There are 11 candidates seeking one of the five contested seats on the 6th Circuit bench, which serves Pinellas and Pasco counties. Only one of them, Judge Bruce Boyer, is an incumbent. Fourteen other incumbent judges whose terms expire this year are unopposed and thus automatically re-elected. Circuit Court judges serve six-year terms with no term limits. To qualify, candidates must be a member of the Florida Bar and have lived in Florida for at least five years.
Three local experts with extensive knowledge of the court system will question the candidates. They are:
• The Hon. Irene Sullivan, retired Circuit Court judge and adjunct professor of juvenile law at Stetson University College of Law, Gulfport.
• Curtis Krueger, courts reporter for the Tampa Bay Times.
• Dr. Susan Demers, Dean of the College of Policy, Ethics and Legal Studies at SPC.
The forum will be split into two parts: Groups 1 and 2 comprised of five candidates will be questioned from 6 to 7:10 p.m.; and Groups 16, 21 and 35, comprised of six candidates, from 7:15 to 8:15 p.m.
The public is encouraged to attend to learn more about the background and qualifications of those seeking to sit on the Circuit Court bench. For information, call 394-6251.