BROOKSVILLE — A pair of Hernando County attorneys and a Lake County judicial magistrate remain in the hunt to replace outgoing Circuit Judge Jack Springstead, according to Gov. Charlie Crist's office.
The governor's legal team whittled down its list of nominees to three candidates from six Friday. After a round of interviews, the panel settled on Hernando attorneys John Napolitano and Steve Toner, and Heidi Davis, a family law attorney from Tavares who has served as judicial magistrate in Lake County for the past six years.
Springstead will officially step down from the bench on Nov. 30. He was re-elected without opposition to a six-year term in 2008.
Crist has until Oct. 12 to fill the judgeship, which will cover Hernando and Citrus counties.
The Fifth Circuit's nine-member nominating commission, which includes Hernando County Clerk of Court Karen Nicolai and George Angeliadis of the Hogan Law Firm in Brooksville, sent a list of six candidates to Crist's legal team in August.
From there, the governor's general counsel and attorneys in his legal office interviewed Napolitano, Toner, Davis, Hernando County Judge Donald Scaglione, state Department of Children and Families lawyer Mark Burnette and Assistant State Attorney Anthony Tatti as contenders to fill the opening.
That Scaglione didn't make it to the next round was a bit of a surprise to some observers, given that he was the only candidate who is already a judge.
Crist will interview the final three candidates himself and then make a decision.
Joel Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 754-6120.