Pinellas News

Circuit court candidates attend CNCN forum

— Residents interested in getting familiar with candidates vying for local judicial seats this fall had that opportunity in East Lake on Monday evening.

The Council of North County Neighborhoods brought together all 11 candidates who will be on the Aug. 28 nonpartisan primary ballot contending for seats on the 6th Judicial Circuit Court. Each are ultimately running to win one of five seats during the Nov. 4 general election.

The candidates, their supporters and residents gathered in the sanctuary of East Lake United Methodist Church on Monday evening.

Following a casual 30-minute meet-and-greet, CNCN President Don Ewing provided a brief introduction and handed the microphone off to guest speaker Chris Sprowls, the assistant state attorney for the sixth circuit.

All 11 candidates were provided two minutes to give a brief introduction as they sat facing the church pews at a long, draped table. A moderator then read submitted questions and candidates took turns responding.

The 6th Judicial Circuit Court serves Pasco and Pinellas counties and is comprised of 69 total judges — 45 at the circuit level and 24 in county courts. There are 20 total circuits in Florida.

As explained by Sprowls leading up to Monday’s Q-and-A session, circuit court judges will primarily hear civil cases when financial amounts in question exceed $15,000 or criminal cases in all felonies and misdemeanors arising from felonies. Examples of issues circuit judges handle include estate settlement, guardianship and involuntary hospitalization.

Candidates running in the August primary are separated by group:

♦ Group 1, Laura Snell and Susan St. John.

♦ Group 2, Ken Lark, Alicia Polk and Alan Scott Rosenthal.

♦ Group 16, Brian Battaglia and Kim Sharpe.

♦ Group 21, Amanda Colon and Phil Matthey.

♦ Group 35, incumbent Bruce Boyer and Jon Newlon.

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