By Dan Christensen, BrowardBulldog.org
Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Frank Adderley finally got his divorce last week from a troubled wife who fired shots at him for cheating on her, but testimony and all other court details about the case are secret.
At Adderley’s request, Broward Circuit Judge Susan Aramony ordered the entire case file sealed, even the progress docket. The existence of the case continues to be acknowledged on the clerk’s docket, but nothing more.
The judge’s Feb. 7 order stating that the divorce was granted is the only document in the case that’s now public. Under court rules, it will go secret in 30 days.
Adderley sued Eleanor Adderley for divorce in September 2009 saying the couple’s 18-year-old marriage as “irretrievably broken.”
Fourteen months earlier, distraught about her husband’s affair with another woman, Eleanor Adderley confronted her husband with his own gun in the bedroom of their Plantation home.
“Put it down. Don’t kill me,” the chief said before his wife took aim at the floor and fired, the Sun-Sentinel has reported. As Chief Adderley ran away, his wife squeezed off another shot at the ground outside “to scare him,” the paper said.
Eleanor Adderley later pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and served about six months of a nine-month sentence in the Broward County jail. Her lawyer, Rae Chorowski, did not respond to a request for comment.
Chief Adderley, represented by Fort Lauderdale attorney William Gardiner, declined to discuss his divorce or why he wanted the case file sealed.
“It was a bad situation and I really don’t have any comment,” Adderley said. “And under the advice of my attorney, I’m entitled to have it sealed. I’m not getting any kind of preferential treatment.”
Records the judge sealed included the couple’s marital settlement agreement, the final judgment of dissolution of marriage and their financial affidavits.
The order says the Adderley’s divorce file was sealed “to prevent a serious and imminent threat to the fair, impartial and orderly administration of justice and to avoid injury to innocent third parties,” apparently a reference to the couple’s teenage son. It also cites state law that exempts from public disclosure the home addresses, telephone numbers, social security numbers and photographs of current and former law enforcement personnel.
The judge ordered the file sealed “for an indefinite duration.”
Eleanor Adderley agreed to the sealing, the order says.
Chief Adderley’s reasons for wanting the case closed to the public are not known because the court papers he filed requesting it are also secret.
Court rules provide for prior public notice of attempts to seal up a case.
The order says Aramony heard testimony from Chief Adderley about his request for confidentiality. But with the file now closed it is not known if public notice was given.