University of Florida, BSBA with Highest Honors
Georgetown University Law Center, Juris Doctor
League of Women Voters of Central Florida
Hispanic Bar Association of Central Florida
Tiger Bay Club
Orange County Bar Association
Central Florida Association of Women Lawyers
Paul C. Perkins Bar Association
Orange County Legal Aid Society
Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
National Trial Lawyers Association
Describe your philosophy of the judicial role, the qualities that are most important for the role, and the greatest challenges to the role.
The role of the judiciary is to serve the interests of the people. Judges are entrusted with the discretion to make decisions that have a direct impact on people lives. The most important qualities for a judge are those which impact the way in which those decisions are made. A judge must be fair, have knowledge of the law, they must be experienced in courtroom matters, and finally, and most importantly, they must have a good demeanor. If a judge is impatient or temperamental, they may fail to allow the parties to properly present their positions, robbing the litigant of the opportunity to have a fair hearing or trial. Likewise, a lack of experience or failure to be adequately prepared with regards to the law could have the same impact. I believe that I possess the experience, the knowledge and the appropriate demeanor that a judge should have, and would be fair and transparent in rendering decisions. The greatest challenge to the role is the number of cases that a judge handles. It requires real dedication and a good work ethic in order to have a courtroom that runs efficiently, but not at the expense of sacrificing due process. I believe throughout my career I have demonstrated the work ethic and dedication required to make sure that we maximize the time of the court, the litigants, and all those involved in the judicial system.
Briefly describe a case or a legal issue on which you worked of which you are particularly proud, or is reflective of your legal ability and work. (limit 150 words)
I recently litigated a case under a very complicated federal statute. Less than twenty of the cases have ever been litigated and even a smaller number have even been tried. The case concerned an area of law which I was unfamiliar with, yet I decided to take the case because the client had gone to numerous firms and was told that the they would not take the case because the matter was too complex. I educated myself on the law as well as the facts of the case. This case pertained to historical events which occurred over forty years ago. The case culminated in a trial in Federal court which lasted over two weeks. I am particularly proud of the way the case was litigated because I was able to learn an area of law which I was unfamiliar with, it required a great deal of research from a historical perspective, and we presented, in my opinion, a very strong case with limited resources. The case really reflect my intellectual curiosity, my willingness to do the hard work, and my ability to excel in very difficult circumstances.
What, in your opinion, is the most important U. S. Supreme Court decision? Why? (limit 150 words)
The most important Supreme Court decision is Marbury v. Madison. It is the foundation of the role of the Supreme Court as the ultimate interpreter of the United States Constitution. It establishes the checks and balances between the courts and the other two branches of government. Without this case, there would be no precedent for any courts to review the constitutionality of laws passed, or to review the legality of executive action. We are all familiar with the ability of the court to resolve disputes among parties, but this decision laid the groundwork for resolving disputes involving government entities for the benefit of private citizens.
What do you perceive as the greatest obstacles to justice, if any? Why? (limit 150 words)
The greatest challenge to justice is a lack of transparency. The perception of a decision-maker favoring one side over another creates a feeling of distrust for that system. Any appearance of impropriety, even if not justified or true, can undercut what could be an otherwise just and fair decision. In order to avoid that, courts should make an effort to be as forthcoming with the rationale for their decisions as possible in order to dispel even the slightest appearance of favoring one side. If elected, I would strive to do this in every ruling, so that the parties can understand why a particular ruling was made, and to feel that they have been heard, and that the system has not failed them.