Judge Holder: FL Supreme Court scolding was worth it

Gloria Gomez reports

- Hillsborough Circuit  Judge Gregory Holder says his scolding by the Florida Supreme Court was worth saving "a young soldier's life and his future." 

Judge Holder has won awards for his work in Veterans Treatment Court, but his actions there also landed him in front of the justices, who said he went too far for one defendant, Clay Allred. 

Now, Judge Holder says he got in trouble for following the rules set by a Florida Supreme Court panel. The rules he's referring to encourage judges in Veterans Treatment Court to provide resources to help vets get back on their feet.

Holder said that's exactly what he was doing for Allred, who served in the Army National Guard in Iraq and Afghanistan, but was caught on store surveillance video urinating at a check out counter and later firing his weapon in the store parking lot. He pleaded no contest to the charges.

At first, Judge Holder gave Allred house arrest followed by probation. But Holder later modified the sentence, hoping it would help Allred get re-admitted to USF.

Judge Holder, who is known for his principal and integrity says he will continue to fight for every wounded vet that comes before him.

"These are the heroes, these men and women, they come in battered and broken," Holder said.

But for Judge Holder, it's a fine line to walk, between the compassion the supreme court guidelines recommend and the ethics the same court demands. 

"Judges comply with the law, but when the law conflicts with the judicial ethics, these cannons that we follow, then clearly something must be done and that is the responsibility of the Florida Supreme Court, " explained Holder.

As for the day he stood to hear that court's message, Holder said he has no regrets.

"It was a rough day to stand there and accept the punishment," Holder said. "Is it worth the price to save a young man, a young soldiers life and his future? You bet it is." 

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