4th Circuit Judge, Group 34

Published On: Jul 28 2012 12:56:31 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 28 2012 01:06:44 PM EDT

Voters in Clay, Duval and Nassau counties will vote in this non-partisan election of a judge to a six-year term in 4th Judicial Circuit,Group 34.

The following two candidates will appear on the Aug. 14 primary ballot for this non-partisan post:

Suzanne Bass

AGE:   60

FAMILY:   Fred, husband; Helen, daughter

OCCUPATION:  Attorney, mediator, law professor and small business owner

EDUCATION:   J.D. from University of Richmond; B.A. from Emory University

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE:  No previous political experience

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE TOP THREE ISSUES IN THIS RACE?

  1. Electing judges of the highest integrity with balanced experience.
  2. Accountability of all elected officials, including judges.
  3. The public education of the role of judges, their power, and the importance of casting informed votes.

HOW DO YOU THINK YOU CAN HELP VOTERS IN A WAY OTHERS IN THIS RACE CAN'T?

  • "I bring 30+ years of balanced experience as a former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney in state and federal courtrooms. I am the only candidate in this race with a Martindale-Hubbell AV rating for highest ethical and legal standards. I am the only candidate in this race who is a Florida Supreme Court-certified Mediator. I am the only candidate in this race who has taught a law school course. I am the only candidate in this race who has operated her own law firm for more than 20 years."

WHAT WOULD YOU HOPE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR ACCOMPLISHING AFTER SERVING IN THIS OFFICE?

  • "Respect to the litigants, respect for the office, ruling with impartiality, and behaving with composure."

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE:  SuzanneBassForJudge.com

John Merrett

AGE:   51

FAMILY:   Married to Susan Merrett for 29 years; 2 sons, Elijah (28), married for 6 years and Jacob (24) getting married July 21

OCCUPATION:  Elected circuit judge in 2006

EDUCATION:  Florida State University College of Law, graduated with honors, 1986; B.S. in history, Jacksonville University; 1981; Bishop Kenny High School

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE:  Elected circuit court judge in 2006

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE TOP THREE ISSUES IN THIS RACE?

  • "Judicial races do not have issues in the traditional sense and they are nonpartisan. The issue at hand is: who has the depth and breadth of experience and is best ready to fulfill the unique role of Judge. I learned from Ed Austin how to prosecute and how to be fair. This experience, coupled with my many years in the private practice, as well as the six years I have served on the bench make me the most qualified candidate in this race."

HOW DO YOU THINK YOU CAN HELP VOTERS IN A WAY OTHERS IN THIS RACE CAN'T?

  • "After more than 25 years in the justice system, including the last 6 as a Judge, John knows what it takes. Whether it was his years working for Ed Austin or his 13 years in private practice or his last 6 as a Judge, John has experience in every kind of Circuit Court Case. You are electing a Trial Judge and the demands of justice require someone with the experience and dedication to perform that task.

    "My wife Susan and I have lived here all of our lives and raised our two sons here.

    "Public service is a tradition in my family. My great grandmother was one of the first female officers in the Jacksonville Police Department, my granddad was a Jacksonville police detective, my dad was a Jacksonville firefighter and my mom is a retired teacher. Both of our sons are also teachers.

    "In the six years I was privileged to work for Ed Austin, the biggest lesson I learned was that justice is blind and each case and each litigant must be heard individually and judged fairly. In my years since working for Ed, 13 in private practice and now 6 on the bench, I have had the type of life experiences as well as experience in every kind of Circuit Court case necessary to continue to be a compassionate but firm voice for justice.

    "I know what really matters to the citizens of this area and I will bring a perspective to the bench that others may lack. I have the intellect, the experience, and the temperament to listen to all sides and to make fair and legal decisions. I believe that experience counts and that good judgment is borne of our life experiences."

WHAT WOULD YOU HOPE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR ACCOMPLISHING AFTER SERVING IN THIS OFFICE?

  • "Every person who steps into the courtroom deserves to be on an equal footing and to be treated with the same dignity and respect. I understand the proper role of a judge and will always follow the law and the Constitution. If elected, I will uphold the law as written and never legislate from the bench. "

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE:  JudgeJohnMerrett.com

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