Sunday, January 21, 2018
News Roundup

19 apply for vacant county judge seat in Hernando

BROOKSVILLE — A field of 19 is vying for a soon-to-be vacant Hernando County judge seat.

Many of the applicants hoping to take the seat left vacant by County Judge Donald Scagalione will be familiar to anyone who frequents Hernando's courthouse.

Four are assistant state attorneys based in Brooksville, two are assistant public defenders there and one is general counsel for the 5th Judicial Circuit.

Two more of the hopefuls will be familiar to Gov. Rick Scott's office. Private practice attorneys Thomas R. Eineman, 56, and John E. Napolitano, 51, were among the finalists for two circuit judge seats that opened in Hernando in recent months after judges sought transfers to Marion County. Scott ultimately chose Scaglione for one of those spots. Scott has yet to select from a list of recommended applicants for the other seat.

The assistant state attorneys in the field are Erin Corcoran Daly, 44; Shannon J. Laviano, 49; Donald "Sonny" McCathran, 41, who is the supervisor of the State Attorney's Office in Brooksville; and Matthew S. Pila, 31.

The assistant public defenders are Barbara-Jo Bell, 33; Michael Lamberti, 53, who recently transferred from Hernando to manage the Sumter office; LeAnn Mackey Barnes, 38; and Thomas "Devon" Sharkey, 46.

The other private practice attorneys are: Carl S. Back, 60; Michael J. Brannigan, 44; Edward T. LeFever, 56; Milan "Bo" Samargya, 47; Raymond Sotomayor, 52; and Cynthia E. Tolbert, 44.

Rounding out the list are Grace A. Fagan, 47, general counsel for the 5th Judicial Circuit; Isabel "Cissy" Boza Skipper, 54, a former judicial law clerk for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Middle District of Florida; and Jason Smith, 36, a former assistant state attorney in Brooksville who currently is a faculty member at Pasco-Hernando Community College.

The 5th Judicial Nominating Commission will interview the applicants in Brooksville on Wednesday and send to Scott a short list of recommended candidates, said commission chairman Derek Schroth.

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