A judge for Broward County that was recently suspended by the Supreme Court because of her alcohol problem and is currently undergoing treatment has been looking for continued pay. Judge Gisele Pollack was accused of being intoxicated twice in court and driving under the influence around local streets in the area.
She was arrested on May 1, 2014 and faced multiple DUI charges leading the Supreme Court to consider suspending her activity as a judge. In spite of her bad behavior the judge's lawyers are asking that she continue to be paid her regular salary as she attends a rehabilitation program for alcoholism.
Suspension without Pay
When Judge Pollack was taken into court with charges of presiding as a judge while drunk and driving under the influence, her attorney argued that she had a disability in the form of alcoholism. After being sent to a rehabilitation program, her attorney also claimed that she should be given her regular salary because of her inability to work as a result of her addiction.
His argument was that with any other type of disability or illness such as cancer she would still be paid while being on leave for treatment. Her attorney told the Supreme Court that her personal expenses and financial situation were such that suspension without pay could lead her to deal with extreme hardship, require her to sell her home and even dip into her retirement funds.
Pollack would be unable to support her cost of living without her normal salary, according to the attorney, and the hardship would only add to her existing struggle to overcome her disease of addiction. He said that restricting her pay during treatment is equally as inappropriate as it would be if she had any other debilitating illness.
Pollack's Alcoholic Behavior
Although it may be true that Pollack will experience financial hardship while undergoing treatment for her alcoholism, her past behavior may prevent her from being qualified to receive her regular salary. Her attorney has filed a petition with the Florida Supreme Court which argues that her alcoholism is a disability requiring continued pay.
However, it is unclear whether how this argument will stand with the Supreme Court. The accusation that she presided over court while intoxicated on two different occasions could make it difficult for her addiction to qualify her to be paid while on leave.
Another factor in making this decision is that the court may be unsure whether the treatment will work for Pollack who has already been through rehab at the same addiction treatment facility. The judge attended a residential treatment program in Gainesville in the past and left without completing it. This could harm her chances of being given a salary while going through the same program again.
Gisele Pollack has been struggling with alcohol problems for decades and has been unable to recover in spite of a number of negative consequences resulting from her addiction. After leaving her first stay at the rehabilitation center she drove drunk and was involved in an automobile accident, injuring another driver.
It was this incident that led to her arrest and she entered the rehab program again on May 7. Her attorney was concerned about her financial situation after her insurance would no longer pay for her treatment and she had already spent nearly $40,000.
He invoked the Americans with Disabilities act asking the Supreme Court to consider that alcoholism is recognized as a disability under federal law. The ADA, however, may have limited benefit for Pollack who is still dealing with the expenses of treatment and may even have to be moved to another program followed by structured living for her recovery.