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4th Judicial Circuit judges

Florida's 4th Judicial Circuit is comprised of Clay, Duval and Nassau Counties. Only two of the 29 circuit judge groups = Group 9 and Group 25 --are contested. Those races will appear on the Aug. 30 ballot for all voters.

GROUP 9

Bruce Anderson | David Trotti


Bruce Anderson

Age: 54

Candidate's family: I have been married to my Wife, Donna Anderson, for 24 years and we have a son, Ryan Anderson, who is 17 years old.

Occupation: Partner Attorney, Terrell Hogan Yegelwel, P.A. law firm

Education: Fletcher High School Neptune Beach, FL National Honor Society Graduated: 1980; Jacksonville University Jacksonville, FL University Academic Scholarship Graduated: 1984 Bachelor of Science in Marketing cum laude Bachelor of Fine Arts in Commercial Art cum laude; University of Florida College of Law Gainesville, FL Graduated: 1988 Juris Doctor (J.D.)

Political experience: None

What do you see as the top three issues in this race?
As opposed to the candidates in the various partisan political races, non-partisan judicial candidates are not permitted to comment on any issues that could reflect how they may rule on cases that might come before them if elected. However, with the above limitations in mind, as it concerns the duties and responsibilities of a Circuit Judge in the Judicial Branch of Government I will briefly identify the top three most important qualities of a Circuit Court Judge that a voter should consider when choosing a candidate in this race:

  • Experience: A Candidate for Circuit Court Judge should have substantial and meaningful litigation experience as a lawyer, including both jury trials and bench trials in the extremely broad and diverse range of the types of complex cases that may be heard in the four major divisions of Circuit Court: Felony Criminal; Juvenile; Family Law; and Civil. During the course of that substantial experience gained as a lawyer, the candidate should demonstrate understanding and expertise in the Rules of Evidence, Rules of Procedure, and substantive issues likely to come before the Court in the Circuit Felony, Family Juvenile and Civil Divisions. A candidate for Circuit Court Judge should have demonstrated a sharp intellect, extensive legal knowledge and strong writing skills as a lawyer.
  • Fairness and Impartiality: A candidate for Circuit Court Judge should have the ability to be fair and impartial in resolving the wide range of legal, procedural, evidentiary, and factual disputes in Circuit Court cases from serious felony criminal cases to family law cases to complex civil cases. This ability to be fair and impartial is critically important to maintaining public confidence in an independent Judicial Branch. This attribute of fairness and impartiality is evidenced by a candidate having the integrity to be committed, without compromise, to the rule of law and upholding the Constitution, to make the tough decisions and to always do the right thing.
  • Strong Work Ethic: A candidate for Circuit Judge should have a strong work ethic that enabled him or her to be a successful lawyer over the course of a long full-time legal career. Such a successful legal career can only result from a strong work ethic as demonstrated by the self-discipline to prepare in advance for hearings, depositions and trials, to anticipate and identify in advance the most critical issues in the case, and actively listen to and engage with the lawyers when appropriate.

  • How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?
    As opposed to candidates in the various partisan political races, non-partisan judicial candidates do not represent the people. The Judicial Branch of Government interprets and applies the law. The Judicial Branch does not write the laws (Legislative Branch) nor enforce the law (Executive Branch), and it is not political nor representative in nature. The people go to courtrooms to right a wrong, address an injustice or settle differences. With the above limitations in mind, within the duties and responsibilities of a Circuit Judge in the Judicial Branch of Government, I will briefly discuss how my unique professional background and experience distinguishes me from my opponent and allows me to bring several valuable qualities to the Circuit Judge, including, but not limited to:
    1. I have over 27 years of legal experience as a prosecutor and trial lawyer. I have been involved in over 1,000 cases.
    2. I have earned the highest attorney peer rank for legal skills and ethics: the "AV Preeminent" Martindale-Hubbell rating.
    3. I have practiced in a large government law firm (State Attorney's Office), a large private law firm (Terrell Hogan), small 2 or 3 person law firms, and as a solo practitioner, giving me the ability to be more understanding of the respective lawyers who may appear in my courtroom and the unique challenges each type of lawyer deals with in their practices.
    4. My career has allowed me to enjoy the mentorship of many great lawyers, from State Attorney Ed Austin, Chief Assistant John Delaney, many great Assistant State Attorneys who went on to become Judges and take on leadership positions in North Florida to my present practice with the Terrell Hogan law firm and the mentoring I received from Senior Partners Jim Terrell, Wayne Hogan and Evan Yegelwel.
    5. An extremely deep and diverse legal career with the unique experience of litigating and actually trying significant and complex cases in the four major Circuit Court Divisions: Felony; Family; Juvenile and Civil. I have tried numerous complex Felony Criminal and Civil jury trials in Circuit Court, including multi-defendant, multi-week jury trials.
    6. My personal experience managing a large, complex criminal and civil case load during the course of my career will equip me for the inherent challenges of managing a court docket in any of the Circuit Court Divisions. In addition, my law practice has required me to engage in the resolution of many complex pre-trial motions and discovery disputes that are frequently heard by Circuit Court Judges.
    7. My personal life experiences, together with my over 27 years of legal experience representing clients in a wide variety of criminal, juvenile, family and civil cases who are often facing their most challenging, heart breaking and difficult circumstances have prepared me well to hear and understand litigants who come from all walks of life and their problems.
    8. I am honored to have received the overwhelming majority of endorsements from the elected officials, organizations, business and community leaders, and individuals who are allowed to, and have chosen to, endorse a candidate in this race, including, but not limited to, as follows:
    - Fraternal Order of Police - Jacksonville Consolidated Lodge 5-30
    - Jacksonville Association of Firefighters - International Association of Firefighters, Local 122
    - Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association & Public Employees Association
    - Sheriff Mike Williams (Duval County)
    - Sheriff Rick Beseler (Clay County)
    - Former Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney
    - Former State Attorney Harry Shorstein
    - Charles E. Van Zant, Sr., State Representative District 19
    - John R. Crescimbeni, Jacksonville City Council Member
    - Tommy Hazouri, Former Jacksonville Mayor and Current Jacksonville City Council Member
    - William Gulliford, Jacksonville City Council Member (Former City Council President)
    - Jim Love, Jacksonville City Council Member
    - Samuel Newby, Jacksonville City Council Member
    - Matt Schellenberg, Jacksonville City Council Member (Former City Council President)
    - Cheryl Grymes, Duval County School Board Member
    - Jerry Holland, Duval County Property Appraiser
    - Lee Buck, Jacksonville Beach City Council 
    - Phillip Vogelsang, Jacksonville Beach City Council
    - Gavin Rollins, Clay County Commissioner
    - Ashley Gilhousen, Clay County School Board Member
    - Betsy Condon, Clay County School Board Member
    - Former President of the Florida Bar Howard Coker
    - Former President of the Florida Bar John DeVault
    - Former President of the Florida Bar Hank Coxe
    - Former President of the Jacksonville Bar Association Courtney Grimm
    - Former President of the Jacksonville Bar Association Alan Pickert
    - Former President of the Jacksonville Bar Association Joseph Camerlengo
    - Current President-Elect of the Jacksonville Bar Association Thomas A. "Tad" Delegal
    - Former President of the Clay County Bar Association Sam Garrison
    - Fraz Ahmed, Jacksonville Bar Association Board of Governors
    - Charles B. Jimerson, Jacksonville Bar Association Board of Governors
    - Blane McCarthy, Jacksonville Bar Association Board of Governors
    - Lindsay L. Tygart, Jacksonville Bar Association Board of Governors and Young Lawyer's Section President

    What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?
    After a long career serving as a Circuit Court Judge, I hope to be remembered as a public servant who was absolutely fair and impartial in every case I heard, from serious felony cases to family law cases to complex civil cases, and maintained public confidence in an independent Judicial Branch. I hope that I am remembered for conducting myself with appropriate judicial temperament and being neutral, decisive, respectful and composed. I hope that the lawyers who appear in front of me will remember me for creating a courtroom atmosphere of respect and composure, allowing them to focus on representing their clients to the best of their ability. I hope that the litigants, witnesses, jurors, court personnel, spectators, and media remember me for inspiring confidence in the courts by creating an environment of civility and professionalism in the courtroom. I hope that all will remember me for having a strong work ethic and absolute commitment to the rule of law, upholding the constitution and doing the right thing with humility and an attitude of servant leadership.

    Campaign Website: AndersonForJudge.com

    Facebook and/or Twitter pages: Facebook.com/AndersonForJudge

     


    David Trotti

    Age: 46

    Family: son-13 years of age

    Occupation: Attorney, General and Roofing Contractor, Entrepreneur

    Education: Terry Parker High school in 1987, Bachelors in Music Education from Jacksonville University. Juris Doctorate from Florida Coastal School of Law. Federal Law Enforcement Training Center

    Political experience: None

    What do you see as the top three issues in this race?

  • Endorsements: I have chosen not to seek public endorsements. While it is permissible for a judicial candidate to have endorsements, a Judge should avoid the appearance of any impropriety at all times and this commences once one declares that he or she is seeking a position as a judge. As a Judge, I do not want my impartiality to ever be questioned.
    There are many local attorneys and doctors who support my campaign. Almost 85% of my clients are referrals from colleagues, friends and former clients. It is my name on the door that client's seek out.
  • Unique qualifications: One of my strongest credentials and qualifications is the fact that I have been appointed by current and former Circuit Court Judges in Duval, Clay and Nassau counties to mediate more than 1,200 cases since 2008. In addition, it is the trust and confidence of our local attorneys who request my services as a mediator and my reputation as a lawyer and mediator that speaks louder than any public endorsement. Even through this campaign, I continue to be sought out and appointed as a mediator. I currently have 30 meditations scheduled for September alone.
    I am a Supreme Court of Florida Certified Family Law Mediator, a Supreme Court of Florida Certified Circuit Civil Mediator, a Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediator, a Parenting Coordinator, Fourth Judicial Circuit, and also Qualified as an Arbitrator I have been a member of the Florida Bar since 2000, a State of Florida General Contractor and a State of Florida Roofing Contractor.
  • Fundraising: While fundraising is an instrumental part of any political race, I feel that being self-funded reduces any appearance of improprieties as a judicial candidate.

  • How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?
    I will provide voters easire access to the bench by opening up "outreach meetings" to allow general contact with me during working hours.I will provide the voters with a Judge that has an expensive background of experiences that are diverse as our community. I will provide a judge that has the diversity and sensitivity training nonparallel to many. Through my training as an education major, a Marine, and federal law enforcement officer I will provide a colorless, gender-less approach to all cases before my bench.

    What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?
    I hope that I am remembered for the work that I do for families, the early recognition of mental health issues in our children, and programs to remediate youthful offenders.

    Campaign Website: TrottiForJudge.com

    Facebook and/or Twitter pages: David Trotti for Circuit Judge


    GROUP 25

    Mark Hulsey (incumbent) | Gerald Wilkerson


    Mark Hulsey

    Age: 67

    Family: Wife Donna, four children and five grandchildren

    Occupation: Circuit Court Judge

    Education: JD, University of Florida

    Political experience: Elected in 2010, Served almost 7 years as an elected circuit court judge

    What do you see as the top three issues in this race?

  • Experience: I have the legal and life experiences necessary to continue serving our circuit well. My diverse legal experiences comes from more than 30 years of work -- either as a judge or as an attorney -- in all areas of the law. For the past six years, I have presided over more than 100 felony criminal trials. Prior to serving as a judge, I spent 20 years as a family law attorney, a child custody evaluator and a certified family mediator.
  • Service: In addition to my legal experiences, I have served our community by working with numerous local nonprofit and charitable organizations including City Rescue Mission and Jacksonville Area Legal Aid. I have been an active member of the Rotary Club for more than 25 years, and I served our country as an officer in the United States Army. 
  • Commitment: I am committed to working hard in order to apply the law fairly, compassionately and justly. I will continue to ensure due process in order to arrive at just and equitable resolutions for all who come before me.

  • How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?
    I have legal experience as a lawyer and a judge that my opponent lacks. My extensive service as an expert child custody evaluator and as a certified family mediator has provided me insights to the impacts our legal system has on families and children: impacts that are intentional and unintentional. I've learned to listen deeply, and to know that every person who comes into my courtroom has a unique story that is worth listening to and understanding before judgments are made.

    What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?
    I would hope to be remembered for serving as a fair, knowledgeable judge who made great efforts to listen carefully to each person who entered his courtroom regardless of race, sex, religion, income, or status in our community.

    Campaign website: ReelectHulsey.com

    Facebook and/or Twitter pages:


    Gerald L. Wilkerson

    Age: 48

    Family: I married my law school sweetheart, who before law school had been a middle school teacher.  We now have two wonderful sons, both of whom are honor students in the Duval County Public School System.

    Occupation: Lawyer

    Education: BA with Honors, Florida International University 1997, Juris Doctor with Honors University of Florida

    Political experience: I have never served in any political office.

    What do you see as the top three issues in this race?

  • Judicial Integrity.   Judicial integrity is the cornerstone of American democracy, both on the state and federal level.  Of our elected officials, judges have some of the greatest powers.  They determine the meaning of laws and they are imbued with the power to  impose punishments when those laws are violated.  Because of this judges have an “absolute obligation to act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.”  It is important that every person appearing before a judge has confidence that the judge will be fair and impartial, regardless of gender or race.  Unfortunately, my opponent, Judge Mark Hulsey, has been formally charged by the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission (“JQC”) with violating the Florida Code of Judicial Conduct.  The JQC found probable cause that Judge Hulsey made racist and sexist comments in the courthouse to various individuals over the past 5 years, that he misused his staff and even attempted to obstruct the investigation into his behavior.  These charges are very serious.  As Judge Hulsey would readily admit, out of 600 or 700 complaints filed against Judges with the JQC annually, fewer than five result in formal charges, which is what has now happened in Judge Husley’s case.  However, once the JQC files formal charges against a judge, the likelihood of a judge being exonerated are extremely rare.  Indeed, of the last 78 judges formally charged by the JQC, only one judge has walked away exonerated of all charges. 
  • Selection of a Judge Who Has Worked with Everyday People.  In the event that Judge Hulsey is found guilty of the charges lodged against him by the JQC, the Florida Supreme Court could possibly  remove him from the bench. If this happened, his replacement will not be selected by the people.  Instead, his replacement will be selected by the Governor from a slate of nominees selected by a group of nine individuals on the local Judicial Nominating Commission.  The registered voters of the area will not have chance to cast a ballot to determine who is selected.  While judges appointed by the Governor tend to be excellent lawyers, they generally tend to be lawyers that have represented business interests or have served as long time prosecutors.  The judges selected by the people tend to provide diversity on the bench, because many, like me, have worked their entire careers for regular every day people who generally will only see the inside of Florida state courtroom once or twice in their lives as they go through a divorce, a bankruptcy, a probate matter, or the criminal or juvenile justice system.  
  • Experience Across Multiple Fields of the Law.  I have litigated across various fields of the law, including family law, criminal law, juvenile law, probate law, general civil litigation and even a spattering of personal injury cases for existing clients or close friends.  On top of that, I have worked as a lawyer drafting contracts, wills and trusts, and have even  represented people in workers compensation cases and social security disability cases.  With experience across multiple fields of law, I am ready to hit the ground running as a Circuit Judge.

  • How can you help voters in a way that the others running for this office cannot? 
    I can ensure the voters that I will serve honorably and discharge my duties with integrity and respect for all people.

    What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office? 
    I served in the U.S. Army as a crew member with top secret clearance on a mobile nuclear missile team during the cold war.  That meant that many nights I was literally sleeping in a hole in the dirt of the Black Forrest of West Germany.  As I sat under the stars pondering how I found myself in that dirt hole, I always remembered I was there to serve and defend our republic.  As I have grown older, I see there are many ways to serve our republic, and one of those ways is to serve in the judiciary with honor and integrity.  If I am selected to serve as a judge, I would aim every day to be remembered for serving the public with honor and integrity, and dispensing justice equally and without delay to all.

    Campaign website: GeraldForJudge.com

    Campaign Facebook and/or Twitter pages: Facebook.com/WilkersonForJudge