Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
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12 vie for judge seat

Some familiar names in the Florida Keys legal community are vying for the bench seat left vacant by retired Circuit Judge David Audlin.

The list of 12 includes current prosecutors, a public defender, defense attorneys as well as current sitting County Judge Wayne Miller and Special Magistrate Jeff Overby, who also has a private practice.

The prosecutors applying are Chief Assistant State Attorney Manny Madruga and Assistant State Attorneys Paunece Scull and Mark Wilson, who also works as a special assistant U.S. attorney.

Assistant city of Key West Attorney Christopher Bridger has applied, along with private practice defense attorneys Jiulio Margalli, Patrick Flanigan, Albert Kelley, Timothy Koenig and George Wallace.

The deadline for applications was 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The 16th Judicial Circuit Nominating Commission (JNC) will meet at 3 p.m. July 7 at the Gato Building, 1100 Simonton St. in Key West to hear public input, and then meet in closed session to narrow the list to those who will be interviewed on July 9.

The JNC will prepare a short list, at most six applicants, destined for Gov. Rick Scott, who ultimately will choose Audlin's replacement. The JNC's own deadline for sending that short list to Scott is July 14.

Scott then has 60 days to make a selection, as per the state constitution.

"We haven't whittled the list at all, those are the 12 applicants we received," said JNC Chair Bob Shillinger. "We did have some public speakers at our last meeting. One person said they wanted experience with foreclosures given our backlog of cases on the docket, and another person made a similar statement regarding the backlog of family law cases."

The applicants to be interviewed the morning of July 9 are:

• Bridger, 32, of Key West was formerly an assistant public defender. He received his law degree from the University of Miami School of Law, and is married with two children.

• Flanigan, 31, single, is also a former assistant public defender in Key West. He graduated from West Virginia University College of Law. He's lived in Florida six and half years.

• Jones, 53, of Key Largo, is a Broward County assistant state attorney and former law clerk for Chief U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King. He is married with four children.

• Kelley, 52, of Key West, married, is in private practice where he specializes in civil law. He graduated from Florida State University College of Law.

• Koenig, 54, of Key West, is married with three children and a partner in the private firm Koenig, Highsmith and Van Loon. He also graduated from Florida State University College of Law.

• Madruga, 48, of Key West, divorced with one child, has been a Monroe County Assistant State Attorney since 1990 and prior to that interned at the city of Miami Attorney's Office. He is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Law. Madruga ran for circuit judge in 2008 in a race ultimately won by current circuit Judge Tegan Slaton.

Applicants to be interviewed in the afternoon on July 9 are:

• Margalli, 49, of Key West, is married and also a former assistant public defender now in private practice. He is a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans College of Law.

• Miller, 61, of Key West, married with three children, has been a county judge since his election in 1989. Prior to that he was an assistant state attorney. Miller graduated from Hamline University School of Law in Minnesota.

• Overby, 60, of Key West, single, was formerly a circuit judge from 1988 to 1995 and an assistant state attorney from 2001 to 2008, as well as an assistant public defender in the 1980s. He currently serves as a special magistrate to the city of Key West, often presiding over code compliance cases. He is a graduate of the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

• Scull, 35, of Key West, married with one child, is an assistant state attorney who graduated from Stetson University College of Law. She formerly was a clerk for U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge K. Rodney May.

• Wallace, 56, of Key West, married with two children, is a former assistant state attorney in Sanford now in private practice. He is a graduate of University of Florida Levin College of Law.

• Wilson, 46, of Key West, single, is an assistant state attorney who graduated from Penn State University Dickinson School of Law. He is a former Army paratrooper and former Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper.

alinhardt@keysnews.com

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