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Tuesday, April 30, 2019
JUDGE FLEUR LOBREE, THIRD TIME'S A CHARM .......
THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED, TRY, TRY AGAIN .......
Can you say roller coaster ride. If you are Fleur Lobree, you must be on top of the world right about now.
Our loyal Blog readers know that she has been a member of The Florida Bar for 26 years. She spent most of her time in the Appellate Division of the State Attorney's Office where she became a highly respected appellate attorney. Then she decided to throw her hat into the JNC interview process.
By all accounts, it went really well. I say that because she made it to the Governor's desk on her first try, for an open County Court seat, in 2011. In fact, Lobree was Governor Scott’s first judicial appointment in Miami-Dade County. Of course, getting appointed to an open seat means you have to run in the next scheduled election. So, now County Court Judge Lobree needed to win with the voters. She was hoping, of course, to draw no opposition, and earn a full six year term on the County bench.
No such luck. With a name like Fleur Lobree, she was easy pickin’. Attorney Michele Alvarez Barakat filed against "Incumbent" Judge Lobree and proceeded to trounce her on election day. And we are not just talking trounce. We are talking Jaguars v Dolphins playoff game trounce; (62-7 if my memory serves me correctly). Lobree lost in the most lobsided judicial election (involving an Incumbent that lost) in Miami-Dade County history. The final score: Barakat 71% and Lobree 29%.
The story gets better. The Lobree v. Barakat contest was playing out during the summer election season of 2012. At the same time, there came an open seat on the Circuit Court bench. Lobree is no dummy, and realizing she was in the midst of a hotly contested election to retain her seat, and that she "could" lose, she applied for the open Circuit Court seat.
Another interview with the JNC came calling, and they still loved her. That’s because her name was again chosen and sent to Governor Scott. By the time Scott conducted the interviews of the six finalists, Lobree had already lost the August 2012 election to Barakat. She was scheduled to hand over her gavel on January 2, 2013 and return to the practice of law. Amazingly, Scott again chose Lobree and this time Lobree was named a Circuit Court Judge. So, in an amazing twist of events, the voters voted her out of a County Court seat whilst at the same time the Governor promoted her to a Circuit Court seat.
So, with her new Circuit Court gavel, she was back in business by March of 2013, after taking an unpaid 60 day vacation. This time, everyone warned Lobree. With that name, she needed to start campaigning early and she needed to start raising money early. Whatever she did, it didn’t work. Since getting her Circuit Court appointment in March of 2013, in a period of one year, she raised only $17,500 from 86 contributors. She did pluck down $100,000 of her own money in November/December of 2013.
Meanwhile, attorney Mavel Ruiz, who had made her intentions known about running for a Circuit Court seat, waited and watched as Qualifying Week played out. First, Ruiz filed for Circuit Court in Group 27, in September of 2013. In October of 2013, Ruiz jumped out of Group 27 and into Group 58. Ruiz jumped ship again, and on April 18, 2014, she switched to Group 70. Finally, at 10:52 AM on the final day of qualifying, she jumped into a new race. This time, she filed against now Circuit Court Judge Fleur Lobree.
In August of 2014, the voters spoke once again. This time Lobree ran a much closer race, but Mavel Ruiz beat Lobree by 54% to 46%.
Back to the State Attorney’s Office Appellate Division one more time for Ms. Lobree. She once again bided her time, and when 3rd DCA judges began leaving in droves, (first it was the resignations of Judge Leslie Rothenberg and Judge Richard Suarez; then it was Judges Barbara Lagoa and Robert Luck moving on up to the Supreme Court), Lobree applied for all of those open seats.
The 3rd DCA JNC sent Lobree’s name up (along with Judge Gordo) and eventual nominees Judges Hendon and Bronwyn Miller to Governor Scott. When Lobree did not get the nod from Governor Scott this time around, she didn’t give up still. She applied to the JNC again and once again her name went up this time for Lagoa and Luck’s seats.
Finally, last Thursday, April 25, 2019, Judge Fleur Lobree became a Judge for the third time. All three appointments, to County Court, Circuit Court, and now the 3rd DCA, came without her ever winning before the voters of Miami-Dade County.
Judge Lobree is by all accounts very intelligent and highly respected in appellate circles. Judge Lobree has proven the old adage - if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. We wish her the best this time around - as the proverb says: "third time's a charm".
IN OTHER COURTHOUSE NEWS .....
The 11th Circuit JNC has met and sent twelve names to Governor DeSantis to replace recently named Circuit Court Judges Michelle Alvarez Barakat (how ironic that Alvarez Barkat gets named to the Circuit Court four weeks before Lobree getting named to the 3rd) and Tanya Brinkley. Your next two County Court Judges will come from the following list of names:
Karl S. Brown
Elsa Maria Fernandez
Arya Attari Li
Julie Harris Nelson
The Governor will name the two replacements within the next 60 days.
CAPTAIN OUT .......