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Lawyers weigh in on judicial qualifications: justices, judges standing for retention get high marks.

Florida lawyers overwhelmingly recommend retaining in office three Supreme Court justices and 17 district court of appeal judges, according to results of The Florida Bar's biennial merit retention judicial poll.

"I am pleased to see that those most familiar with the qualifications of these jurists give them high marks," Bar President Hank Coxe said when the results were released September 18.

Supreme Court Chief Justice R. Fred Lewis and Justices Barbara J. Pariente and Peggy A. Quince will be on the ballot statewide November 7 with voters being asked whether they should be retained for six-year terms. The 17 DCA judges will appear on ballots in the counties over which their courts have jurisdiction with voters likewise being asked if they should be retained for six-year terms.

A secret ballot mailed in August to all lawyers residing and practicing in Florida asked respondents whether the incumbent justices and judges should be retained or not, and asked that they consider eight attributes in their ratings. They are quality and clarity of judicial opinions; knowledge of the law; integrity; judicial temperament; impartiality; freedom from bias/prejudice; demeanor; and courtesy.

Only lawyers indicating at least limited knowledge or greater of the judges were included in the poll results. The Bar sent out 58,682 ballots; a total of 4,779 lawyers participated. In all, the Bar has 79,363 members. Some live out of state; others are inactive.

For the Supreme Court, poll results indicate:

* 89 percent support retaining Chief Justice Fred Lewis.

* 84 percent favor retaining Justice Barbara Pariente.

* 83 percent support retaining Justice Peggy Quince..

For the First District Court of Appeal, the results were: 90 percent favor retaining Judge Edwin B. Browning Jr.,; 75 percent support retaining Judge Bradford L. Thomas; 88 percent support retaining Judge Peter D. Webster.

For the Second District Court of Appeal, the results were: 90 percent favor retaining Judge Darryl C. Casanueva; 87 percent support retaining Judge Charles A. Davis, Jr.; 89 percent support retaining Judge Edward C. LaRose; 87 percent support retaining Judge E.J. Salcines; 91 percent support retaining Judge Thomas E. Stringer.

For the Third District Court of Appeal, the results were: 78 percent favor retaining Judge Angel A. Cortinas; 72 percent support retaining Judge Leslie Rothenberg; 87 percent support retaining Judge Richard J. Suarez

For the Fourth District Court of Appeal, the results were: 89 percent support retaining Judge Bobby W. Gunther; 91 percent support retaining Judge Fred A. Hazouri; 91 percent support retaining Judge Larry A. Klein; 90 percent support retaining Judge Barry J. Stone; 88 percent support retaining Judge Carole Y. Taylor.

For the Fifth District Court of Appeal, the results were: 90 percent support retaining Judge Emerson R. Thompson, Jr.

Since the first merit retention election in 1978, The Florida Bar has published results of its polls as a public service. If the judge is not retained, a vacancy is created and will be filled through the merit selection process.
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Publication:Florida Bar News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2006
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