Judge Susan Lebow is the senior-most jurist in Broward's criminal court, having spent 24 years presiding over jury trials. She tries at least 100 cases a year, many of them high profile. With that kind of volume in criminal proceedings, contested rulings are inevitable.
One such ruling occurred in 2009. Judge Lebow ordered a trial to proceed in a first-degree murder case despite the prosecutor's request for a one-day delay because of a mix-up in obtaining evidence. When the prosecutor refused to begin without evidence, Judge Lebow tossed the case. The Broward state attorney is rightly appealing her ruling. The defendant is in jail on other charges.
It appears to be on the basis of this ruling that Jill Rafilovich opposes Judge Lebow. Ms. Rafilovich, 45, is an immigration lawyer and former attorney for what is now the Depart- ment of Children & Families.
But voters would be wrong to oust one of Broward's most seasoned criminal-court judges -- especially at a time when other veteran trial judges have been reprimanded or have resigned because of misconduct.
There's not a hint of such injudicious behavior attached to Judge Lebow. Before her election to county court in 1984, the judge, 63, practiced civil law for 10 years. In 1992, she was appointed to the circuit court. She is known for her independence and for ignoring external pressures in highly charged cases. Good traits on the bench.
For Broward County Circuit Court Group 9 The Miami Herald recommends JUDGE SUSAN LEBOW.