anna Nicole Smith body custody hearing after her death. Seidlin is married with one young daughter.
Among other institutions Seidlin received his education at Hunter College.
Anna Nicole Smith trial
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As judge during the Anna Nicole Smith body custody hearing, Judge Seidlin was involved in some controversial actions, such as making one-liners and other attempts at humor which some who know him said is normal for him, but led many to speculate that his actions and comments were for the cameras in the courtroom and were made as an attempt to secure a courtroom television show similar to Judge Judy's. The judgment was given in what some have viewed as an overly theatrical style, with the Judge weeping and fumbling his words, though others close to him have said that his courtroom conduct was genuine.
However, South Florida lawyers advise that Seidlin has always been a bit of a comical judge. His courtroom antics serve to relax the participants in the process. Known locally as "lightning larry," Seidlin is known to get through a morning docket in under 15 minutes. A trial takes 5 minutes or less. In juvenile cases, he has been known to give "stern warnings" where appropriate. Seidlin has come under fire for giving his friends all public appointments for which they get several hundred dollars apiece. However, this is commonplace among Broward County attorneys. Currently the law has changed and there is a wheel system wherein judges have no discretion to appoint attorneys of their choice.
Seidlin came under criticism in the legal community for his handling of the Smith case, and more recently came under fire for other behavior. In February 2007, WSVN-TV Channel 7 reported Seidlin took three-hour lunch breaks on the four days in April that he was tailed by the station's investigative team. WSVN also showed that he was at a tennis club by 4 p.m. on three of the four days he was watched. He declined to comment for the TV report.
Seidlin was dubbed the "crybaby Judge" and "Larry the Cable Judge" because of his courtroom tears, jokes and unsolicited commentary. The underlying motives for his emotional displays remain unclear.
Resignation and rumored television show ambitions
Seidlin retired from the bench in Summer 2007. His alleged intentions to star in a courtroom TV show were reported by the celebrity gossip website TMZ.com, citing "unidentified sources" as early as Feb 20th 2007. In a letter to Florida Governor Charlie Crist in June, 2007, Seidlin wrote:
"It is now time for me to devote more of my daily life to my own young family and to pursue the many opportunities that have been offered to me outside the judicial system and I have disregarded until now...While these opportunities are varied, they all share in common a further commitment to helping my fellow citizens through roles in the educational system, the media and nonprofit organizations."
Seidlin has not given specifics on his plans after his resignation, but according to Broadcast and Cable Magazine, Seidlin had allegedly cut a deal with CBS Television Distribution to develop a court show in Fall 2008, but no official confirmation has been made from either party. CBS Paramount will allegedly produce Seidlin's pilot for CTD; they also handle Judy Sheindlin's "Judge Judy" show.
Seidlin was criminally investigated for "allegedly asking a lawyer for gifts and financially exploiting an elderly woman". Former Florida lawyer Jack Thompson (who is permanently disbarred as of September 25, 2008) had filed a formal complaint against Seidlin for "violating almost every judicial canon". The complaint was based on an investigative report in a local weekly newspaper that reported that the judge had received questionable gifts and large sums of money from Barbara Kasler, an elderly neighbor in his Fort Lauderdale condo building. After an investigation by the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, Seidlin was cleared of any wrongdoing in January 2009.
In March 2009 the niece and caretaker of the same elderly woman filed another complaint with the Elder Abuse Hotline in Florida, reiterating their belief that Seidlin has manipulated the woman into giving him money and has failed to adequately care for her.
- Donaldson-Evans, Catherine (2007-02-20). "Anna Nicole Smith Snarky 'Judge Larry': Aspiring TV Star or Regular Guy Running No-Jury Trial?". Fox News.
- "BBC News Player - Dramatic end to Smith hearing". 2007-02-22. Retrieved 2007-02-23.
- "Exclusive: Judge's Wife: People Say He Should Have His Own TV Show". 2007-02-24.
- 31 Nova L. Rev. 645. Phyllis Williams Kotey, "The Real Costs of Judicial Misconduct: Florida taking a set ahead in the regulation of judicial speech and conduct to ensure independence, integrity, and impartiality" "Circuit Court Judge Larry Seidlin made news across the courtry for his antics from the bench for his "witty"one liners and emotional and tearful delivery of his edicts. n28 Judge Seidlin was a presiding judge in some of the custody and legal proceedings that ensued after the death of Anna Nicole Smith. n29 His dramatic behavior led to perception that his speech and conduct were intended to attract offers for a courtroom television show."
- "Report:Judge in Anna Nicole Case Resigns -- and TV May Be Next".
- "All Rise!!! Judge Seidlin Says He's Ready for TV". TMZ. 2007-02-20.
- Donaldson-Evans, Catherine (2007-06-20). "Larry Seidlin, judge in the Anna Nicole Smith hearing, will leave bench July 31". Sun Sentinel.
- Sedensky, Matt (2007-06-29). "Wisecracking Florida Judge Larry Seidlin, who presided over Anna Nicole Smith case, to resign". Augusta Chronicle.
- "CTD Snags Anna Nicole Judge Seidlin". 2007-06-19.
- Anna Nicole’s Baby Judge - CBS puts Judge Seidlin with Judge Sheindlin lalate news - America's Fastest Growing Celebrity News Site!
- Jordana Mishory (August 17, 2007). Fla. Legal Elite Hope to Get Judges a Little Respect. Law.com. Accessed 2008-04-11.
- "Anna Nicole Smith's mother says she plans to appeal". Retrieved 2007-02-23.[dead link]
- Anna Nicole Judge Cleared of Wrongdoing ABC News, January 6, 2009
- Crying Anna Nicole Judge Accused of Abuse TMZ, March 27, 2009