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The Florida Bar
www.floridabar.org

VOLUNTARY DISCLOSURE FORM GIVES PUBLIC A WAY TO LEARN ABOUT JUDICIAL CANDIDATES


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 6, 2012
CONTACT:
Karen Y. Kirksey; kkirksey@flabar.org,
The Florida Bar
TELEPHONE:
(850) 561-5766


When voters choose trial court judges, they are selecting the people who will preside over business disputes and personal family matters that wind up in court as well as criminal trials. But frequently voters make decisions about who to vote for with only limited knowledge about candidates, who are constrained by law in what they can say in campaigns.

With 76 trial court races on the ballot across the state (for county and circuit judges), voters can learn more about judicial candidates through The Florida Bar Judicial Candidate Voluntary Self-Disclosure Statement program. Beginning July 6, these statements, which contain information about candidates' backgrounds as well as personal statements, can be found on The Florida Bar website at www.floridabar.org/judicialcandidates.

Biographical information includes education, work history and community involvement. Additionally, candidates were asked to include 100-word personal statements explaining why they believe they would serve the public well as judges. The statements were recommended by the Bar's Citizens Forum advisory group to help further inform voters.

As with other judicial candidate communications, the voluntary self-disclosure statements are governed by Canon 7 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which bars candidates from making statements that appear to commit them on legal issues likely to come before them in court. Before posting information online with The Florida Bar, candidates had to attest to the accuracy of the information they provided. To be posted, statements had to be received by The Florida Bar by June 27.

In total, 91 out of 189 candidates responded to the voluntary questionnaire. In the 32 circuit court races, at least one candidate responded in 24 races. In the 44 county court races, at least one candidate responded in 35 races.

Additional information about judicial elections and the November merit retention election can be found at www.floridabar.org/thevotesinyourcourt, including Guide for Florida Voters in both English and Spanish.

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EDITORS: Please note The Florida Bar is not an association and "Association" is not part of our name. Proper reference is "The Florida Bar." Local bar organizations are properly termed "associations."

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EDITORS: Please note The Florida Bar is not an association and "Association" is not part of our name. Proper reference is "The Florida Bar." Local bar organizations are properly termed "associations."

[Revised: 07-06-2012]