West Boca News endorses Jessica Ticktin for Circuit Court Judge. Ms. Ticktin is running against the incumbent Hon. Diana Lewis.
There are a few reasons for our endorsement. The most compelling of those is the incumbent’s record. The Palm Beach County Bar Association evaluates judges based on several factors. Lawyers in the county have consistently rated Judge Lewis the worst in the county.
Here are the 2013 ratings for Judge Lewis:
A substantial majority of the lawyers responding rated her poorly for “Judicial Demeanor & Courtesy to Lawyers,” by far the worst. Half the judges in the county are rated “needs improvement” on that factor by single digits. 147 lawyers gave her that rating. Only one other judge had half that many.
She had the worst ratings of the 34 circuit judges on most of the factors. You can see all of the Bar’s judge ratings for 2013 here:
Strong pluralities also rated her poorly for impartiality, common sense, and enforcing professionalism. Put more bluntly, Judge Lewis on the bench is rude, biased, unprofessional, and lacking in common sense.
The Florida Constitution requires that judges face reelection. If that means anything it means that the worst judges should be voted out.
There’s another key reason for our endorsement. We met Jessica Ticktin, she impressed us, and we think she’ll make a good judge. We’re not alone. The Sun-Sentinel (“the steady, fair temperament she would bring to the Circuit Court bench”) and Palm Beach Post (“Ticktin’s experience and demeanor make her a more than capable replacement.”) both endorsed Ticktin.
Two other minor details deserve mention. First, Ticktin lives in West Boca. The legal community in this county tends to center on West Palm Beach. For those who live in West Boca, it doesn’t hurt to have a judge who knows our community.
Second, the incumbent’s campaign did not respond to our requests for an interview in West Boca. We were included on a mass e-mail campaign event invitation sent to people who had “expressed an interest in ReElect Judge Lewis,” but never received any response to our direct requests. One of our volunteer reporters, Jeff Van Treese, was able to attend the event in East Boca. Lewis did interview with him and made a favorable impression. Still the lack of response from the campaign for a more complete interview bothered us. All the other judicial candidates responded to our requests and agreed to meet with us in West Boca.
The election day for this race is August 26th, but early voting has already begun at the West Boca branch library on the west side of 441 north of Yamato.
We should also note that we are not making any endorsement in the other judicial race. We like all three of the candidates: Jaimie Goodman, Peggy Rowe-Linn, and Maxine Cheesman.