The following individuals have applied to replace Eric Beller on the county court:

Betsy Benson, David Bierman, Mari Blumstein, Ana Cruz Braun, Tom Coleman, Michael Davis, Nickolaus Hunter Davis, Andrew Demos, Brenda Di Ioia, Helen Dolland, Phoebee Francois, Keathan Frink, Donald Gelin, Pamela Gordon, Michael Heise, Tara Horvitz, Jose Izquierdo, Sam Lopez, Anthony Maniscalco, Steven Marcus, Stefanie Moon, Will Murphy, Michelle Ricca, Annmarie Sapp, Russell Thompson, Madeline Torres, Claudette Vanni, Beranton Whisenant, Michelle Zeiger, Jeremy Zubkoff.

Interviews will be announced at the end of next week.



Imperato to resign? – a bailiff was caught scurrying away earlier this morning with what looks to be some of Cindy Imperato’s personal belongings in an archive box, including an FSU football.  When asked a few minutes later whether Imperato was indeed calling it quits, her JA said she was “undecided“.  We’ll be following up with the chief judge and Tallahassee shortly …

Kollra for McCarthy – but no word yet as to where Al Ribas is headed …

No Rieman! – the committee has forwarded the following five names for consideration to Peter Weinstein, who then picks the new GM:

Lawrence Levy, Karen Black-Barron, Jean Costa, Yves Laventure, Mihaela Cabuela May


Peter Weinstein has ordered the remaining GM interviews closed to the public, scheduled for today  in Mark Speiser’s office.   At least that’s what we’re told.  Weinstein didn’t return a call asking for clarification after we were told not to bother showing up, but he’s got a right to close them under the rules of judicial administration, even after the committee made them public on Tuesday.  It’s not really fair to the staff attorney who already interviewed in the public light, but that’s the way it’s going down.

As for the process, everyone who applied was granted an interview.  Of those twenty-six people, the committee will forward five names to Weinstein, who then picks the new GM.  Whether or not he can ask for additional names after reviewing the five recommended candidates is unknown at this time …



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One candidate for the open GM position was interviewed today.  The rest will go Friday, pursuant to the schedule above.

At this time, it’s unknown whether more people applied than the twenty-six listed individuals.  Court Administration HR told us shortly after the application deadline that they wouldn’t be divulging any of the applicants names, and a public records request and phone call to Kathy Pugh earlier today remain unanswered as of the 5:00 PM deadline.

Luckily, the judges heading the six person committee, Mark Speiser, Carlos Rodriguez, and Mike Robinson, aren’t trying to hide any balls.  The names and schedule were handed right over at first request before today’s session began, and they even agreed to open the interviews to the public, citing JNC practice.  Deliberations, of course, are closed.

Let’s hope the committee picks the most qualified applicant, while paying careful attention to the woeful lack of diversity on the Broward bench.  GM positions are a proven pathway to a robe, and no fewer than three of the 17th Circuit’s current six African-American judges owe their rise in part to having worked as a GM (Ken Gillespie, Mike Robinson, and Mary Robinson).  And remember, while this position has a focus on guardianships within the probate realm, probate experience should not be a determinative factor. (See #7, below)

Here are paraphrases of the questions posed by the committee members during today’s interview:

1. What makes you the most qualified?

2. Do you have trial experience?

3. What will you do to ensure a positive image is projected as a representative of both Court Administration and the judiciary?

4. How would you handle quarreling, antagonistic lawyers, who interrupt each other during argument?

5. What concerns you about the unknowns of being a GM?

6.  Have you ever worked with a GM?

7.  Mark Speiser, Chief Administrative Judge, Probate Division: This is a probate position.  Have you ever done any probate?  The position is primarily in the area of guardianships.  It’s not a big deal if you haven’t.  I came over from a career focused almost entirely in criminal, and it’s not hard to learn …