Florida elects its Judges. This means that the electorate chooses who presides over murder cases, extortion cases, family law matters, juvenile cases, and all other matters involving the Courts. The only problem is that regular folks that don’t spend their every day in the Courthouse do not know who the judges are. And they do not know who the incumbents are running against in elections. That is why I believe that the Bar Polls that are conducted by the Dade County Bar Association should be published in all local and regional newspapers and should be available outside of polling places.
On July 6, 2010, the Daily Business Review posted the Bar Polls where Miami-Dade County lawyers ranked both incumbents and challengers as either “Exceptionally Qualified,” “Qualified,” or “Unqualified.” People need to be well-informed about who is sitting on the bench and who is challenging those that are presently on the bench. The role of Judge is one of the most important in society and it is vitally important that qualified individuals be placed in these very important positions. No group of people has more information about those that sit on the bench than the people that are in front of Judges each and every day. This poll is conducted blindly, erasing a lot of the prejudice and concern that a lawyer might have if it was known that they ranked a Judge as “Unqualified.” It is for this reason that these polls need to be more widely circulated. People are naturally inclined to elect a Judge that is an incumbent just because they think…”Well, he/she already has the experience.” But there are many qualified people running for these positions, and they should be given fair consideration.
These polls tell a story about who is making the decisions that affect us all, and who is challenging them for that position. It would benefit everyone if these polls were publicized.