THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
QUALIFYING WEEK - MASKED EDITION: PART TWO - COUNTY COURT .....
Following up on my Friday Blog Post: Elections Have Consequences: Two New Circuit Court Judges, there were more than a few Comments praising Gov DeSantis’ appointment of Judge Lody Jean. Judge Jean may in fact have been more than qualified to earn the appointment. But Governor DeSantis played the game with loaded dice. First, DeSantis has never named a Circuit Court Judge in Miami-Dade County in less than 30 days before these past two appointments. Now, Judge Zachary James gets named only 14 days after the 12 nominees names arrive on DeSantis’ desk. And 14 days later, DeSantis chooses Jean. Second, DeSantis was very shrewed in making sure he made those appointments before Monday, April 20, 2020. With Judge Jean’s appointment taking place last Friday, her Group 35 seat is now an open seat with her successor to be named by the Governor, instead of by the voters. Same for Judge James' Group 28 seat in County Court. But, Governor DeSantis’ office had to work really fast to pull this off. Judge Jean’s qualifying papers had to be rushed to her by the Department of State. And Jean had to file these papers immediately. Lest anyone doubt that DeSantis wanted to ensure he could name the replacements for the two open seats, the Eleventh Judicial Circuit’s JNC announced yesterday that they were accepting "applications to fill the vacancies caused by the elevation of Judges Zachary James and Lody Jean" with a deadline of May 4, 2020. Now on to the Election Coverage.
Yesterday we covered the races in Circuit Court. Today we turn our focus to the County Court contests. There are three County Court Judges (UPDATE - make that two) that have drawn opposition, while 9 others are currently unopposed. One contender is back for a third try, having previously lost a Circuit Court race in 2016 and a County Court race in 2018.
Here is the list of nine (9) Incumbents (it was 16 at one point) who are currently unopposed:
Donald Cannava Jr.
In addition, here is the list of seven (7) other Incumbent judges who were facing re-election in 2020. All seven have been recently elevated to the Circuit Court (CC) bench with their replacements to be named by Governor DeSantis instead of the voters choosing.
William Altfield (was recently appointed to CC to replace Judge Rodney Smith)
Laura Shearson Cruz (was recently appointed to CC to replace Judge Rodolfo Ruiz)
Christina DiRaimondo (was recently appointed to CC to replace Judge Diane Ward)
Ramiro Areces (was recently appointed to CC to replace Judge Renatha Francis)
Robert Watson (was recently appointed to CC to replace Judge John Thornton)
Zachary James (was just appointed to CC to replace Judge Jacqueline Scola)
Lody Jean (was just appointed to CC to replace Judge John Schlesinger)
Joseph Mansfield (Incumbent) (Q)
- he has
- he has raised $5,200 from 10 contributors and loaned his campaign $0
- his salary with the State of Florida is $151,822
Miguel "Mike" Mirabal (Q)
- he has qualified; he has a Net Worth of $1,684,634
- he has raised $0 and has loaned his campaign $30,500
- he ran for a County Court seat against Judge Milena Abreu
in 2018, losing that race by 65% to 35%.
- he runs his own law firm, Global Legal, with a salary of $95,750
GROUP 35: SEE ABOVE
As of last Friday, April 17, with the appointment of Judge Jean to the Circuit Court to replace Judge Schlesinger, this seat is now open and a replacement will be named by Gov. DeSantis. Ms. Fuenmayor now has nine Incumbent judges to choose from as she decides which one to challenge in this year's election. Anyone want to venture a guess as to who will be the unlucky Incumbent?
Lody Jean (Incumbent)
- she has not yet qualified
- she has raised $144,075 from 432 contributors and loaned
her campaign $60,000
- she has not yet qualified
- she has raised $27,775 from 39 contributors and loaned
her campaign $35,000
- she is currently an attorney with Gonzalez & Assoc., where
she handles PIP suits
Gordon Murray Sr. (Incumbent) (Q)
- he has qualified; he has a Net Worth of $777,299
- he has raised $67,794 from 227 contributors and loaned
his campaign $25,704
- his salary from the State of Florida is $151,182; he is paid an additional $6,700 from Miami-Dade College
Rosy Aponte (Q)
- she has qualified; she has a Net Worth of $315,000; it was $186,000 in 2018, and only $46,000 in 2016
- she has raised $3,000 from 3 contributors and loaned her campaign $49,000
- she is a solo practitioner with R. Aponte & Assoc. where she paid herself $83,000. She is also a partner in the Felicetti Law Firm where she was paid an additional $120,000
- she ran for a County Court seat against Judge Kristy Nunez in 2018, losing that race by 52 % to 48%.
- she ran for a Circuit Court seat against Judge Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts and Carol Breece in 2016. Ms. Aponte failed to make the runoff as she gained only 26% of the vote in the Primary compared to Rodriguez Fonts (34%) and Breece (40%).
(Rumpole notes: Do not forget to contribute to the Go Fund Me account for Judge Richard Hersch's bailiff Orlando Duarte who passed away last week. See our post on Sunday for more details.)