The Florida Bar

News Releases


February 20, 2020
CONTACT: Lydia S. Zbrzeznj, Chair; [email protected]
Tenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission
TELEPHONE: 863-656-6672

The Tenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission has been asked to provide Gov. Ron DeSantis with nominees for the vacancy in the Polk County Court created by the retirement of Judge John Kirkland.

The commission requests that interested candidates submit an application for consideration. Applicants must meet the qualifications for county court judges described in Article V, Section 8, of the Florida Constitution.

Applicants must submit three copies of their application by 5 p.m. on Friday, Mar. 6, as follows:

(1): The original unredacted paper application shall be delivered to:

Lydia S. Zbrzeznj

Southern Atlantic Law Group, PLLC

99 Sixth Street SW

Winter Haven, Florida 33880

(2): The original unredacted application shall be emailed in .pdf format to: [email protected]

(3): A redacted .pdf of the application shall be emailed to [email protected] Personal information not subject to public disclosure—such as the social security number—shall be redacted as permitted by Section 119.071 of the Florida Statutes.

Untimely applications will not be considered. The filename for .pdf applications should be as follows “20.03.06 FIRSTNAME LASTNAME County Application (redacted /unredacted).”

Applications may be downloaded from The Florida Bar’s website and the Office of the Governor.

NOTE TO APPLICANTS: To assist the JNC in its review of applications, all questions must be fully and completely answered. Applications must include current contact information, including e-mail addresses, for judges, co-counsel, opposing counsel, and references to facilitate the background investigation that will be conducted by the members of the commission.


Lydia S. Zbrzeznj (chair)

Southern Atlantic Law Group, PLLC

99 Sixth Street SW

Winter Haven, FL 33880

Tel.: 863-656-6672

[email protected]

Krista Mahalak (vice-chair)

Peterson & Myers, P.A.

242 West Central Avenue

Winter Haven, FL 33880

Tel.: 863-294-3360

[email protected]

Patrice F. Behnstedt

Office of the Public Defender Polk County Courthouse 3rd Floor

P.O. Box 9000

Bartow, FL 33831-9000

Tel.: 863-534-4200

[email protected]

Benjamin W. Hardin, Jr.

Hardin & Ball, P.A.

P.O. Box 3604

Lakeland, FL 33802-3604

Tel.: 863-688-5200

[email protected]

Frederick Murphy Boswell & Dunlap, LLP

245 S. Central Avenue

Bartow, FL 33830

Tel.: 863-533-7117

[email protected]

Edward Blake Paul

Peterson & Myers, P.A

P.O. Box 24628

Lakeland, FL 33802-4628

Tel.: 863-683-6511

[email protected]

Robert S. Swaine

Swaine & Harris, P.A.

425 S. Commerce Avenue

Sebring, FL 33870

Tel.: 8863-385-1549

[email protected]

Richard E. Straughn

Straughn & Turner, P.A.

255 Magnolia Avenue SW

Winter Haven, FL 33880

Tel: 863-293-1184

[email protected]


About The Florida Bar

Founded in 1949, The Florida Bar serves the legal profession for the protection and benefit of both the public and all Florida lawyers. As one of the nation’s largest mandatory bars, The Florida Bar fosters and upholds a high standard of integrity and competence within Florida’s legal profession as an official arm of the Florida Supreme Court. To learn more, visit

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