THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
The Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel was established in 2007. As many of you who accept conflict cases know, it changed the way we do business in the State of Florida when it came to the PD announcing a conflict.
In 2007, the Governor appointed the five Regional Counsel positions to run each of the five offices; (the offices encompass the geographic boundaries of each of the five District Courts of Appeal). In the 3rd, Joseph P. George was appointed to a four year term. During the past four years the office has grown and now takes 75% of the conflict cases from the PD's office; the remaining 25% of conflict cases end up with an attorney from the Registry ("the wheel").
In February, the Supreme Court JNC asked for applications for the new four year term to be appointed by Governor Scott. In the 3rd DCA region, the applicants were:
Joseph P. George
Mr. Ermacora also submitted his application to be considered for the 2nd, 4th and 5th DCA's; I guess he didn't care much for living in Wakulla.
Mr. Lieberman, currently a General Magistrate assigned to the Juvenile Dependency Division, has also submitted his name to the local JNC for consideration to become a County Court Judge and his name was on the desk of the Governor (along with four others) for an open County Court seat until yesterday when Governor Scott chose Dawn Denaro as your new County Court Judge.
Earlier this week, in Tampa, the Florida Supreme Court JNC interviewed the prospective candidates for the five positions of Regional Counsel. Their responsibility is to nominate up to three names and send those names to the Governor. Gov. Scott chooses one name subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.
In the 3rd DCA region, the JNC chose to nominate:
Instead, their decision as a Committee was: "To be advertised again in order to see more candidates".
We do not know what went on in the interviews of the three candidates and maybe someone with knowledge of that can provide comments. From what we have heard of the OCCRC office run by Mr. George, like any new office, it experienced growing pains during the first couple of years, and then started to blossom with qualified attorneys handling conflicts throughout the Gerstein Justice Building. I believe that they currently employ Eugene Zenobi and Phil Reizenstein to handle their capital death cases.
So, the question now becomes, if Mr. George is not to be nominated to another four year term - then who?
On a separate note, congratulations to our new County Court Judge, Dawn Denaro. She is 44 years old and has spent her entire legal career with the State Attorney's Office. She takes over for Judge Gayles who was appointed to the Circuit Court.
We hope everyone enjoys their long Memorial Day Weekend. Please remember why we celebrate this weekend and take some time to honor the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice in protecting and defending our freedoms.
CAPTAIN OUT .......
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