Seminole County Judge, Group 6
County court judges are elected in the Primary by voters and serve 6 year terms. At the end of each term, if they are not challenged, they win the election automatically. If the vote in the Primaries is too close, the candidates may also appear on the General Election ballots.
They oversee the majority of non-jury trials in Florida. Most of their cases involve traffic offenses, misdemeanors, and civil disputes of $30,000 or less. They are eligible for assignment to the Circuit Court.
Judicial candidates must be impartial. They are not allowed to run on a platform or declare a party affiliation.
While county judges are meant to be elected, sometimes a vacancy is created from a judge leaving their position. The county courts are contained within a circuit court, and use the circuit court's Judicial Nominating Commission.
The race for Orange County Judge, Group 6 has two lawyers competing for the seat. There is no incumbent defending this seat.
- Video: Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board Interview with Both Candidates (29:52)
- Q&A: Vote411 Voter Guide
Wayne Culver - Winner (54%)
Wayne Culver is currently a public defender. He also has experience in private practice and as an assistant prosecutor. When he was a prosecutor, the plea deals he offered were not better than going to trial, because he believes it is a constitutional right to go to trial. He says his varied experience will be an asset when he is judge. It will allow him to understand the points of view of the prosecutor, the defense, and the client. He believes he would be fair, follow the rules, and remain neutral. He says he is dedicated to serving the community. He sees selective enforcement of the law as a shortcoming in the justice system.
- Video and Q&A: Candidate Wayne Culver Interview for ESR Hob Nob | Oviedo Winter Springs Regional Chamber of Commerce (19:42)
Jessica Damoth is a criminal defense attorney. She also had brief employment as a prosecutor. She believes her empathy toward citizens appearing in court for the first time would be an asset. She is determined to be fair and balance the need to keep cases moving while allowing time for cases to resolve if they can. She says wants to keep the courtroom calm, fair, and compassionate, rather than be a judge who loses their temper or is unclear. When asked about a shortcoming in the justice system, she pointed to difficulties connecting people with resources, like lawyers. She notes that the caseload is very high, especially for the public defender's office.