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The Vote’s in YOUR COURT – Judicial Merit Retention

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The Vote's in Your Court
This Vote’s in Your Court page serves as a resource for voters. The Florida Bar will keep it updated to provide background information on the issue of judicial merit retention.Thank you for turning to The Vote’s in Your Court!

 


On This Page

Merit retention poll
Voter Guide
Videos
Voter Resources
Judicial Biographies
Court Decisions

Important Election Dates for 2018

  • Noon, May 4: Qualifying deadline for judicial candidates
  • July 30: Voter registration deadline for primary election
  • Aug. 28: Primary election
  • Oct. 9: Voter registration deadline for general election
  • Nov. 6: General election
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Florida Bar merit retention poll

The statewide merit retention judicial poll for Florida Supreme Court justices and District Courts of Appeal judges is conducted every two years by The Florida Bar. In-state members are asked to rate judges and justices who are up for retention and of whom they have direct knowledge. The merit retention poll is supervised by the Judicial Administration & Evaluation Committee of The Florida Bar.

The 2016 merit retention poll was mailed to in-state Florida Bar members on Aug. 15 and the results were released Sept. 13:

2016 merit retention poll results

2016 general election results (select “Supreme Court Justices” or “District Court of Appeal”)

Merit retention poll results from 1978-2016

 


Voter Guide

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 were on the ballot.
The 2016 Guide answered 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?

Guide for Florida Voters: Q and A about Judges, Judicial Elections and Merit Retention

Guia para los votantes en español


Videos

Videos: Merit Selection and RetentionConsumer Videos

Voter Resources

 


2016 Judicial Biographies

The Florida Bar produced a Merit Retention brochure with biographical information provided by the judges and justices who will be on the ballot.

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

 


Supreme Court

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. Read their biographies

Supreme Court

 

Justice Canady
Charles T. Canady
Justice Labarga
Jorge Labarga
Justice Polston
Ricky L. Polston

First District Court of Appeal

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.

The First DCA has 14 judges; six face merit retention votes in 2016. Read their biographies.

First DCA Building

 

Judge Bilbrey
Ross Bilbrey
Judge Kelsey
Susan Kelsey
Judge Rowe
Lori S. Rowe
Judge Wetherell
Kent Wetherell
Judge Winokur
Bo Winokur
Judge Wolf
Jim Wolf
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Second District Court of Appeal

The court covers Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota counties.

The Second DCA has 15 judges; 10 face merit retention votes in 2016. Read their biographies.

2nd DCA Building
Judge Badalamenti
John Badalamenti
Judge Crenshaw
Marva L. Crenshaw
Judge Kelly
Patricia J. Kelly
2nd Judge Khouzam
Nelly N. Khouzam
2nd Judge Lucas
Matt Lucas
2nd Judge-morris
Robert Morris
2nd Judge-morris2
Stevan Travis Northcutt
2nd Judge Salario
Samuel Salario, Jr.
2nd Judge Valanti
Craig C. Villanti
2nd Judge Wallace
Douglas Alan Wallace
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Third District Court of Appeal

The court covers Dade and Monroe counties. It has 10 judges; two face merit retention votes in 2016. Read their biographies.
3nd DCA Building
3rd Judge Scales
Edwin A. Scales
3rd Judge-wells
Linda Ann Wells
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Fourth District Court of Appeal

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. Read their biographies.
4th DCA Building
4th Judge Ciklin
Cory J. Ciklin
4th Judge Damoorgian
Dorian K. Damoorgian
4th Judge Gerber
Jonathan D. Gerber
4th JudgeGross
Robert M. Gross
4th Judge Levine
Spencer D. Levine
4th Judge May
Melanie G. May
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Fifth District Court of Appeal

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. Read their biographies.
5th DCA Building
5th Judge Cohen
Jay Cohen
5th Judge Edwards
James A. Edwards
Rm-5Th-Judge Lambert. a Rt
Brian Lambert
5th Judge Torpy
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:

Guide for Florida Voters