The Herald continues it judicial recommendations, focusing on Miami-Dade Circuit Court.
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Three candidates are vying for this open seat: Rosy Aponte, 43, a sole practitioner; Carol “Jodie” Breece, 56, the ethics counsel for the Broward County Inspector General’s Office, a former trial attorney and Miami-Dade assistant state attorney and Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts, 53, a former Miami city attorney and Miami-Dade public defender.
All three gave the Editorial Board strong, thoughtful answers about what they would bring to the bench.
Mr. Rodriguez-Fonts, a Miami native, said he brings sensitivity to the people of this community, whom he has long served. What’s a top issue facing the judicial system: “Poverty,” he said. “Many people don’t have the means to pursue equal representation.” How true.
Ms. Aponte is concerned about courtroom bullying allowed by judges who give the appearance of not being impartial.
But Ms. Breece gave the best answer: “When people walk into a courtroom, they should be treated with fairness, respect and dignity and that translates into people’s trust in their government.” Well said.
Because of the depth of her experience and high rating with the Florida Bar, the Herald recommends CAROL “JODIE” BREECE in Group 52.
Robert Luck, 37, appointed in 2013 after five years as an assistant U.S. attorney, is being challenged by Yolly Roberson, 60, a former member of the Florida House of Representatives.
Ms. Roberson says Judge Luck has never had a competitive race and she believes, “Voters deserve a choice.” Her legislative experience and activity in the community, especially on behalf of Haitians in Miami, offer a commendable record of public service.
We give the nod to incumbent Judge Luck, however, on the basis of his trial experience, both on the bench and as a federal prosecutor — a valuable proving ground. He says he’s proud of his reputation for even-handedness on the bench and touts bar polls where he ranks high in terms of fairness. He deserves another term.
The Herald recommends ROBERT J. LUCK in Group 66.
Incumbent George “Jorge” Sarduy, 52, is opposed by Elena Ortega-Tauler, 59, a lawyer for nearly 30 years with a practice focusing on family law, personal injury cases and civil litigation.
She touts the breadth of her experience and says she would serve with compassion as “a judge of second chances.” In 1998, the Florida Supreme Court suspended Ms. Ortega-Tauler’s attorney’s license for three years for the misappropriation of clients’ money.
This is the first real race for Judge Sarduy, who serves in the family division. He was appointed to county court by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2006 and elevated to circuit court two years later. He told the Editorial Board that he was a high school dropout but worked hard to change course, helped by many people along the way.
Judge Sarduy has a good record on the bench, but we offer a note of caution: Credible courtroom observers told the Editorial Board that he can be rude at times, particularly to African-American defendants. That’s disappointing to hear and should be corrected.
The Herald recommends GEORGE “JORGE” SARDUY in Group 74.