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SC won't give appointment power to Crist

By John O'Brien | May 20, 2008


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - An election will fill the vacant spot on the bench of the Leon County Circuit Court, the Florida Supreme Court said Monday in response to a request from Gov. Charlie Crist.

Crist, the state's former Attorney General, wished to fill the spot by appointing a successor himself. Leon Circuit Judge Tim Harley was granted disability retirement April 30 because of his battle with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

The Court, through Chief Justice Fred Lewis, wrote that the election process has already begun. Nina Ashenafi Richardson, Leonard Holton and Sean Desmond are all up for the spot in November.

"In the instant case, the involuntary retirement of Judge Harley and the vacancy occurred after the commencement of the qualifying period and after conduct by the candidates who sought to qualify had begun," Lewis wrote.

Ion Sancho, the county's Supervisor of Elections, filed a suit in circuit court looking for clarification. Crist responded by asking the Supreme Court.

Had Crist been able to appoint a judge, he or she would have stayed on the bench until Jan. 2011, with an election being held in 2010.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien via e-mail at john@legalnewsline.com.

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