18th Circuit Judge, Group 18
Circuit court judges are elected in the General by voters and serve 6 year terms. At the end of each term they run for the seat again. If they run unopposed, they win the election automatically. If a vacancy is created between elections, they are appointed by the Governor.
They oversee criminal and civil cases. This includes felonies, family law, civil cases above $30,000, probate, mental health, and some appeals.
Judicial candidates must be impartial. They are not allowed to run on a platform or declare a party affiliation.
While circuit judges are meant to be elected, sometimes a vacancy is created from a judge leaving their position or a new position being created. There is a Judicial Nominating Commission for the each of the circuit courts. The Commission includes 9 members. 5 are directly appointed by the Governor. The other 4 are also appointed by the Governor, but from a list of 3 nominees provided by the Florida Bar. If the Governor doesn’t like the list, he can request a new one until he finds a nominee he likes.
The race for 18th Circuit Judge, Group 18 has two lawyers competing for the seat. There is no incumbent defending this seat.
- Video: Michael Peacock: Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board Interview (17:05)
- Video: Steve Henderson: Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board Interview (16:20)
- Q&A: Vote411 Voter Guide
- Video: Group Forum, 18th Circuit Candidates, League of Women Voters Seminole County (90:00)
Steve Henderson - Winner (74%)
Steve Henderson started his career in international trade. After getting his law degree, he began working in the public defender's office. Eventually, he started a private practice where he deals with criminal and civil cases. He is in the courtroom almost daily. He says he is running to get back into public service. He considers a good judge to include a combination of a good temperament, broad legal experience (especially jury trials), and life experience. He was inspired to pursue a career in law because he was struck that in the case of Rodney King, one verdict in a state court could impact so many people.
- Video and Q&A: Candidate Steve Henderson Interview for ESR Hob Nob | Oviedo Winter Springs Regional Chamber of Commerce (Video 13:39)
- Q&A: One Senior Place
Michael Peacock started his career specializing in personal injury litigation. First he defended insurance companies and he later defended individuals. Currently, he runs a private practice where he focuses on civil litigation. He doesn't have experience in criminal law, but he stressed that criminal and civil law are very similar and that he has been in front of many judges. He got his law degree because has always been interested in the law, and he enjoys his time in the courtroom. To him, a good judge listens, is professional, polite, and humble.