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Hillsborough Circuit Judge, Group 8

Circuit Court | Group 8

The three candidates for Hillsborough circuit judge in Group 8 all maintain solo law practices focusing primarily on civil claims, but that is where the similarities end. John Dingfelder is a former public school teacher and Tampa City Council member, Carl C. Hinson has devoted his career to personal injury law and Barbara Twine Thomas has twice been nominated for a judicial appointment but has not been chosen by the governor. This is a nonpartisan race. Anna M. Phillips, Times staff writer


John Dingfelder, 57



Carl C. Hinson, 54



Barbara Twine Thomas, 61



Experience A former Hillsborough County school teacher and assistant public defender, Dingfelder won a seat on the Tampa City Council in 2003 and was re-elected in 2007. After leaving office, he joined the American Civil Liberties Union as a senior staff attorney, becoming involved in efforts to protect demonstrators' First Amendment rights during the Republican National Convention. He has since opened his own law practice, working on both criminal and civil cases. Hinson began his career at several private law firms and the Personal Injury Law Center. In 1994, he struck out on his own and has managed his solo Tampa law practice ever since. His focus is on personal injury claims, such as car accidents that result in injuries, and slip-and-fall claims. On his website, he boasts that he has never represented an insurance company or corporation. He is a past president of the Tampa Bay Trial Lawyers Association. For the first decade of her career, Thomas worked for legal aid offices, first in Jacksonville and then in Atlanta and the Virgin Islands. Later, she became legal counsel for several governments, including Hillsborough County, the city of Tampa and the Virgin Islands. In 2008, she opened her own law practice in Tampa, focusing mainly on family law. She is a former president of the George Edgecomb Bar Association and the Hillsborough County Bar Foundation.
Education He has an undergraduate degree from the University of Florida, a master's from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and a law degree from the University of Florida. He has an associate's degree from Hillsborough Community College, a bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida and a law degree from Nova Southeastern University. She has an undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry education from the University of South Florida and a law degree from the University of Florida.
Why are you seeking judicial office? "After 25 years of practicing law and almost two decades of community and public service, I believe I have the life experience, maturity, intelligence, balance, integrity and temperament to make an excellent circuit court judge. As a former public school teacher, defense attorney and city councilman, I have been exposed to all aspects of life in our community. This exposure will help me better understand the people and issues that will come before me in court." "It has always been an ambition and goal of mine, since clerking with Judge Graybill, Judge Cheatwood, Judge Giglio and my conversations with my cousin, the late Judge Ed Hinson, that I would like to serve the people of Hillsborough County in a judiciary capacity." "I seek judicial office in the spirit of service to this community. Working as a judge will allow me to utilize my talents and the skills I have developed over my long career to their highest potential. I have demonstrated my passion and commitment to the law, the legal community and our legal system by my service and leadership on numerous boards and in a variety of organizations."
Describe your community service work "Volunteer with Bay Area Legal Services, volunteered to assist residents of Sunnydale Mobile Home Park (litigation), numerous cases over many years helping individuals in need." "Providing free legal advice to clients and friends of clients. I have given speeches at local high schools and the University of Tampa. Additionally, I have helped organize golf tournaments for charities in the bay area." "I have regularly represented pro bono clients through Bay Area Legal Services. I have also received an award from the Hillsborough County chapter of the NAACP for pro bono services."
How has your legal career prepared you for this job? "As an attorney, I have had the opportunity to practice in many different areas of civil and criminal law. If given the privilege to serve as a circuit judge, my diverse legal background will be invaluable in helping me fairly and intelligently adjudicate a wide variety of issues." "I built a successful law practice and believe that my knowledge and experience in the private sector would be a positive asset to our judicial sector." "I have solid, consistent trial experience and I am comfortable in the courtroom. I communicate effectively, whether one-on-one or to a broader audience, and I truly listen when people speak to me. I have sharp analytical ability, which will allow me to quickly discern the real issues."
Assets Home, retirement accounts Family home, car, company car, retirement account, investments Family home, car, property in Thonotosassa
Liabilities Mortgage None Mortgage
Personal He is married and has two grown children. He is married and has a daughter. She is married and has a grown son and stepson.
Email committee@


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 8 08/14/14 [Last modified: Thursday, August 14, 2014 5:02pm]
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