The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission officially dismissed its case against Circuit Judge John Lakin on Thursday following Lakin's announced retirement Monday.
The Judicial Qualifications Commission charged Lakin, 55, with misconduct Feb. 1 for requesting and taking Tampa Bay Rays baseball tickets from the Kallins, Little & Delgado law firm while presiding over the case Wittke v. Walmart.
A jury trial ruled in favor of Walmart in June, and Lakin later overturned the decision to the benefit of Wittke, the law firm's client.
Kallins, Little & Delgado gave Lakin baseball tickets four times while the case was pending, with five tickets coming the day before Lakin overturned the jury decision.
Lakin sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott on Monday announcing his immediate retirement for "professional and family reasons." He was elected to a six-year term on the bench in 2012.
Alex Williams, assistant general counsel to the JQC, has said the agency typically drops cases against judges who retire, but retain jurisdiction so the case can be revisited if the individual becomes a judge at a later date.
"Our death penalty of sorts is removal from the bench," Williams said. "So if that happens through other means we generally don't pursue it further."
The 12th Circuit Judicial Nominating Committee announced Wednesday officials would have a conference call Tuesday to discuss a time frame to fill Lakin's vacancy. The committee will send six recommendations to Scott, who will choose someone to fill the vacancy.
Kate Irby, Herald online/political reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7055. You can follow her on Twitter@KateIrby