FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ When lawyers displease him - by being late, stubborn or sloppy - Judge J. Leonard Fleet sentences them to the supermarket to buy food for the poor.

''It keeps them on their toes,'' the Broward County Circuit judge said of his reprimand, which he calls Fleet's Food Brigade.

''When lawyers do what they're supposed to on time, it eases the burden on the justice system and saves the taxpayers money. At the same time, the program is helping people. It's had some beautiful spinoffs,'' Fleet said.

The judge orders the lawyers to deliver cans of food to him. Then he gives the food to non-profit organizations around the county.

''Judge Fleet has found a very creative way to help us,'' said Jeanne Miley, executive director of Kids in Distress, one of the beneficiaries.

Since he started the program five years ago, Fleet has collected more than 15 tons of food from at least 300 lawyers, he said.

Most lawyers laugh when he hits them with a food fine, and some bring food whenever they appear before the judge.

''Every time I go over there for a trial I figure he's going to do it to me at least once, no matter what I do,'' said James Dawson, a Fort Lauderdale lawyer who had to buy 24 cans of sliced pineapple last fall.

''Some guys might resent it, but the program is a lot of fun, and it does a lot of good,'' said Dania City Attorney Frank Adler, who was ordered to donate 24 cans of lentil soup after he got into an argument with an opposing lawyer.