barbara_pariente_fred_lewis_and_peggy_quince.jpgTALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is launching a criminal investigation of three state Supreme Court justices.


FDLE Commissioner Jerry Bailey ordered the investigation Thursday in response to a legislator's complaint.

Rep. Scott Plakon, a Longwood Republican, says the three justices violated a state law by using court employees to notarize their paperwork for this year's merit-retention election.

The justices are Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince, all appointed by then-Gov. Lawton Chiles, a Democrat. Then-incoming Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican, though, also endorsed Quince's appointment.

A lawyer for the three justices had no immediate comment but in the past has denied they did anything illegal.

Plakon initially asked Gov. Rick Scott to order an investigation. Scott, also a Republican, instead left the decision to Bailey.