ELECTION UPDATE .....
Welcome to our ninth and final report in a series of reviews of the contested judicial races. Over the past two plus months we have attempted to introduce you to the 19 candidates that are running for the nine contested judicial seats in Miami-Dade County.
In Week One, we focused on the only contested County Court race of Lindsay v. Lesperance. Since then, we have provided you with the Circuit Court races of Cueto v. Velis; Migna v. Manny; Colodny v. Kopco v. Millan; Garcia v. Glick; Corona v. Cynamon; Caballero v. Chumbley; and Cohen v. Cuellar.
Today we cover the ninth and final race in Group 57 between incumbent Judge Bernard Shapiro and his opponent Denise Martinez-Scanziani.
DENISE MARTINEZ-SCANZIANI .....
Ms. Scanziani has been a member of The Florida Bar since May of 2000. She graduated from the University of Florida School of Law and began practicing as a Staff Attorney for Legal Aid of Broward County. Soon after, she opened up her own private practice and she now handles family law, real estate and probate matters.
Ms. Scanziani is 33 years old and if my recollection serves me correctly, she would be just slightly older that the youngest ever Circuit Court Judge in our County, Judge Thomas E. Scott, (who went on to become a Federal District Court Judge and was also the US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida for a three year stint).
Many of the regular readers of this BLOG know that I hit Ms. Scanziani pretty hard on February 23, 2008 with a piece that I ran about her campaign. I will not provide you with the laundry list of details, but I feel that I must recap the history that caused me to write such a strong article.
On February 15, 2008, Ms. "Denise Scanziani" filed papers to run in County Court Group 34, which was Judge Sarduy's seat. The only problem with that was the seat was not open as a result of the JNC conducting interviews to replace Judge Sarduy, (who had been named to the Circuit Court bench). On February 20th, Ms. "Denise Martinez-Scanziani" filed new papers. This time she filed to run in Group 17 of the County Court against incumbent Judge Eric Hendon. (It was the name change that drew all the attention).
Finally, on May 2, 2008, at approximately 11:59 AM, (the deadline for qualifying was NOON that day), Ms. Martinez-Scanziani, switched again and filed against Judge Shapiro.
If you missed all of the fireworks, I would direct you to read the front page pieces by The Captain on Feb. 23 and Ms. Scanziani's reply on March 2 and the more than 135 comments written by our readers, (including my rebuttal that was posted on March 3rd at 6:42 pm).
As for raising money, Ms. Scanziani has a lot of catching up to do. To date, she has raised only $7,289 from 35 donors. She has added $2,000 of her own money into the kitty.
Check out Denise at deniseforjudge.com.
JUDGE BERNARD SHAPIRO (i) ....
Judge Shapiro has been a member of The Florida Bar since 1973. He graduated from the University of Miami School of Law. He first ascended to the County Court bench in 1987 and in 1990 voters elected him to the Circuit Court where he still sits 18 years later. In between, he was reelected in 1996 and in 2002. He has never faced opposition in any of his races for judge.
Judge Shapiro sits in the Family Division and has also been assigned in the past to the General Jurisdiction and Criminal Divisions. He began his career as a jurist handling DUI and traffic cases and then moved into general misdemeanors and civil cases. Prior to becoming a judge, Shapiro was in private practice for 14 years first trying PI and work comp cases and then handling family law matters.
Judge Shapiro is far ahead in the fundraising department having pulled in $94,789 from 384 contributors. He has also kicked in $25,200 of his own money.
Judge Shapiro's website can be found at voteforshapiro.com. (UPDATED)
Please do your homework on the two candidates. Help out our readers by giving us your comments, pro and con, on each of the candidates.
It has been a pleasure to provide our readers with this weekly series over the past couple of months. I must congratulate our readers for providing mostly positive input as to who they feel are the most qualified candidates for these nine seats. At times, the debate got a bit raucous, but all in all I think it was a positive exercise in the way a BLOG can be useful to our profession. I hope that you learned some new information along the way about the candidates (certainly a lot more than you would have garnered from those weak Herald endorsement pieces), and I hope that we helped you form a decision on whom you may end up casting your ballots for at election time. If we did, then we did good.
Rump has been nice enough to give me the vine and I have tried to use it fairly and, without taking sides, just present the facts ala Joe Friday.
Look forward to seeing you on Election Day with those real-time returns.
The election takes place on Tuesday, August 26, 2008.
CAPTAIN OUT .........