His Honor: Broward circuit judge is working for free — and that’s OK

(WSVN) - A South Florida judge is working for free — and he’s OK with it. Why, you ask? As 7’s Patrick Fraser shows us, it’s “His Honor.”

We all work at a job to get paid. If we don’t get paid, we don’t work there anymore.

Unless you are Judge Mark Speiser.

Broward Circuit Judge Mark Speiser: “Right. I don’t get compensated for being here as a senior judge.”

Speiser has been was a Broward Circuit Court judge for 36 years. When he hit the mandatory retirement age, he had to go.

But he didn’t want to leave.

Broward Circuit Judge Mark Speiser: “I mean, why should someone say, ‘I have to retire,’ when I feel I still have the energy, the ability and the emotion to continue to work?”

Broward Circuit Chief Judge Jack Tuter: “Judge Speiser loves what he does.”

Jack Tuter is the chief judge, so Speiser asked him to let him stay on the job and work for free.

Broward Circuit Chief Judge Jack Tuter: “For the most part, this is a win-win. Doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything. It provides a service to the citizens who are litigants here in the building. It provides a service to the lawyers.”

Broward Circuit Judge Mark Speiser: “As far as I’m concerned, I’m indebted to him, because he allowed me to continue to doing that which I really enjoy doing, and that is sitting as a judge.”

Under state law, Judge Speiser has to work for free for a year. Then, if he wants to stay on the bench, he can get $350 a day.

Broward Circuit Judge Mark Speiser: “I mean, I don’t want to generate any sympathy here, because I am getting my pension. I’ve worked 36 years as a judge. I have received my first pension check about two weeks ago.”

When some judges retire, they become highly sought-after mediators. Not Speiser.

Broward Circuit Judge Mark Speiser: “You’d make a lot of money being a mediator, but I’m just not interested in that. I feel that I can accomplish more and give more by being in a courtroom and serving as a judge.”

Speiser is supposed to work part-time. Supposed to.

Broward Circuit Judge Mark Speiser: “I have a docket on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, but for some reason, I’m finding myself here as well Mondays and Fridays. I guess you could say my only addiction is my work.”

Speiser is not alone. Other judges have also volunteered to work for free.

Broward Circuit Chief Judge Jack Tuter: “I would say 20 to 25 percent of our judges probably come back, but then they eventually say, ‘Enough is enough, I’ve had enough,’ and then they move on.”

Judge Speiser doesn’t want to move on, and one day, Judge Tuter will face that choice when he retires. He already knows what he is going to do.

Broward Circuit Chief Judge Jack Tuter: “When I retire, I’ll probably never be seen again near a courthouse.”

This judge will walk away one day, and this other judge doesn’t want to.

Broward Circuit Judge Mark Speiser: “Right now, I don’t even wanna know how to spell the word ‘retired.’ I mean, it’s just not even in my vocabulary right now.”

Because for him, being right here is his honor.

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