Justices, judges up for retention

The Florida 1st District Court of Appeal judges are, top, from left, Simone Marstiller, Stephanie Ray, Ron Swanson and Brad Thomas, and bottom, from left, Florida Supreme Court justices R. Fred Lewis, Peggy Quince and Barbara Pariente. (Special to the Guardian)

Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 2:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 2:57 p.m.

Third of several parts.

The careers of three justices on the Florida Supreme Court and four judges in the Florida 1st District Court of Appeal will be decided by voters in the Nov. 6 General Election.

Pam Carpenter, the Alachua County supervisor of elections, is encouraging voters to vote early and to use absentee ballots to cast their votes because it will be more convenient. She also is strongly suggesting that voters study their sample ballots online at www.votealachua.com to familiarize themselves with the candidates, amendments and county questions.

"It is going to take voters 20 to 30 minutes to read the ballots if they wait until they get in the voting booth to read what is on the ballot," Carpenter said. "It is very important to read the ballot before you vote."

Below is a look at the three justices and four judges on the ballot:

Florida justices

—R. Fred Lewis was appointed in 1998 by the late Gov. Lawton Chiles.

He is the founder of Justice Teaching, an organization of more than 3,900 volunteer lawyers and judges who are active in public schools in Florida, working to enhance civic and law-related educational programs.

A native of Beckley, W.Va., Lewis graduated with honors in 1969 from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. He also graduated from the University of Miami Law School in 1972 with honors. He has been married to his wife, Judith, since 1969, and they have two children.

—Barbara J. Pariente was appointed in 2007, also by Chiles, and served as chief justice from 2004-2006.

During her tenure on the Florida Supreme Court, she has worked to improve methods of handling cases involving families and children.

A native of New York City, Pariente graduated from Boston University with honors before graduating with honors in 1973 from George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. She is married to the Honorable Frederick A. Hazouri of the 4th District Court of Appeal and they have three married children and eight grandchildren, all of whom live in Florida.

—Peggy A. Quince was appointed by Chiles in 1998.

She currently is on the executive counsel of the appellate section of The Florida Bar and is the Supreme Court liaison to the Small Claims Rules Committee and the Supreme Court Library Committee. She also is liaison for several State Courts System Advisory Committees, including the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Task Force and the Local Rules Advisory Committee.

Quince, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., is a native of Norfolk, Va. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in zoology in 1970 from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She received her law degree in 1975 from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. She is married to Fred L. Buckine, a retired attorney, and they have two daughters.

District judges

—Simone Marstiller was appointed in 2010 by Gov. Charlie Christ.

She worked as a judicial law clerk in the 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach, and then as appellate counsel for the Agency for Health Care Administration. In 2001, she became assistant general counsel to the governor of Florida. In 2005, she became secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the state's largest regulatory agency.

A native of Monrovia, Liberia, Marstiller grew up in St. Petersburg. She has a bachelor's degree in business administration from Stetson University in Deland and a law degree from Stetson College of Law in Gulfport.

—Stephanie Ray was appointed in 2011 by Gov. Rick Scott.

She served as chair of the state of Florida Public Employees Relations Committee from 2008-2011, on the Second Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission from 2002-2006, acting as chair from 2005-2006, and she was an associate/assistant dean of the Florida State University College of Law from 2000-2009.

A native of Vicksburg, Miss., she earned a bachelor's degree with honors in 1992 from Vanderbilt University in Nashville and a law degree with honors in 1995 from Florida State University in Tallahassee. She is married and has two children.

—Ron Swanson was appointed in June 2011 by Gov. Rick Scott.

Before that, he was appointed in 2003 by Gov. Jeb Bush to be a judge in the 1st Judicial Circuit in the Florida Panhandle, where he served until 2011. From 1982-85, he was a military judge in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Trial Judiciary.

After retiring from the Navy, Swanson served as an assistant state attorney in the First Judicial Circuit form Aug. 1995-May 2000.

A native of Rock Island, Ill., he earned his bachelor's degree from FSU in 1970 and his law degree from the University of Florida in 1973. He is married to Diane Bew Swanson, and they have one daughter and two grandchildren.

—Brad Thomas was appointed in 2005 by Gov. Jeb. Bush.

Before that, he served in the Executive Office of the Governor from 1999-2005 as public safety police coordinator and from 1997-1999, as council director for the Florida House of Representatives Justice Council.

Thomas, a native of Jacksonville, earned his bachelor's degree from FSU in 1977 and his law degree from UF in 1982. He is married to Susan Ann Cox of Gainesville, and they have one child.

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