The Herald continues it judicial recommendations today, focusing on Miami-Dade Circuit Court. The recommendations will continue on Tuesday.
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Judge Jason Bloch was appointed to the Circuit Court in 2014 by Gov. Rick Scott, a grueling process that we find speaks well of most jurists. He previously served as an assistant county attorney, spending 20 years in the office. A former colleague said of him: “If you’re in a foxhole, you want him in there with you,” which also speaks well of his skills as a litigator and his commitment to serving as a judge.
He faces challenger Marcia Del Rey, a sole family law practitioner. She says she wants to serve on the bench to fight for victims, mainly troubled juveniles. “My passion is helping children,” she said. A long-time resident, Ms. Del Rey attended Carrollton School and graduated in FIU’s first law school class.
This race comes with some drama. The courthouse speculation, which Mr. Bloch confirms, is that there is move afoot to “get me off the bench,” he said. The effort is being led by a long-time nemesis with whom he tussled in court as an attorney and who has hassled him ever since, he said.
In its backgrounding, the JNC reviewed allegations made against Judge Bloch. The commission found that they “lack merit” and nominated him to the bench which should give voters the same confidence.
And Ms. Del Rey, 41, says it was her decision alone to run.“I would not target a specific judge,” she told the Editorial Board. Good to hear.
Recently, Judge Bloch, 48, angered some when he ruled that the accused teen killer of North Miami Beach rabbi should be released on bond as he questioned the strength of the prosecution’s case. He is unsure if his actions in that criminal case will impact his race.
Although he’s a new judge, we give Mr. Bloch the edge because of his more extensive experience.
The Herald recommends JASON E. BLOCH in Group 9.
This open seat due to the retirement of Judge Gill Freeman has drawn four strong, experienced candidates.
Mark Blumstein, 47, is a former Surfside commissioner in private practice, focusing on civil cases, who has also served as U.S. Navy lawyer. He is a champion of the new Veterans Court that focuses on helping former servicemen, particularly those with drug problems, through the judicial process.
Renee Gordon, 45, is a long-time public defender who says she is proud of having litigated over 85 criminal cases to verdict. She also represents juveniles in the criminal justice system and says that, if elected, she would prefer to serve in juvenile court.
After a career as an insurance agent, Luis Perez-Medina, 56, has been a Miami-Dade prosecutor since graduating from law school in 2006. There, his assignments have included supervising felony attorneys, working in the high-profile Public Corruption Unit and trying homicide cases.
Denise Martinez-Scanziani, 41, has been an attorney in private practice for over 16 years. She says she has represented over 1,700 clients in a wide variety of cases, including civil, criminal, immigration and probate and litigated over 650 trials. And, she said, she is the only AV-rated trial and appellate attorney — a significant peer rating — in the group.
These are four impressive candidates, any of whom would do well on the bench. Our nod goes to Ms. Martinez-Scanziani on the basis of her experience and AV rating.
The Herald recommends Denise Martinez-Scanziani in Group 34.