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Poll shows support for appellate judges standing for retention

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Poll shows support for appellate judges standing for retention

Florida lawyers have overwhelmingly recommended the retention of 22 district courts of appeal judges — with an average ranking of 88 percent — standing for merit retention November 4, according to results of The Florida Bar’s merit retention judicial poll.

The confidential poll seeks to find whether attorneys who know the most about these jurists believe they should continue in their jobs.

No Supreme Court justices are on the retention ballot this year.

Greg Coleman “I am proud that Florida lawyers participated in this worthy endeavor to give guidance to Florida voters about the district courts of appeal judges on the merit retention ballot this year,” said Bar President Greg Coleman. “Most Florida citizens do not have reason to be in our appeals courts, where judges review cases on appeal from the trial courts. So it can be difficult for them to assess judicial performance.

“They can go to the court websites for their district court of appeal to read decisions, but the results of this poll give Floridians an excellent resource to determine how the attorneys practicing in these courts assess the judges they practice before. Once again, as in past years, the assessment is very positive.”

Coleman said the results are “very positive” because Florida’s merit selection/retention process does a top-notch job of finding attorneys who are extremely qualified to serve as appellate jurists.

The Results

For this year’s merit retention poll, a ballot mailed in August to all lawyers residing and practicing in Florida asked whether the incumbent appeals court judges should be retained. It also asked that they consider eight attributes in making their decisions. Those attributes are quality and clarity of judicial opinions; knowledge of the law; integrity; judicial temperament; impartiality; freedom from bias/prejudice; demeanor; and courtesy.

For the First District Court of Appeal, poll results indicate support for retention of:

* Robert T. Benton by 91 percent.

* Joseph Lewis, Jr., by 90 percent.

* Scott Makar by 82 percent.

* Tim Osterhaus by 83 percent.

* Clay Roberts by 85 percent.

For the Second District Court of Appeal, poll results indicate support for retention of:

* Chris W. Altenbernd by 95 percent.

* Morris Silberman by 94 percent.

* Daniel H. Sleet by 91 percent.

For the Third District Court of Appeal, poll results indicate support for retention of:

* Barbara Lagoa by 86 percent.

* Thomas Logue by 90 percent.

* Vance E. Salter by 90 percent.

For the Fourth District Court of Appeal, poll results indicate support for retention of:

* Alan O. Forst by 79 percent.

* Mark W. Klingensmith by 82 percent.

* W. Matthew Stevenson by 92 percent.

* Martha C. Warner by 93 percent.

For the Fifth District Court of Appeal, poll results indicate support for retention of:

* Wendy W. Berger by 82 percent.

* Kerry I. Evander by 90 percent.

* Charles Alan Lawson by 90 percent.

* Richard B. Orfinger by 92 percent.

* William David Palmer by 88 percent.

* Thomas D. Sawaya by 92 percent.

* F. Rand Wallis by 86 percent.

The Bar sent out 70,467 ballots to in-state members in good standing and 5,206 lawyers participated. Only responses by lawyers indicating considerable or limited knowledge of the judges were included in the poll results.
Other Resources
* The Vote’s in Your Court webpage — www.floridabar.org/thevotesinyourcourt.

*
The Guide for Florida Voters. To request copies of the guide, email [email protected] .

* Judicial Candidate Voluntary Bar Self-Disclosure Statements — www.floridabar.org/judicialcandidates.

“Florida’s court system depends on voters educating themselves and making informed decisions at the ballot box,” said Coleman. “For more than three decades, Florida’s merit retention system has worked well. I urge voters to make their voices heard on November 4; the vote truly is in their court.”

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