Florida voters retain justice, appellate judges

Florida voters on Tuesday agreed to return 23 appellate judges to the bench, along with Florida Supreme Court Justice Carlos Muñiz. Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Muñiz to the state Supreme Court last year.

The Florida Bar each year asks its members to rate justices and judges who are up for retention votes. The survey asks lawyers whether they think justices and judges have considerable or limited knowledge and whether they should be retained.

While the confidential survey showed that Muñiz should be retained, he had the lowest approval among 3,626 attorneys who participated in the poll. Seventy-one percent of respondents said that the justice should be retained.

Just one other judge --- 1st District Court of Appeal Judge Rachel Norby --- scored 71 percent on The Florida Bar poll of attorneys.  Second District Court of Appeal Judge Morris Silberman earned the highest score on the poll, with 90 percent of attorneys saying that Silberman should be retained.

State law requires Florida Supreme Court justices and appeals court judges to be placed on the ballot for retention in nonpartisan elections within the first year of appointment. Judges and justices thereafter appear on the ballot every six years.

Florida voters overwhelmingly retained all of the appellate court judges up for retention this year, including Nordby and five other 1st District Court of Appeal judges --- Joseph Lewis Jr., Scott Makar, Tim Osteraus, Clay Roberts and Adam Tannenbaum.

In addition to Silberman, 2nd District Court of Appeal Judges Drew Atkinson, Daniel H. Sleet and Andrea Teves Smith were retained on Tuesday.

Five judges from the 3rd District Court of Appeal --- Judges Monica Gordo, Eric William Hendon, Fleur Jeannine Lobree, Thomas Logue and Bronwyn Catherine Miller --- were retained.

Voters also retained 4th District Court of Appeal Judges Alan O. Forst, Mark W. Klingensmith and Martha C. Warner.

And 5th District Court of Appeal Judges Kerry I. Evander, John M. Harris, Richard B. Orfinger, Meredith Sasso, and F. Rand Wallis also were retained.