Candidate Name
Kafi Kennedy Swanson
Candidate Photo
    Kafi Kennedy Swanson

    Kafi Kennedy Swanson

For what position are you running?
County Judge
Which Group?
County, Group 4
Educational Background (limit 75 words)
Bachelor of Science in Marketing, Florida A&M University
Master of Business Administration in Finance, Florida A&M University
Juris Doctor, University of Miami
Current Occupation
Attorney/Owner, The KDKS Law Firm, P.A.
Civic Organizations
Paul C. Perkins Bar Association, Past President
Orange County Bar Association
Central Florida Association of Women Lawyers
Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Past Board Member
The Florida Bar, Grievance Committee Member
National Bar Association, Top 40 Lawyer Under 40
Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, Local Parliamentarian, National Committee Member
Rotary Club Orlando Evening, Director of Membership
Orange County Building Code Board of Adjustments and Appeals, Member
Guest Speaker Oak Ridge High School and Carver Middle School
Advisory Board for the Orange Youth Academy/Orlando Intensive Youth Academy
St. Mark A.M.E. Church, Member
Describe your philosophy of the judicial role, the qualities that are most important for the role, and the greatest challenges to the role.
A Judge is the impartial decision maker in the pursuit of justice. Fairness, integrity and service are the most important qualities a judge must possess. A judge my show fairness by treating everyone that comes before her with respect and dignity. No matter a person’s race, religion, gender or background they should be treated the same. My experience has taught me that no matter the outcome of the case, my clients were accepting of the process when they believed the judge heard them and treated all parties involved equally. Next, a judge must have integrity, meaning she is a woman of her word. If a judge makes a commitment to doing something she must follow through and keep her word. Finally, a judge must serve the community she sits in. I was taught that service is the rent we pay for the space we occupy on earth. I have shown by being activity in my community and in the legal profession that I believe in giving back to the community that has given me so much. County Court is the “People’s Court”, meaning it is where everyday citizens come to seek justice. Whether through small claims court or misdemeanor offense it is where young lawyers are trained and many unrepresented persons have their day in court. A Judge must have firmness of conviction and respect for all those who come before her. I believe greatest challenge to the role of judge is the increasing amount of cases coming before her and having enough time and resources to adequately handle each.
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 a criminal defense attorney we regularly have cases where witness identification is key in the evidence against our clients. I had a case where there was a witness who identified my client as the driver of a stolen vehicle. While speaking to my client he was adamant about his innocence. While that is a story I have heard multiple times it is very hard to show. However, in this case, the night of the crime happened to be the night his grandmother passed away at his family’s house. The original offer from the state included incarceration which my client rejected. At the trial we had witnesses testify about his alibi contrary to the State’s witnesses. This is one of numerous examples I have, that show by having access to qualified legal counsel, through the Office of the Public Defender, allowed an indigent person to be found not guilty.
What, in your opinion, is the most important U. S. Supreme Court decision? Why? (limit 150 words)
Gideon v. Wainwright is the most important U.S. Supreme Court decision as it held that the Sixth Amendment guarantee’s the right to counsel is a fundamental right to have a fair trial. The training and experience that attorney’s gain through years of school and practice is something that no lay person can quickly learn. Justice Black delivered the opinion of the court and in part stated, “He lacks both the skill and knowledge adequately to prepare his defense, even though he have a perfect one. He requires the guiding hand of counsel at every step in the proceedings against him. Without it, though he be not guilty, he faces the danger of conviction because he does not know how to establish his innocence.” Millions of people since 1963 have had the benefit of having counsel through the establishment of the Office of the Public Defender or other attorneys.
What do you perceive as the greatest obstacles to justice, if any? Why? (limit 150 words)
The greatest obstacle to justice is equal access to the court system. No matter your race, gender, or socio economic background you should have access to having your voice heard in the justice system. Whether it is having access to the documents needed to file a complaint or having the ability to access documents online we must ensure access to the court system. Each person should have access to the tools they need to bring suit or defend themselves no matter their background. The ability to have someone who has been trained in the rules of evidence and procedure are important to ensuring justice. Florida Chief Justice Jorge Labarga created the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice as a way to study this particular issue. In county court access is very important since one or both litigants may be unrepresented by counsel.
Campaign Email
committee@kafiforjudge.com
Campaign Website
http://www.kafiforjudge.com
Campaign Facebook
facebook.com/kafiforjudge
Campaign Telephone
(407) 782-2912
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