Merit Retention for Judges

Do you want the devil you do know, or the one you do not?  A good judge displays impartiality and an understanding of the law.  A person may still be a good judge even if you do not agree with their ruling. As the Florida Bar points out, “All Floridians are affected by the laws of the state and county in which they live.  Judges make decisions on a wide range of issues large and small including traffic, small claims, landlord-tenant, personal injury, criminal, death penalty, probate, guardianship and others.”  Thus judicial elections and merit retentions are a significant part of the election process. Most circuit court judges and county court judges are elected to serve six year terms.  Then to keep their seats on the bench, they have to be re-elected.   Appellate court judges and Florida Supreme Court justices are appointed by the governor; however, they have to go through periodic merit retention with the voters to remain on the bench.  Thus the voters have oversight on judicial appointments. Again, congratulations to Judge Berger on her appointment to the Fifth District Court of Appeals. Read More

Judicial Branch on the Ballot

Tired of the party?  Look at judicial elections:  it is illegal for a political party or partisan political organization to endorse, support or assist any candidate in a campaign for election to judicial office. Judicial elections are non-partisan, meaning the candidates are on the ballot without reference to political party.  Furthermore, appeals court judges and Florida Supreme Court Justices do not run against opponents or each other.  The voting public gets to decide if they stay or not through merit retention elections. Not all districts in Florida have judges up for merit retention; however, every Florida voter will get to decide on keeping three Florida Supreme Court Justices. For more information on judicial candidates and their backgrounds visit the Florida Bar website at www.FloridaBar.org/TheVotesInYourCourt and www.FloridaBar.org/JudicialCandidates. Remember to vote on Tuesday, November 6 (if you have not already).   Read More

The Vote Is In Your Court – Judicial Elections

Your voter’s registration is good for more than just jury duty.  It enables you to help determine who sits on the bench.  There are fifteen Appeals Court Judges and three Florida Supreme Court Justices coming up for merit retention…where the vote is in your court. Appeals Court Judges get into office via gubernatorial appointment; however, they have to go through periodic merit retention with the voters to remain on the bench.  Four Appeals Court Judges are on the 2012 ballot in the First District Court of Appeals, which covers Duval, Nassau, and Clay Counties. There are no Appeals Court Judges from the Fifth District Court of Appeals (DCA) due for merit retention.  That means St. Johns, Flagler, and Putnam Counties (among others) only have to be concerned with the three Florida Supreme Court Justices due for statewide majority appeal or rejection. So who are these judicial merit people on the ballot?  It is illegal for a political party or partisan political organization to endorse, support or assist any candidate in a campaign for election to judicial office; however, the Florida Bar has a campaign to educate Florida voters.  Go to www.FloridaBar.org/TheVotesInYourCourt for candidate profiles and to find out more about […] Read More