Tuesday, April 24, 2018
News Roundup

Florida Supreme Court justice calls politics a threat to legal system

TAMPA — Another Florida Supreme Court justice targeted by the Republican Party in this year's merit retention election pleaded with Tampa attorneys Friday to help keep partisan politics out of the judiciary.

"No fair, impartial court means no justice, no freedom," said Justice Peggy Quince, speaking to the Young Lawyers Division of the Hillsborough County Bar Association.

It's the latest direct pitch to Tampa lawyers for support from a state Supreme Court justice since the state GOP's executive board announced in September it opposed three justices up for merit retention on the Nov. 6 ballot. Until now, a political party has never formally involved itself in merit retention since it was adopted in the 1970s to reform a corrupt judiciary.

But in this election Justices Quince, R. Fred Lewis and Barbara Pariente are all opposed by the Republican Party of Florida because of their "activist" and liberal views.

Three weeks ago, Lewis told the Hillsborough Bar Association that the election "is the most stressful time I've ever experienced in my life. There is an entire branch of government to protect and defend. We cannot sacrifice fairness and impartiality and the court system to political whims."

On Friday, Quince, who has passed merit retention twice, reminded lawyers that the process was made a part of the state constitution in 1976 after two justices resigned amid a corruption scandal.

"Merit retention is not about whether you agree with every decision," she said. "If that was the case, we'd be constantly changing judges. The real criteria are character, fitness and demeanor."

Quince said she feared politicization could work its way through the judiciary down to the local trial courts.

"This is about whether the judiciary will survive."

Supporters and opponents of the justices have begun airing television ads — another first in the history of merit retention.

John Barry can be reached at (813) 226-3383 or [email protected]

Comments
Former Rays pitcher Danny Farquhar “progressing well’ after surgery

Former Rays pitcher Danny Farquhar “progressing well’ after surgery

As former teammates with the Rays and throughout baseball share thoughts and prayers, RHP Danny Farquhar is "progressing well" in a Chicago hospital after suffering a hemorrhage caused by a brain aneurysm on Friday.The White Sox on Monday released th...
Updated: 4 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 23

Monday’s scoreboardBaseballCanterbury 10, Citrus Park Christian 0Northeast 12, Countryside 5
Updated: 4 hours ago
Man faces first-degree murder charge in 2017 death of woman

Man faces first-degree murder charge in 2017 death of woman

TAMPA — A 68-year-old man was arrested Monday on a first-degree murder charge, according to Tampa police.Officers took James Leon Jackson into custody at 2712 W Nassau St. in west Tampa at about 1 p.m. A warrant for his arrest had been issued Friday....
Updated: 5 hours ago
A new museum will honor America’s lynching victims, including those killed in Tampa Bay

A new museum will honor America’s lynching victims, including those killed in Tampa Bay

In May 1914, a Hernando County grand jury decided not to indict John Davis, a black man accused of attempting to assault a white woman in a hotel. But days after he was released from the Citrus County jail, Davis’s body was found beaten with a ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Here’s what they see.

Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Here’s what they see.

ST. PETERSBURG — Absolutely, Alex Cobb was saying over the phone, it's going to be weird pitching Tuesday against the Rays.The organization that he owes so much for rearing him since high school, standing by him through assorted injuries, enabl...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Mon., April 23, midday:40 874 5140e_SRit69262Mon., April 23, evening:76 974 2849e_SRit78236Fantasy 5Mon., April...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Waffle House slaying suspect arrested; veteran receives world’s most extensive penis transplant; more in U.S. news

Waffle House slaying suspect arrested; veteran receives world’s most extensive penis transplant; more in U.S. news

TennesseeWaffle House slaying suspect arrestedThe mentally unstable white gunman suspected of killing four people and wounding more at a diverse Nashville Waffle House was arrested near his apartment Monday, authorities said. Police and federal agent...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Armenia’s leader quits amid protests; van driver kills 10 in Toronto; more in world news

Armenia’s leader quits amid protests; van driver kills 10 in Toronto; more in world news

ArmeniaLeader quits: ‘I was wrong’Ten days of demonstrations forced the resignation Monday of the man who has led post-Soviet Armenia since 2008. The unexpected resignation prompted the jubilation of tens of thousands in capital Yerevan’s Republic Sq...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Deputies find parents who fled with newborn; 1-month-old is safe

Deputies find parents who fled with newborn; 1-month-old is safe

TAMPA — The 1-month-old infant reported missing Monday was found hours later about 300 miles north in Quincy, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Sage Cooper was reported to be unharmed, officials said, and Gadsden County sheriff’s ...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Saudi-led airstrike at Yemen wedding killed at least 20

SANAA, Yemen — An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition hit a wedding party in northern Yemen, killing at least 20 people including the bride, health officials said Monday, as harrowing images emerged on social media of the deadly bombing, the third t...
Updated: 7 hours ago