CLEARWATER – Pinellas County Judge Patrick Caddell died from cancer Tuesday, May 27, 2014.
Ron Stuart, public information officer for the Sixth Judicial Circuit announced the news.
“I am truly sad to report that Pinellas County Judge Pat Caddell passed away this morning at Largo Medical Center,” Stuart said in an email.
Caddell, 60, served as a Pinellas County Judge since 1986. According to the Conference of County Court Judges of Florida, he is the longest serving election canvasser in the state. He served on the Pinellas County Canvassing Board for every election for the past 22 years.
“Judge Patrick Caddell was a dedicated member of our election family for 22 years and served our voters with honor,” said Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark. “No one cared more about ensuring the integrity of election results. As chairman of the Pinellas County Canvassing Board, his knowledge of the election process was both invaluable and unprecedented. He generously shared his wealth of experience with county judges statewide by conducting seminars and mentoring those who chaired canvassing boards in other counties. He will be truly missed, and our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with his wife Sue and his family.”
The Clearwater Bar Association awarded Caddell with the George W. Greer Judicial Independence Award May 16 during the annual Law Day Awards presentation. The award honors Judge George W. Greer for the work he did on the Terri Schaivo case.
The award is not something the association bestows every year as it goes only to those who act with “courageous judicial independence, sometimes involving an unpopular decision that excites the mob. Sometimes it involves siding with the little guy against the substantial power of the government,” according to a statement released by the association prior to the award ceremony.
Caddell’s recognition was for the way he handled a case of a St. Petersburg physician who received a citation for a scrolling message on a sign in front of his office. The city’s sign ordinance allowed certain venues more leeway in operations of their signs than it did others.
Caddell found that the double standard violated the equal protection clause and struck down a portion of the ordinance.
According to a statement from the Clearwater Bar, when the physician thanked Caddell “for recognizing the natural born rights I have of free speech,” Caddell said, “It’s what I do for a living. Don’t think you’re anything special.”
“This is the kind of judicial independence that we should all appreciate,” the association said.
Caddell received other awards during his time on the bench. In 2005, he was the only judge to receive the Governor’s Peace at Home: Stopping Domestic Violence Award. He also received a Leadership Award for reducing domestic violence. In 2001, he received a Special Recognition Award for his work with the Florida Association of County Judge’s Public Education of the Courts Team. He received an Outstanding Service Award in 1998.
He took the lead in the creation of Courtroom 23 at the Justice Center to allow first appearance advisory hearings to take place in the same location each day, including weekends and holidays. He had picnic tables installed in the judge’s parking lot. He also served on the Judicial Management Committee, an advisory committee to the Chief Judge.
He was a former president of the Family Service Centers of Pinellas County and a former member of the Girls Club of Pinellas Park Board of Directors, Pinellas-Pasco District V Mental Health Board and District V Long Term Care’s Guardianship Task Force.
He is a graduate of Lakewood High School, the University of Florida and Stetson University College of Law. He lived in Seminole and was married to Suzanne Caddell.
A celebration of his life is Saturday, June 21, 10 a.m. to noon, at the Pinellas Park Performing Arts Center, 4951 78th Ave. N. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the College Fund of Pinellas County Inc., P.O. Box 673, Clearwater, FL 33757.