Two Port St. Joe residents are among six names recommended to Gov. Ron DeSantis for appointment to two newly-created circuit judge positions.
After interviews of nine interested members of the Florida Bar, conducted Thursday by the 14th Judicial Circuit Nominating Commission, the commission, headed by chairman Waylon Graham, of Panama City, recommended six names, based on their fitness for appointment.
“After much discussion and careful consideration, the commission agreed that the following six candidates are highly qualified and more than capable to fill the positions available,” said Graham in a news release issued Friday.
Also serving on the nominating commission are private sector attorneys Todd Brister, Brandon Burg, Jeff Carter, John Maceluch and Rob Sale; Mark Graham, chief assistant state attorney for the 14th Judicial Circuit; and retired attorney Bill Lewis.
The two Port St. Joe candidates to received recommendations are Brian Hill, an assistant public defender serving Gulf County; and Jarred Patterson, an assistant state attorney, in Apalachicola, which is in the 2nd Judicial Circuit.
Also earning recommendations are Peter Overstreet, who works for the state attorney’s office in Panama City; Russell Roberts, a private attorney in Marianna; Jacqueline Smith, from Grand Ridge, a child support hearing officer in the 2nd Judicial Circuit; and Brandon Young, an assistant state attorney in Bonifay.
Of the two new judgeships created by the Florida Legislature, one will work in Calhoun County and the other in Gulf County.
The Calhoun judge will handle all circuit proceedings in the county, as well as family court proceedings in Bay County, and one-third of that county’s domestic relations cases.
The Gulf judge will handle all circuit proceedings in the county, as well as Bay County hearings regarding dependency, shelter hearings, truancy and Early Childhood Court.
Based on judicial assignments made by Chief Judge Christopher Patterson, effective Jan. 1, 2022, Cicruit Judge Shonna Young Gay, now in Gulf County, will be assigned to handle one-fourth of all Bay County Circuit Criminal cases, as well as cases circuit wide for the newly created Veterans Court in Bay County.
Once the governor makes a decision on these two judgeships, he is expected to convene another session of the judicial nomination commission to make recommendations on a replacement to Circuit Judge John Fishel II, who has announced his retirement effective Dec. 31, 2021.