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Monday, May 21, 2018
TWO NEW COUNTY COURT JUDGES NAMED .......
THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
AND YOUR TWO NEW COUNTY COURT JUDGES ARE .......
As I reported last week, the Governor was scheduled this week to name two new County Court Judges, to replace Judges Multack and Kravitz. Today, the Governor chose:
Ramiro C. Areces, age 35, a nine year member of The Florida Bar to replace Judge Shelley Kravitz. Arces worked for the firm of Jorden Burt before becoming a solo practitioner.
Elijah A. Levitt, age 39, a 14 year member of The Florida Bar to replace Judge Spencer Multack. He served both as an ASA in Miami-Dade County and an AUSA for the Southern District of Florida before becoming a solo practitioner.
Following up on Rumpole’s post from earlier today:
1:34 PM asks a great theoretical question:
Captain, what would happen if the candidates in one group had also applied through the JNC process and the governor appointed them to fill vacancies after qualifying day but before the election? Would qualifying be reopened to get candidates for the election? Or would the seat be considered vacant and the governor would get to appoint someone to fill it? 1:34 PM, Comments section.
The Captain Responds:
So, using a current race as an example, what if Milena Abreu and Mike Mirabal had both gone through the JNC process, both names had been sent to the Governor for two open seats, and the Governor picked both Abreu and Mirabal for the open seats (after May 4th, the last day to qualify, and before August 28th, the date of the election?)
Well, first, of course, Abreu and Mirabal would both become judges. Now, the problem is that both are currently running against each other in County Court Group 43, where the winner is scheduled to be decided in the August primary election.
So, with the Governor's two picks, nobody would be a candidate in Group 43.
But, what the questioner forgets is that, the seat, Group 43, is anything but vacant. In fact, Judge Joe Davis, (the current occupant of the Group 43 seat), is very much alive and well and serving out his final term which will end on January 2, 2019. Therefore, the seat is by no means open and the Governor has no power under Florida law to throw the seat to the JNC, for him to then choose the eventual replacement.
Instead, similar to when there is a death or resignation of a state house or state senate member, the Governor is authorized to call for a SPECIAL ELECTION pursuant to F.S. 100.101. The Dept. of State, pursuant to F.S. 100.111, would set the dates for the special qualifying period where new candidates can declare their intention to run for the seat. Once that qualifying period is closed, those that qualified would be the new candidates to be chosen by the voters.
Now, here is the kicker to all of that. If you follow the letter of the law, the Special Election could not occur until after August 28, 2018. Why is that? Because, F.S. 100.101 states that, the Governor cannot call for a Special Election until such time as:
(1) If no person has been elected at a general election to fill an office which was required to be filled by election at such general election.
So, after August 28th, when no candidate would have been chosen by the voters to take over the seat in January, (because there were no candidates remaining on the ballot), only then could he call the Special Election. And if you read further into the statutes, the Dept of State would likely set qualifying dates very soon after the Governor calls for the Special Election, likely in early September. And the date of the Election would undoubtedly take place on the same date as the General Election on November 6th, 2018.
Thanks for that very interesting question. We are always here to provide our readers with the answers to those burning questions, and always at Horace's disposal to handle the affairs of judicial elections, the JNC, and the like.
CAPTAIN OUT .......