Florida judge testifies about his explosive outburst in courtroom: 'I overreacted'

Judge Wayne Culver had a lot of explaining to do Thursday about his 2022 outburst on the bench. 

"I am willing to admit I overreacted. Didn't say the right things. I didn't conduct myself in the proper way," Culver said.

Culver spoke before a panel from the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission.

The independent state agency is looking into allegations of judicial misconduct. 

Culver is accused of yelling and using profanity at a man as he entered his courtroom. 

"This behavior is egregious and the public is watching," Hugh Brown, Assistant General Counsel for the Commission, said. 

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The attorney for the Judicial Qualifications Commission argued Culver's behavior was out of line. He also pointed to a pattern of concerning behavior in two other cases. 

Brown argued that in other cases Culver didn't follow proper protocol in issuing rulings of contempt of court, issued the wrong type of contempt of court ruling, and in one case – didn't let a defendant know he could appeal the ruling.

"His behavior fell very far below the standards set," Brown said. 

Culver's attorney, Warren Lindsey, agreed his client's actions were out of line. But, he argued, protocol aside – at least one of the defendants deserved it. 

He says Culver found a man in contempt of court in January 2022 when the defendant kept antagonizing the alleged victim and used a racial slur toward the judge. 


"Ddin't follow some rules, but not all as have been alleged," Warren Lindsey, Culver's attorney, said. 

Culver's attorney says the judge was stressed at the time because his dad was sick. He called on several witnesses who testified Culver's actions were a slip up and not his true character.

"Certainly inexcusable, but out of character," Phil Archer, state attorney, said.

Culver says he has taken an anger management course and is in therapy. 

The panel is expected to reconvene Friday.