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Hillsborough Circuit Judge, Group 19

Circuit Court | Group 19

This race pits former law school classmates Michael John Brannigan and Michael Scionti. Both men grew up in Hillsborough County, graduated from the South Texas College of Law and returned to Florida. Anna M. Phillips, Times staff writer


Michael John Brannigan, 45



Michael Scionti, 45



Experience Brannigan began his career as an assistant state attorney in Pinellas County, a job he held for five years. In 2000, he opened his own law practice and in 2006 took a job with the Hogan Law Firm in Hernando County. Currently, his case load consists mainly of personal injury claims and civil cases, though he does some criminal defense and family law work as well. He is the attorney for the city of Crystal River in Citrus County. After law school, Scionti took a job as an assistant attorney general, followed by stints as an assistant state attorney and an assistant statewide prosecutor. In 2006, Tampa voters elected him to the Florida House of Representatives, and again in 2008. While in office, Scionti, a member of the Army Reserve, was deployed to Afghanistan. He has served as a diplomat for the U.S. State Department and currently is in private practice.
Education He has an undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida and a law degree from South Texas College of Law. He has an undergraduate degree from Florida State University and a law degree from South Texas College of Law.
Why are you seeking judicial office? "I have the necessary legal skills and experience to be an effective and efficient circuit judge. The courts need to be staffed with judges that, when they were attorneys, had the opportunity to practice in multiple areas of the law." "I want to continue serving my community in a way that puts my education, skills and experience to their best use. I've spent my entire career protecting others' rights in and out of the courtroom, on and off the battlefield, and through all branches of government."
Describe your community service work "My firm sponsors an annual fishing tournament for hospice that has been very successful over the last six years. We have raised well over $100,000 for hospice." "I work with local Disabled American Veteran organizations assisting disabled veterans and their family members on a variety of general civil and estate planning matters."
How has your legal career prepared you for this job? "By having been both a state prosecutor as well as an effective criminal defense attorney, I am confident in my ability to handle the requirements of the criminal bench. Likewise, with my civil law background, I have the real-world knowledge, and hands-on experience in the civil arena as well." "As a trial and appellate attorney, I've litigated hundreds of cases in county, circuit and appellate courts. As a lawmaker and diplomat, I've worked to advance the rule of law and support a fair and balanced justice system. As a soldier and judge advocate, I've presided over hundreds of war tribunals and detention hearings ensuring the fair and impartial administration of justice."
Assets Family home, car, retirement savings Family home, two cars
Liabilities Mortgage, car loan Mortgage
Personal He is married and has a daughter. He is married with no children.


About the job: Circuit judges are elected on a nonpartisan basis to a six-year term. They preside over criminal and civil cases in Hillsborough County, handling felonies, such as murder and robbery, as well as divorces, juvenile cases, probate and guardianship, and lawsuits alleging damages in excess of $15,000. The job pays $146,079.96 a year.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge, Group 19 08/14/14 [Last modified: Thursday, August 14, 2014 5:05pm]
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