Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

At Pinellas-Pasco judge's forum, candidates debate temperament

Times Staff Writer

Eight judicial candidates came to a candidate forum on Tuesday, but only Agnes Theresa McCabe is running against a sitting judge.

So state Rep. Rick Kriseman asked her why she decided to run against Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Jack Day.

She said she was running "not just because of my experience but because of my temperament."

"I like to think that I'm well respected in the legal community for my ability to get along with other people," she said.

And earlier in the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club forum, McCabe told the audience that she believes judges must "treat everyone that appears before you with dignity and respect."

To some in the audience, including Kriseman, McCabe seemed to be saying she would have a better judicial temperament than Day. She would not confirm after the forum if that's what she meant.

Day said afterward it goes without saying that "everyone in the courtroom is entitled to respect and consideration and dignity." Asked about McCabe's comments afterward, he said he wasn't sure of her exact meaning, and "if there's a specific incident I'm not aware of it. She has not made me aware of it."

He also added that in court, "I'm very patient to lay people. I have expectations of attorneys to be professional."

McCabe works for the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office and was previously assigned to Day's courtroom before she decided to run against him. She is not related to State Attorney Bernie McCabe.

Kriseman received the club's coveted "Fang and Claw" award for that question, deemed to be the forum's toughest.

Day and McCabe are running for the Group 45 Circuit judge seat, which covers Pinellas and Pasco counties. Of the other six candidates who spoke Tuesday, four are running for two other circuit judge positions, and two candidates are running for a county judge seat that only covers Pinellas.

In the Pinellas County judge race, candidate Scott Andringa focused on his experience as a prosecutor and defense attorney, and also as a cancer survivor who raises money to combat the disease. Fellow candidate Cathy McKyton said she prides herself not only as a veteran prosecutor, but also as a wife and mom and active Junior League volunteer who believes in "giving back and making a difference."

In the Group 15 race for Pinellas and Pasco counties, Assistant State Attorney Bill Burgess noted that he has had careers as a prosecutor and as a U.S. Army Special Forces officer, and has written a book on Florida's sentencing guidelines. Safety Harbor Mayor Andy Steingold said he has had wide experience in law, as well as his public role as mayor and a leader on various county boards.

In the Group 31 race for Pinellas and Pasco, Brian Battaglia said "I've practiced for 26 years, I've been active in the community" through many years with the community law program and other involvement. Candidate Kimberly "Kim" Campbell, an attorney who recently completed a term as president of the Clearwater Bar Association, said "service to the community is not an action, it is a way of life."

The candidates will be up for election in the Aug. 14 primary.

Times staff writer Curtis Krueger can be reached at or (727) 893-8232.

At Pinellas-Pasco judge's forum, candidates debate temperament 05/22/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 11:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 10 National Monuments the Interior Department Wants to Shrink or Modify


    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has proposed that President Donald Trump make changes to 10 national monuments, including Bears Ears in southern Utah, according to a memo addressed to the White House.

  2. A botched surgery left a barber with erectile dysfunction. Decades later, he took revenge.

    The old man booked his appointment under an alias.

    In this July 27, 2017 file photo, Stanwood Fred Elkus, accused of shooting and killing his doctor at the doctor's office in Newport Beach in 2013, is wheeled into Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, Calif.
  3. Irma's death toll in Florida rises to 42, but will grow


    TALLAHASSEE —Deadly carbon monoxide fumes have killed 11 people in Florida as Hurricane Irma's death toll rose to 42 on Tuesday, state officials reported.

    A resident walks by a pile of debris caused by a storm surge during Hurricane Irma in Everglades City. The isolated Everglades City community of about 400 people suffered some of Florida's worst storm surges, up to 9 feet (2.7 meters), when Hurricane Irma slammed the region eight days ago, leaving the insides of homes a sodden mess and caking the streets with mud. The storm affected nearly every part of the state, and, so far, the death toll stands at 42. [AP Photo | Alan Diaz]
  4. After Irma, Tampa Bay synagogues get ready for Rosh Hashana


    As the holiest days of the Jewish calendar approached, so did Hurricane Irma.

    Congregants open the ark which holds several torah scrolls during Selichot services at Congregation B'nai Israel of St. Petersburg on Saturday, September 16, 2017. The Jewish new year, Rosh Hashana begins at sundown on Wednesday night.
  5. For ex-Rays/now Cubs manager Joe Maddon, the legacy is in the jeans


    Joe Maddon has plenty of memories of his time at the Trop during nine years of managing the Rays. "Too many to count,'' he said.