Judges in Limbo

By: Sabrina Zimring
By: Sabrina Zimring

The legislature created the 55 new judge positions to meet heavy case loads all over the state.

The bill, which Governor Jeb Bush allowed to become law without his signature, says the voters will elect the new judges.

A judicial nominating committee from Miami says that goes against the state constitution which allows the governor to appoint people to judge vacancies.

The timing couldn't be worse for three local men interested in one of the new positions.

The case before the Supreme Court comes just two weeks before candidates must officially qualify to run for the new judge’s job in the 14th judicial circuit.

County Court Judge Elijah Smiley is preparing to resign his current seat on the bench to run for the circuit judgeship. He says he's been caught off guard by this latest development, but he's not changing directions.

The five day official qualifying period starts Monday. The Supreme Court has been asked to rule on the lawsuit by Monday or extend that qualifying deadline. But that delay could throw a wrench into the September 5 primary.

The court isn't scheduled to rule until sometime after July 26, five days after the qualifying period ends. That could mean county judges throughout the state trying to get elected to circuit seats might not run.

The toughest thing for the potential candidates all over the state is the uncertainty. They could spend millions of dollars combined, only to see the money go to waste.


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