Just when you thought that the strange story of Anna Nicole Smith couldn’t get any stranger, news broke today that one of the judges in the case was caught smoking marijuana while sitting under a tree in a public park on Sunday afternoon.
The judge, 59-year old Lawrence Korda, had presided over a claim in one of the paternity suits that was brought in the Smith case. Until today, Korda was not as well-known to the public as the other judge in the case, Larry Seidlin, who became famous for crying on camera.
While Judge Korda was smoking a joint under the tree, three on-duty policemen were doing training exercises in the park. They smelled the marijuana, a smell they described as “very strong,” and followed the scent, which brought them to the judge.
The police didn’t physically arrest Korda. Instead, they gave him a citation, and he was ordered to appear in court at a later date. Captain Tony Rode, a police spokesman, told the Miami Herald that Korda wasn’t given any special treatment. Rode said, “He was provided with a notice to appear. That’s exactly what 99 percent of other offenders would have been given for this type of offense.”
The charge is a misdemeanor.
Korda is a family court judge, and he has been a judge for a long time — since the 1970s. His role in the Anna Nicole Smith trial was to hear a request brought by photographer Larry Birkhead, one of Smith’s former lovers and one of several men claiming to be the father of Dannielynn, Anna Nicole’s daughter. Although Birkhead was suing for paternity in California, he wanted the Florida courts to order DNA testing to be done on Dannielynn, who was living in the Bahamas. Korda denied the claim on the ground that Florida did not have jurisdiction. The case involving the question of who had custody of Smith’s body also began in Korda’s courtroom, before being transferred to Judge Seidlin.
The drama surrounding the aftermath of Anna Nicole Smith’s death has attracted a level of media attention that some find astonishing. This story, no doubt, will serve to keep the media feeding frenzy going a little longer, just when it was starting to die down.
So far, no explanation has been given as to why Korda was smoking a joint in a public park, not the sort of behavior one usually associates with judges..
“Broward judge charged with puffing pot,” by Kathleen McGrory and Nikki Waller, Miami Herald, March 19, 2007
“Judge in Smith case cited for pot,” floridatoday.com, March 19, 2007
“Broward judge in Anna Nicole Smith case accused of smoking pot in Hollywood park,” by Marlene Naanes, Orlando Senitel, March 19, 2007
“Court clears way for Bahama burial for Anna Nicole,” by Michael Muskal, Los Angeles Times, February 28, 2007