BARTOW — Sixteen lawyers and judges, including the four who have been nominated for a current Polk County court vacancy, are seeking a gubernatorial appointment to an upcoming vacancy on the Tenth Judicial Circuit Court.
The circuit’s Judicial Nominating Commission will meet telephonically May 12 to interview the 16 candidates and select up to six nominees for Gov. Ron DeSantis’ consideration. The new judge will serve the three-county circuit, including Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties.
Those seeking the post are:
• Gregory Atkinson, a general magistrate in the Tenth Judicial Circuit.
• Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Beato.
• Assistant State Attorney Harold V. Bennett III.
• David Carmichael, a lawyer with Boswell & Dunlap in Bartow.
• Assistant State Attorney Josephine Colon.
• Donald E. Conway, a senior attorney for the Florida Department of Transportation.
• Assistant Public Defender Eric S. Gardner Jr.
• Polk County Judge Mary Catherine Green.
• Kevin Kohl, a lawyer with Boswell & Dunlap in Bartow.
• Cachina King Patterson, a lawyer with the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel in Bartow.
• Adam D. Patton, a lawyer in private practice in Lakeland.
• Brenda Ramirez, a lawyer with the Kaylor Law Group in Lakeland.
Jennifer L. Steimle, a senior trial court law clerk with the Tenth Judicial Circuit.
• Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Swenson.
• William Twyford, a lawyer in private practice in Winter Haven.
• John C. Waters, a lawyer with Lopez & Humphries in Lakeland.
On March 19, the same commission nominated Swenson, Waters, Kohl and Ramirez for a vacancy on the Polk County bench, and DeSantis has until May 19 to make a decision on that appointment to replace retiring Judge John Kirkland.
The 16 candidates who submitted applications by Friday’s deadline are seeking to replace Circuit Judge William Bruce Smith, who is retiring July 31.
The new Circuit Court judge will serve until 2021, at which time the appointed judge will have the option of seeking election to a six-year term.
Candidates for circuit judge must be registered voters, must reside in the circuit they will serve and must have been members of the Florida Bar for five years.
Circuit judges preside over legal matters including felony criminal cases, civil lawsuits for more than $30,000 and family law cases including divorce and child dependency. They are paid $160,688 annually.
Suzie Schottelkotte can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 863-533-9070. Follow her on Twitter @southpolkscene.