We Endorse Jessica Ticktin for Circuit Judge

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:
[gview file=”https://westbocanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/2013-judge-evaluations.pdf”]
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.

On the Campaign Trail with Circuit Court Judge Diana Lewis

Judge Lewis
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to interview Judge Diana Lewis, who is running for re-election for Palm Beach County Circuit Court, Group 14. She is currently a judge in the probate division and previously served in the foreclosure division. She was first elected in 2002 and has served for 11 years.
Her previous legal career consisted primarily of defense work in medical malpractice and products liability litigation. When asked why voters should choose her over her challenger, Jessica Ticktin, she stated that her experience as a judge and a litigator make her a stronger candidate. Judge Lewis did acknowledge that Ms. Ticktin possesses managerial experience in her administrative duties at a successful law firm and this skill set would have value should Ms. Ticktin become a judge. However, Judge Lewis contends that Ms. Ticktin does not have as much courtroom experience.
West Boca News had the opportunity to interview Ms. Ticktin earlier. When asked if she has aspirations beyond Palm Beach County Circuit Court, Judge Lewis was adamant that she is satisfied with her current post and has no thoughts of being appointed to a higher court. In fact, she stated that she enjoys presiding over trials and would not be interested in becoming an appellate judge.
When asked what is the most rewarding aspect of her job, Judge Lewis stated that helping those in a position of need at guardianship hearings gives her the greatest fulfillment. She also noted that her caseload has become more manageable since switching from foreclosures to probate, especially considering that she was a foreclosure judge at the height of the recession.
Judge Lewis has been a member of a number of community and professional organizations including the Forum Club and the Florida Bar Judicial Relations Committee.
The election is August 26.
Editor’s Note: Judge Lewis recently made news for ruling against the gay marriage ban in a probate case.

Jessica Ticktin: A Judge Candidate from West Boca

We had the pleasure of meeting judicial candidate Jessica Ticktin this morning at the Mission Bay Panera. Ms. Ticktin grew up in greater Boca Raton and is a resident of West Boca (west of Jog near Yamato).
ticktin-familyShe spent three weeks with her first child at West Boca Medical Center and was very happy with their pediatric care and NICU facility. She and her husband are happily expecting their second child, also a boy. She told us the baby is due in June but his name is a closely guarded secret. They are regulars at places like Babies R Us and Home Depot, as well as Regency Court near their home. Her husband owns Boca Car Wash in East Boca, at the corner of Glades and Federal Highway. They are members of Temple B’nai Israel, which has a lot of West Boca members.
Ticktin faces one challenge male candidates rarely have to deal with – she’s pretty. While we were sitting in Panera an older and balding gentleman approached her out of the blue and offered to buy her hair from her. She handled it gracefully.
This race is one of the most interesting judicial races we’ve ever seen. There was a procedural dance lining up which candidate was running for which seat, partially documented by the Post on Politics. Here’s a summary as best we understand it (and we’re not sure we do):
Judge Diana Lewis currently sits as a Circuit Judge in “Group 14.” Ticktin filed to run for Group 14. Lewis then switched to Group 32 after a judge in that group retired. Ticktin switched from 14 to 32. At the last minute Lewis switched back to 14, and Ticktin filed to switch back to 14 a mere fifteen minutes later, with much of the drama playing out in Tallahassee.
Also in this dance was another candidate we recently interviewed, Samantha Schosberg Feuer, who is now the only candidate in Group 32. We will write more about the Group 14 race closer to the August 26th election date.
ticktin1In our meeting this morning Ticktin impressed us. She’s passionate about children and as a result has spent much of her career handling family law cases. Her academic and legal background are substantial. She’s a Boca High graduate with a B.S. from FSU and a law degree from Stetson. She’s a member of various bar associations and admitted to practice in three federal courts as well as the Florida Supreme Court. For four years she was managing partner of The Ticktin Law Group but stepped back from the managing role after her son was born.
As a judge she aims to control the courtroom while treating people with respect. Ticktin admires judges who are not afraid to “do the right thing.” She understands that a judge’s role is to resolve disputes, not to create them.
We haven’t formed any opinion on the race yet, and hope to hear soon from Judge Lewis about her experience.