THE 2012 FLORIDA BAR POLL RESULTS WILL BE RELEASED ON SEPT. 10 Every other year since 1978, The Florida Bar has polled its members about the Supreme Court justices and appeals court judges who will be on the biennial November general election ballot in merit retention elections. The poll questions seek to find whether attorneys who know the most about these jurists believe they should continue in their jobs. A ballot mailed in August to all lawyers residing and practicing in Florida will ask respondents whether the incumbent justices and appeals court judges should be retained or not and ask that they consider eight attributes in making their decisions. Those attributes are: quality and clarity of judicial opinions; knowledge of the law; integrity; judicial temperament; impartiality; freedom from bias/prejudice; demeanor; and courtesy. The Bar will send out a total of 68,366 ballots and will report how many in-state members of the Bar in good standing participate. Only responses by lawyers indicating considerable or limited knowledge of the judges are included in the poll results. Justices and appeals court judges face the voters in merit retention elections every six years – except after their first appointments. Newly appointed justices and appeals court judges serve an initial term of at least one year and are then subject to the first merit retention reviews of their performances in the next general election. Only those judges receiving approval from a majority of the voters may continue in office for another six-year term. If voters choose not to retain a judge, a vacancy would be created and would be filled through the merit selection process through which the governor would appoint one from the three to six nominees submitted by the respective judicial nominating commission. Terms for justices and appeals court judges are staggered so that not all of them face the voters in the same election. In total, Florida has seven Supreme Court justices and 61 appeals court judges. Biographies and photos of the Supreme Court justices and DCA judges and additional information are on The Florida Bar's website at www.floridabar.org/thevotesinyourcourt. The Florida Bar provides the poll results and additional information as a public service. Please note: There are no judges on the 2012 ballot from the The 5th DCA which covers the counties of Brevard, Citrus, Flagler, Hernando, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Putnam, St. Johns, Seminole, Sumter and Volusia. It includes judicial circuits 5, 7, 9 and 18.
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