Circuit Judge Glant retires amid battle with cancer

Judge David Glant, of the 8th Judicial Circuit, talks about Judge Martha Lott during the retirement ceremony for Judge Lott, of the 8th Judicial Circuit, in courtroom 1B at the Alachua County Criminal Justice Center, in Gainesville May 30, 2013. Lott was the first woman ever elected to the of the 8th Judicial Circuit Court. Judge Lott enjoys Dressage, a competitive equestrian sport, in her spare time. (Brad McClenny/Staff photographer)

Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, June 15, 2013 at 5:51 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, June 15, 2013 at 5:51 p.m.

Circuit Judge David A. Glant had only a Plan A — seek re-election next year and serve until his state-mandated retirement age of 70.

But Glant, 63, surprised everyone, including himself, by retiring Thursday. Glant, who has been dealing with cancer the last few years, said he could no longer meet his own high expectations.

“If I can’t give 100 percent to life-and-death decisions, I don’t have any business making them,” Glant said. “With the death penalty case that I’ve got, you have to be sharp and on top of everything, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to do that. I’m not going to dabble in somebody’s life if I’m not 100 percent. I’d have to live with myself if I made a bad decision, and I didn’t want to do that.”

Gov. Rick Scott likely will name a replacement to fill out Glant’s term, which ends in January 2015.

Glant graduated from the University of Florida College of Law in 1978. He was first elected to the circuit bench in 2002 after working 24 years as a private attorney and as a prosecutor.

As a judge, Glant presided over civil, criminal, dependency, domestic violence, family and juvenile cases in each of the circuit’s six counties.

Glant also has served as the administrative judge of the circuit’s criminal division since July 2009.

Until now, Glant said, he was able to continue his work at a high level through his cancer treatment. Glant said on days when he was not feeling his best, he would be energized as soon as he walked into a courtroom and sat on the bench.

However, Glant said he could tell with his latest round of treatment that he would not be able to do the job up to his own expectations and made a quick decision to resign, after speaking with his wife and doctors. He said he is going to miss the job.

“The death penalty cases are highly significant cases, which is a pressure cooker. When you jump into one of those, you are under a time deadline and the stakes are high. You can’t make a mistake. I thrive on that,” Glant said. “I love the excitement of the courtroom. I love trial work. I love the exchange with the lawyers. I love watching good lawyers work. The whole process excites me and energizes me.”

State Attorney Bill Cervone, who worked with Glant when Glant was an assistant state attorney in the 1980s, described Glant as a throwback judge.

Cervone said Glant expected attorneys to be prepared and he expected defendants and those convicted to follow the rules and terms of their sentences, Cervone said.

“In a lot of ways, for at least our current judiciary, he’s a throwback. He is hard in the sense of having expectations and he did not suffer fools well in terms of those expectations,” Cervone said. “His detractors would tell you he was gruff. I don’t think he was gruff at all. He simply expected people to do their jobs so that he could do his.”

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