Our recommendations for three County Court races in Broward County:Broward County Court, Group 6
Ilene Lieberman, a long-time fixture in Broward politics, wants to move to the county court bench. She is running for an open seat against Kathleen Katie McHugh, 40, an attorney with significant experience in both civil litigation and as a criminal defense attorney.
Ms. Lieberman began her political career on the Lauderhill Council in 1984. A former mayor of Broward County, she has been on the county commission since 1996. Over the years, she has held a number of other elected and non-elected positions. This would be her first experience on the bench, however, and, at 65, she would be limited to one term because of her age.
Ms. McHugh enjoys a more impressive legal résumé covering 18 years of trial work, including service as a public defender from 1995 to 1998 and 100 jury trials. Her current practice includes business and commercial litigation. She is also a juvenile dependency attorney representing indigent parents charged with violations by the Department of Children and Families.
Ms. McHughs courtroom experience gives her the edge in this race. She says serving on the bench in county court, where defendants often have their first brush with the law, presents an opportunity to help people before they get into real trouble.
For Broward County Court Judge Group 6, The Miami Herald recommends KATIE MCHUGH
.Broward County Court, Group 10
Incumbent Robert F. Bob Diaz, 59, is facing opposition on the ballot for the first time since he was appointed to the bench in 1992 and had to immediately run against challengers.
Running against him are Roshawn Banks, 43, a former prosecutor and public defender now in private practice as a sole practitioner; and Randy Goodis, 44, also a former public defender and prosecutor.
Ms. Banks practices in both state and federal court. She says her broad experience is good preparation for the variety of cases she will encounter in county court.
Mr. Goodis says he once worked for a boutique DUI firm. He says that as an attorney he has been on all sides of the table and has the experience and compassion that would make him a good judge.
Judge Diaz, one of the first Hispanics appointed to the Broward bench, deserves to remain on the job. He has a solid reputation among prosecutors and defense attorneys, though the Florida Supreme Court in 2005 upheld a disciplinary charge against him.
Judge Diaz chose not to contest charges of sending anonymous emails to Judge Lee Seidman and the Hispanic Bar involving Judge Seidmans mistreatment of illegal immigrants in his courtroom, even though a dissent noted Judge Diaz had not violated judicial canons. The dissent also noted that this was an isolated instance that did not involve the performance of his duties.
Despite that one miscue, Judge Diaz is a well-respected member of Browards legal profession, with a reputation for running an efficient, professional court and dispensing impartial justice. For Broward County Court Judge Group 10, The Miami Herald recommends ROBERT F. BOB DIAZ.Broward County Court, Group 32
Incumbent Terri-Ann Miller, 57, completing her first term on the bench in Broward County, is running against Melanie Golden, 33, who is making her first bid for office.
Ms. Miller, who served on the bench in Miami-Dade County for eight years, is currently assigned to the Hollywood satellite office, where she hears both civil and criminal cases.
An attorney for 33 years, Judge Miller says the most common cases she hears involve driving without a license. She recently dismissed red-light camera cases in her court on the grounds that no statute authorizes delegation of authority to issue tickets to a private vendor. The cases are pending in appellate court.
Ms. Golden has spent most of her years in the legal field as an assistant public defender. In her current practice, she handles criminal and civil cases, including representing banking lenders in contested foreclosure cases.
Judge Millers experience and record on the bench make her our choice. Ms. Golden has a promising career and should try again.
For Broward County Court Judge Group 32, The Miami Herald recommends TERRI-ANN MILLER.