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Judges on Nassau County Ballot

Who ARE these people?

Club 14 Fitness

News/Elections

By Harvey Slentz, 10-14-22

Editor’s note: Most people have no idea who are the judges running for reconfirmation or even that they are running, until they see their sample ballots. None of these candidates have any opponents- you just vote yes or no. So far, we haven’t been able to obtain any informed qualified analysis of their judicial votes, just backgrounds provided by the author, which we provide for your perusal….

SUPREME COURT JUSTICES

JUSTICE CHARLES T. CANADY

Appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist (R) in 2008

Chief Justice Canady has been on the Florida Supreme court longer than the other justices.  Prior to joining the court, he was a member of the Florida legislature, and served as an impeachment manager against President Clinton.  His first ten years were spent in the conservative minority on the court.  Justice Canady led the dissent in a Florida case involving a law that would allow a judge to impose the death penalty without referring that matter to the Jury.  Canady’s dissent led to a review of the law by the U.S. Supreme Court, which then ruled that the law violated the 6th Amendment right to trial by jury. When the majority of the Florida Supreme Court viewed the appellate Justice Canady’s dissent, and overruled the Florida Supreme Court’s position that judges could unilaterally impose the death penalty. [Hurst v Florida, 577 US 92 (2016).  Justice Canady has been a reliable conservative member of the court, even during years that he was often the only conservative dissent in cases.

JUSTICE JOHN D. COURIEL

Appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in 2018

Justice Couriel has a background in Securities and Corporate Law, and he is a conservative justice.  His first year as a Justice, Couriel concurred with the opinions that limited the opportunity to gain depositions from corporate executives involving corporate officers, and more difficult for plaintiffs to sue tobacco companies. 

JUSTICE JAMIE GROSSHANS

Appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in 2020

Justice Grosshans has demonstrated a consistent conservative view, beginning with her engagement as as a law student.  Upon graduation, she interned at the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Polit Philosophy. She also served as legal fellow at the Alliance Defending Freedom, which opposes LGBTQ rights, abortion and same-sex marriage. 

JUSTICE JORE LaBARGA

Appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist (R) in 2009

Justice Jorge Labarga wrote the first majority opinion on the 2016 case that ruled that a judge can by him/herself impose the death penalty. He also objected in dissent to Canady’s view that it was legal for a judge to impose the death penalty without participation of the jury.  Justice LaBarg’s dissents as a conservative often recognize parts of the majority opinion, where he believes it is important. 

JUSTICE RICKY POLSTON

Appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist (R) in 2008

Polston often joins Justice Canady, and argued in favor of giving state money to religious charter schools, even though that was prohibited by the Florida Constitution. He also notably dissented from an opinion that allowed the Family Law section of the Florida Bar to file a ‘friend of the court’ briefopposing a law that prohibited LGBTQ families from the adoption of children.

COURT OF APPEALS – 1ST APPELLATE DISTRICT


JUDGE ROSS L. BILBREY

Appointed by Gov. Rick Scott (R) in 2014

Judge Bilbrey has been a County, Circuit and now Appellate Judge. He has tied a very wide range of civil and criminal cases, and was a Judge Advocate General (JAG) attorney for the U.S. Navy, providing legal assistance to members of the military and their families, helping more than 3,000 active and retired service members.  He was named Civilian of the Year because of his work in mobilizing reservists to active duty after the 9-11, 2001 assault on the U.S. by external terrorists.  He then practiced law in Jacksonville for 7 years, concentrating on complex civil and commercial litigation.  Judge Brilbrey also taught legal courses at the University of West Florida in his evenings, and was a member of the legal studies program advisory committee.

JUDGE SUSAN KELSEY

Appointed by Gov. Rick Scott (R) in 2014

Judge Kelsey is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Law where she was the Editor-in-Chief, and practiced as a member of the Holland & Knight LLP firm, along with practicing appellate law for 8 years before appointment to the appellate bench as a judge. She as received much recognition for her work as a Judge, and more as a supporter in her community.

JUDGE BOBBY LONG

Appointed by Gov. Rick Scott (R) in 2014

Judge Robert “Bobby” E. Long, Jr. earned a B.S. Degree in Finance from Florida State University and his Juris Doctorate in Law at the University of Florida.  He began his legal career as an active duty Judge Advocate for the U.S. Navy, serving in the war in Afghanistan and in the Reserves.  He is currently a Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves.  In his career to date he has extensive experience criminal and civil litigation was comprehensive, and was augmented by his earlier experience as a law enforcement officer in the Leon County Sheriff before later attending U.F.  Judge Long was first appointed as a Circuit Court Judge in 2016, and later rose to his current role as a judge in the First District Court of Appeals. In addition to his legal duties, Judge Long has served on the Board of Directors for the Legal Aid Foundation, the Rotary Club of Tallahassee, the American Legion and the VFW.   He also coaches the baseball, soccer, basketball and football teams of his four sons, along with leading both Cub Scout Pack and a Boy Scout Troop. 

JUDGE LORI S. ROWE

Appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist (R) in 2009

Judge Rowe was first appointed to the 1st District Court of Appeals in 2009, and is currently the Chief Judge for the Appellate Court.  She has varied experience, beginning as Assistant Attorney General in the Antitrust Section of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), then worked in private practice with a local law firm.  She returned to the  (OAG) to serve as the Director of Multistate Litigation, then was promoted to Assistant then Executive Deputy Attorney General.  She served as Deputy Chief of Staff in the Executive Office of the Governor before being appointed Judge in the First District Court of Appeals.  She has also served as an adjunct professor at Florida State University and is an advisory board member for the George Mason University School of Law Judicial Education Program since 2016. Her other activities include mission team work for her Church, Junior League of Tallahassee since 2004, and as director of the Cub Scout Summer Day Camp.  She is active in her church, serving two years as the Chair of the Church Council. 

JUDGE THOMAS BO WINOKUR

Appointed by Gov. Rick Scott (R) in 2015

Judge Winokur accepted the appointment to the 1st District Court of Appeals after serving as the Assistant General Counsel for the Executive Office of the Governor. He had previously served as the Assistant Attorney General for the Florida Office of the Attorney General, practicing in criminal appeals and capital litigation.  In these roles, Judge Winokur presided on more than 800 cases before the 1st District Court of Appeals and more than 40 cases before the Florida Supreme Court.  His background includes growing up in Tampa, and receiving his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Florida.  He is married and has two sons.

Editor’s note: 10-3-22- We received this from a highly placed, well connected public educator:

Having reviewed the Supreme Court Justices, the only “no” I have is Jorge Labarga

For the Court of Appeals the “nos” I have are below.

1)      Ross Bilbrey: Appears to be very engaged on marijuana legislation: ​​​​​​​Judge chides Florida health officials on marijuana licenses – CBS Miami (cbsnews.com)

2)      Lori Rowe: appointed by Charlie Christ, when she was appointed she was serving as Christ’s Deputy Chief of Staff: ​​Lori S. Rowe – Ballotpedia

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