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Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge, Group 16

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Group 16

Brian Battaglia and Kimberly Sharpe have taken different paths through the legal system, but both say their experience has prepared them for taking the bench as a Pinellas-Pasco circuit judge. Craig Pittman, Times staff writer

Brian Battaglia, 53


Kimberly Sharpe, 33


Experience Battaglia opened his own law firm last year after spending 27 years at the law firm founded by his father. He has handled commercial law, civil litigation, health care, employment, real estate and land use-related matters. He also is a certified civil mediator and has been an adjunct professor at the Stetson University College of Law. Sharpe is a partner in the law firm of Johnson, Pope & Blakely, where she has worked since 2006. In that time she says she handled 176 litigation cases in Pinellas County alone, covering everything from contract disputes to fraud to probate. She served as president of the Barney Masterson Inn of Court and has provided free representation to "police officers ... people with cancer and people who were losing their homes."
EducationBachelor's in criminology from Florida State in 1982; law degree from Drake University School of Law in 1985; master's from Loyola University, Chicago, in 1996Bachelor's in computer science from the University of Florida in 2003; law degree from Stetson University College of Law in 2006
What makes you the best candidate in this race? "I have practiced law for 28 years compared to my opponent, who has practiced law for eight years. I have handled hundreds of litigation cases and argued appeals at every level ... I have an AV® Preeminent Rating™ from Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest peer review rating for legal ability and ethics. My opponent does not have a rating. ... I also am a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, and for the past 10 years I have taught Alternative Dispute Resolution at Stetson University College of Law.""I believe I am the best candidate ... because of the depth and breadth of my courtroom experience, my knowledge of technology and my commitment to giving all parties a fair day in court. I believe that my computer science degree will help me with the challenges judges are facing in these times of rapidly changing technology and overcrowded dockets."
Can you describe your community service work? "I currently serve on the board of directors of Girls, Inc. ... I have served for the last five years as a trustee on the UPARC Foundation Board. I currently serve on the Pinellas Park/Gateway Chamber of Commerce. I was an organizing member of the Community Law Program and served as president. I currently serve on the UPARC Foundation Board, Pinellas Park/Gateway Chamber of Commerce Board and I am a member of the St. Petersburg Rotary Club""I have served as a board member or volunteer for a wide variety of community service organizations and projects including the Clearwater Homeless Intervention Project, Homeless Emergency Project, UPARC, and St. Anthony's Hospital Fishing Tournament Committee. I have also taught the Constitution to elementary school students and purchased and wrapped gifts for nursing homes and the developmentally disabled. Professionally, I have also served on committees for the Clearwater Bar Association and as executive director and president of the local Inn of Court – a legal mentoring and networking group, which focuses on ethics. I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve my community on the bench."
How has your legal career prepared you for this job? "I have handled hundreds of litigation cases, and argued appeals at every level of our court system, including the Florida Supreme Court. I have handled many of the types of cases a circuit court judge would hear. My experiences not only as a lawyer, mediator and leader in the community, but also as a husband and parent, have prepared me for the bench.""I have had the opportunity to practice in courts all over Florida in front of many different judges at the state and federal level. I have learned from those experiences that we need judges who listen to both sides, ask questions when needed, explain the process to people who don't have lawyers, and who give thoughtful and fair rulings."
Income, assetsIncome from law firm. Assets: house, retirement and investment accounts.Income from law firm. Asset: house.
LiabilitiesNone foundNone found
PersonalMarried with two children, lives in St. PetersburgSingle, no children, lives in New Port Richey

About the job: Circuit judges are elected on a nonpartisan basis to a six-year term. They preside over criminal and civil cases in Pinellas and Pasco counties, 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 chief judge determines in which county the judge will serve. The job pays $145,080 a year.

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge, Group 16 08/14/14 [Last modified: Friday, August 15, 2014 6:11pm]
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