I received my B.A. in History and Political Science from Flagler College. I also attended the School for International Service at the American University in Washington, D.C. I received my J.D. from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1991.
Homicide Prosecutor, State Attorney’s Office
I regularly volunteer at my Church as well as the Second Harvest Food Bank.
Describe your philosophy of the judicial role, the qualities that are most important for the role, and the greatest challenges to the role.
I believe that judge’s play multiple roles. First and foremost is the obligation to follow the law regardless of personal feelings. I also believe that the role of a judge is to be an ambassador of the judicial branch. Citizens that have business before the court need and deserve to feel as though the courts are listening to them and that “the system” works for them. The attorneys who appear in court must have faith that the judge will take the time to listen to their arguments free of bias.
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)
As one of the prosecutors on the Casey Anthony trial, I worked for three years preparing the case for trial in front of a world-wide audience. Dozens of legal issues presented themselves before and during the trial. Maintaining discipline among that pressure was challenging. I am proud of the law enforcement that investigated it, my trial partners who lived through it with me, the judge who kept the trial moving in a fair and knowledgable manner and our community that that found itself in the middle of it.
What, in your opinion, is the most important U. S. Supreme Court decision? Why? (limit 150 words)
THE Brown v. Board of Education decision (1954) ruled that “Separate but Equal” was not constitutional. his decision reversing Plessy v. Ferguson sixty years before was a landmark decision that accelerated a fundamental and long overdue change in the United States. It laid the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s and began a period of social legislation that still has an impact today.
What do you perceive as the greatest obstacles to justice, if any? Why? (limit 150 words)
The greatest obstacle to justice is an economic bias that currently exists. In all fields of law, parties with more money tend to be more successful in court. Whether that be because the caliber of legal work is superior or because one side simply can’t afford to compete, there is an economic bias in the legal field. If one party in the right cannot afford to fight in court, justice suffers. Of course, a judge can only rule on what is presented and cannot make up for this occasional imbalance, but it is a concern moving forward.