The Florida Bar
The Vote’s in YOUR COURT - Judicial Merit Retention
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Florida law requires Florida Supreme Court justices and appeals court judges to be placed on the ballot in nonpartisan elections every six years, so voters can determine whether the judges or justices should remain on their courts for another six-year term.These are called "merit retention" elections. In 2016, three Supreme Court justices and 28 of the state's 62 appeals court judges will be on the ballot.
The 2016 Guide has answers to questions such as:
- What is the difference between a county and circuit court judge and an appellate judge?
- Why is it important to vote in judicial elections and merit retention elections?
- What exactly does a judge do?
Guia para los votantes en español
Videos: Merit selection and Retention
- In the upcoming general election, why am I being asked to vote "yes" or "no" on some District Court of Appeal judges? (Video YouTube 58 sec.)
- On the merit retention questions, what do "yes" and "no' votes mean and are there opponents in these elections? (Video YouTube 33 sec.)
- How did Florida decide to use the merit retention election system and where can I learn more about it? (Video YouTube 1:08 min.)
The Florida Bar will produce pamphlets for each district court and the Supreme Court, with biographical information provided by the judges and justices who will be on the ballot. A limited number of printed copies are available to community groups on request. Contact email@example.com.
|● Florida Supreme Court|
● First District Court of Appeal
● Second District Court of Appeal
|● Third District Court of Appeal|
● Fourth District Court of Appeal
● Fifth District Court of Appeal
Florida Supreme Court biographies
The Florida Supreme Court is the highest court in Florida. Supreme Court justices decide death penalty appeals and appeals from decisions of the appellate courts; resolve conflicts among appellate courts; and oversee the administration of Florida’s court system. The Florida Supreme Court has seven justices; three face merit retention votes in 2016.
Charles T. Canady
Ricky L. Polston
The court covers Alachua, Baker, Bay, Bradford, Calhoun, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Gulf, Hamilton, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Nassau, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Wakulla, Walton and Washington counties. It has 14 judges; six face merit retention votes in 2016.
Lori S. Rowe
The court covers Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota counties. It has 15 judges; 10 face merit retention votes in 2016.
Marva L. Crenshaw
Patricia J. Kelly
Nelly N. Khouzam
Stevan Travis Northcutt
Samuel Salario, Jr.
Craig C. Villanti
Douglas Alan Wallace
The court covers Dade and Monroe counties. It has 10 judges; two face merit retention votes in 2016.
Edwin A. Scales
Linda Ann Wells
The court covers Broward, Indian River, Okeechobee, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Martin counties. It has 12 judges; six face merit retention votes in 2016.
Cory J. Ciklin
Dorian K. Damoorgian
Jonathan D. Gerber
Robert M. Gross
Spencer D. Levine
Melanie G. May
The court covers Brevard, Citrus, Flagler, Hernando, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns, Sumter and Volusia counties. It has 11 judges; four face merit retention votes in 2016.
James A. Edwards
Vincent G. Torpy, Jr.
Florida Supreme Court and Appellate Courts decisions
Learn more about the opinions handed down by the Florida Supreme Court and the state's five appellate courts: