TAMPA — A longtime Hillsborough County judge was arrested early Saturday, accused of hitting his wife and grabbing her by the hair, authorities said.
Judge Eric Renard Myers, 58, was taken into custody by sheriff’s deputies at about 2 a.m. at the county courthouse in downtown Tampa, jail records show.
Myers’ wife told investigators he hit her in the face and on the head with an open and closed fist at about 9:30 p.m. Friday, according to an arrest report. Deputies later tracked Myers to the courthouse, sheriff’s spokesman Larry McKinnon said, where he acknowledged grabbing her hair and striking her with an open palm, causing redness and swelling near her right ear.
Myers made his first court appearance Saturday morning and was released from jail after posting $500 bail.
Mark Cox, spokesman for the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office, said no one in his office will handle the case. “We will be referring it to the governor’s office and they will appoint a special prosecutor,” he said.
Myers handles criminal cases in the state’s 13th Judicial Circuit. The misdemeanor charge he now faces is the sort of offense that can come before him as a judge.
He was re-elected without opposition in 2014. He was appointed to the position in 2000 by then-Gov. Jeb Bush.
Chief Judge Ron Ficarrotta said Myers is a former assistant state attorney with an “outstanding reputation in the legal community.”
“I have not had an opportunity to review the facts of the case, so I’m not in an position to comment about it,” he said Saturday morning.
But he noted that the proper protocol was followed regarding Myers’ arrest, and no favoritism was shown to him.
Ficarrotta said he anticipates Myers will be back at work Tuesday.