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Fla. Judge Faces Misconduct Charges

December 9, 2001

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ A state judicial agency has brought professional misconduct charges against a Florida judge accused in a California peeping case.

In a decision made public Friday, the Judicial Qualifications Commission listed six charges, including drunkenness and lying, against Judge Charles Cope whose circuit includes Pinellas and Pasco counties.

Other allegations include neglecting to tell his chief judge about criminal charges brought against him in California in April.

Cope denies wrongdoing, said his attorney Louis Kwall.

The commission accuses Cope of trying to enter the hotel room of a mother and daughter while attending a judicial seminar in Carmel, Calif.

Cope is charged with public intoxication, theft, prowling and inappropriate conduct of an intimate nature for propositioning the daughter.

Most of the allegations mirror five misdemeanor charges filed against him by California prosecutors.

As a judge, possible sanctions range from a reprimand to removal from the bench. No hearing date has been set.

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