Gainesville lawyer trying to unseat incumbent for 8th Circuit judge
Published: Friday, August 8, 2014 at 4:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 8, 2014 at 4:22 p.m.
The race for 8th Circuit Judge Group 11 on the Aug. 26 ballot will pair an incumbent with more than eight years of experience as a judge against a personal attorney and former prosecutor.
William E. Davis
Family: Wife, Lore; two children; and four grandchildren
Occupation: Current 8th Circuit judge, Group 11
Political experience: In addition to current post, served as Alachua County Court judge from 2006-2008
Family: None listed
Occupation: Lawyer in private practice, former prosecutor
Political experience: None
The winner will serve a six-year term on the bench for the 8th Judicial Circuit, which covers Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy and Union counties, and be paid an annual salary of $146,080, as set currently by the Legislature.
William E. Davis
Incumbent Judge William E. Davis, 54, was first elected to the 8th Circuit bench in 2008 and before that served two years as an Alachua County Court judge. He has presided primarily over Alachua County cases in the 8th Circuit, including matters of criminal, family, dependency, delinquency, civil, adoptions and probate. He says his experience is what should appeal most to voters.
“Voters should re-elect me because I have the judicial, legal and life experience necessary to be an effective, fair and impartial circuit judge,” Davis said in an emailed response to questions from The Sun. “In short, I have served in virtually every assignment a judge can serve. I am certain this broad judicial experience has made me a better judge by enhancing my perspective.
“I fully understand how a criminal case can impact a family or dependency case and vice versa. Finally, I was selected to serve on three statewide judicial committees with a continuing goal of improving our judicial system for the State of Florida.”
Before serving as a county judge from 2006-08, Davis served as a prosecutor, special public defender and adjunct professor with the University of Florida Levin College of Law, from which he received his juris doctor in 1994.
Davis also was in the Army for nine years as an enlisted soldier and later as an officer, serving with the 24th Infantry Division during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Before serving in the military, he served more than two years in law enforcement as a police officer, correctional officer and dispatcher.
Davis has raised $69,869.36 as of the Aug. 1 filing date, including monetary, loans and in-kind contributions, and has spent $17,873.57.
Davis’ opponent is William Falik, a 31-year-old lawyer with a private practice in Gainesville. His first legal position was as a prosecutor in Columbia County.
“At my law office in Gainesville, I handle litigation cases including family law, criminal defense, civil litigation, and civil traffic,” Falik said in an emailed response to questions from The Sun. “I have appeared in all six counties comprising the Eighth Circuit and additionally in more than another 20 counties outside of our Circuit. I have also appeared before many judges and have come to appreciate the value of a judge who recognizes his or her authority.
“Judges have enormous power and responsibility that may have a dramatic impact on any person appearing before a particular judge,” Falik said. “Should the people choose to elect me to serve as their judge, they will have chosen a person who is not only competent but importantly also cares.”
Falik moved to Gainesville from South Florida to attend UF, graduating in 2003 with a degree in mathematics before attending the Levin College of Law, from which he graduated in 2006 at the age of 22.
Falik has raised $10,037.02 as of the Aug. 1 filing date, consisting solely of loans and in-kind contributions, and has spent $5,838.48. He also paid a $2,150 fine to the Florida Elections Commission for failure to timely file a campaign treasurer’s report.
Falik said he was fined after mistakenly listing a loan he made to his campaign as a contribution. Even though he had submitted the report in advance of the deadline and received confirmation that the report had been successfully uploaded, he said he did not learn that the report had been rejected until a week past the deadline, after which he rectified the mistake.
Early voting for the 8th Circuit Judge Group 11 election begins on Aug. 16 and runs through Aug. 23.