Retired or Appointed Elsewhere
Justice, Florida Supreme Court. Appointed by Governor Charlie Crist. He won the retention vote by 66.03% in 2016 and 59.0% in 2010.
Note: Justice Labarga spent 1 day, January 5, 2009, as a judge in the 4th District Court of Appeal before being elevated to the Supreme Court. Both roles are appointed by the Governor.
Circuit Judge, 15th Circuit Judicial Court. Appointed by Governor Lawton Chiles. He ran unopposed in the 1996, 2002, and 2008 elections. In this time, he also joined the 4th District Court of Appeal panel temporarily multiple times. In 2000, he sat for Fladell v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board, which requested a new election for President of the United States. Based on the U.S. Constitution, federal law, and precedent, he ruled that it would not be legally possible for the county to have a new election for President. Ultimately, the election was decided based on a recount.
* Appointed instead of running for election because of a vacancy between election cycles.
Before he became a judge, Labarga had about 17 years of experience as an attorney. In that time, he argued 150+ jury trials, 30+ non-jury trials, 10+ arbitration cases, and 15+ cases for government agencies to completion. This count does not include appellate cases.
For the first 8 years, he was in the public sector. He spent time both as a Public Defender and a Prosecutor. As a public defender, he was assigned to appeal criminal convictions to the 4th and 5th District Court of Appeal. He also represented clients at trial for felonies. As a Prosecutor, he investigated and litigated criminal cases. He was assigned to multiple felony trial divisions, and served as chief in some of them. He also worked in the Special Crimes and Organized Crime divisions.
Then he shifted his focus for the remaining 9 years to private practice. He specialized in Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Products Liability. He also handled commercial cases and assisted other lawyers with family law.
This judge is a member of the Federalist Society.
In 2014, he issued an administrative order establishing the Florida Civil Justice Access Commission. He also introduced a system to provide judges with anonymous complaints about their behavior/professionalism, which was adopted by the Palm Beach County Bar Association.
He was born in Havana, Cuba and emigrated to the United States at the age of 11.
He is less conservative than other Justices and is considered a swing vote.
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