Hot Topics 8/8/18
Every election, you hear it – “Which judge candidates should I vote for?”
Wednesday, the LWVOC’s Hot Topics was there to help, presenting nine circuit and county judicial candidates in a question-and-answer session moderated by Orange County Judge Eric DuBois.
Bound by the judiciary ethics rules, judge candidates, of course, can’t address political issues that will come before any give court -- “As judges, we lose our 1st Amendment rights,” DuBois said. Still, the Hot Topics Q&A gave League members and guests a sense of the candidates’ temperaments, speaking skills and perspicacity.
Candidates were Jeff Ashton and Howard Friedman, Circuit Group 15; Joseph Haynes Davis and Tom Young, Circuit Group 26; Lorraine DeYoung, Dean Mosley and Laura Shaffer, Circuit Group 41; and Adam McGinnis and Doricia Rivas, County Group 11.
One issue brought up by Judge DuBois that could be addressed by all was overcrowded dockets. Candidate comments ranged from having to work all the harder (Ashton), being punctual (DeYoung), avoiding too many delays (Mosley), efficiency and not letting cases languish (Shaffer), discipline (Rivas).
Candidates also mentioned that the Legislature can pass laws that can clog the docket. Last legislative session, a bill to add two Circuit judges in Orange-Osceola failed to move forward at the last minute. As Dubois said, the judiciary is one-third of state government but gets only 1 percent of the budget.
Finally, panelists were asked what qualities are important for judges. Among the answers: good listener and non-vindictive (Ashton), fair-minded (Friedman), afford the public the dignity they deserve (Davis), approachable and even-tempered (Young), impartiality and respect for the process (Mosley), treating a judgeship like an act of community service (McGinnis).
LWVOC co-president Gloria Pickar closed HT with a suggestion that members use two web sites with an eye to the Aug. 28 Florida primary: bereadytovote.org and 411.org
You can also view the entire luncheon on our Facebook Live Feed