Thursday, October 04, 2012


Federal Judges are appointed for life. Recently one of the oldest Federal Judges was still presiding over his Kansas Courtroom until his death at 104 with a hopeful motto of 'no long trials.' State Judges in Florida don't have that luxury because they face retention votes every few years. 
The Republican Party of Florida with a handful of big (bigger than big billionaire) money players from outside the Sunshine State want to undermine justice on the Florida Supreme Court by forcing out three outstanding Judges. This attempt to pack the Florida Supreme Court is absurd because the justices have proven themselves to be nonpolitical. One of the Judges was even reappointed by Jeb Bush. 

the florida supreme court is at risk of being destroyed by wreckless attacks on the judiciary playing cards with the future of justice
Cezanne,  Playing Cards for Florida Justice
As fair minded Floridians we can all agree that we're best served by an independent judiciary where wise legal decisions are not made based on political bias but by a close reading of a certain Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer's blog every hour to check for updates. 
Yet without good cause these three fair and unbiased Judges on the Florida Supreme Court are being challenged as somehow unfit to serve.  Florida Bar members recently showed overwhelming support for members of the Supreme Court of Florida with upwards of 90% of the lawyers, many of whom are Republicans, voting to retain the three judges up for retention this year. The bar asked attorneys to vote on the following criteria:
  1. Integrity
  2. Judicial Temperament
  3. Impartiality
  4. Freedom from Bias or Prejudice
  5. Demeanor on the Bench
  6. Courtesy from the Bench
The pull results as found at the Florida Bar are as follows:

A ballot mailed in August to all lawyers residing and practicing in Florida asked whether the incumbent justices and appeals court judges should be retained or not, and asked that they consider eight attributes in making their decisions...
The Bar sent out 68,243 ballots to in-state members in good standing and 7,857 lawyers participated. Only responses by lawyers indicating considerable or limited knowledge of the judges were included in the poll results.

For the Supreme Court, poll results indicate support for retention of:
    § R. Fred Lewis by 92 percent.
    § Barbara J. Pariente by 89 percent.
    § Peggy A. Quince by 90 percent.

The ever improving NYT weighed in as well:

By announcing its opposition to the three justices, the Republican Party avoids clashing with a law that prevents political parties from endorsing judicial candidates.

Even your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney doesn't always agree with the court, especially it's recent failure to find Florida's Drug laws unconstitutional, where no knowledge of drugs is required to convict, but all of us should unite in respecting the Court by supporting some good Judges who are unfairly being attacked.