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Palm Beach County woman asks Florida Supreme Court to remove Judge Renatha Francis from case

Francis among 6 judges recently nominated to fill court vacancy
Judge Renatha Francis at Miramar news conference, Sept. 9, 2020
Posted at 5:32 PM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 21:47:17-04

WEST PALM BEACH, FLa. — A Palm Beach County woman who filed an ethics complaint against Judge Renatha Francis is now asking Florida's Supreme Court to remove the judge from her case.

This comes only days after Francis and five other judges were nominated to fill a vacancy to serve on Florida's top court.

The 48-page petition was filed last week by the law office of Margherita Downey, based in Delray Beach, for Angela Bentrim.

Read the court filing below:

Bentrim is engaged in an ongoing court battle involving her former husband.

The request to the court said that Francis has a "continuing practice of entering orders without hearing, without evidence and withholding service of orders ... a departure from the essential requirements of law."

Since March 2021, Bentrim has filed three petitions against Francis.

The latest petition said that Francis has shown bias against Bentrim, prompting fears that she won't be treated fairly in ongoing court battles.

According to the court filing, Francis twice denied Bentrim's two demands for a jury trial, citing there was "no basis for a jury trial in this proceeding."

However, Bentrim's attorney claims Francis denied Bentrim her constitutional right to a trial by jury, due process of law and equal protection under the law.

Francis' prejudice increased after Bentrim filed prohibition petitions and a complaint, the petition said. It goes on to say that the "nonstop bias" is negatively affecting Bentrim's health.

It is unclear if Florida's Supreme Court will address the request to remove Francis from the case.

All of this comes as Francis awaits a possible appointment to the state's highest court from Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Francis made headlines in May 2020 when DeSantis appointed her to serve on the state's supreme court.

However, just three months later, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the governor exceeded his authority because he appointed Francis before she was eligible.