Monday, November 12, 2018
Editorials

Times recommends: Ellis for Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court

There is one Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court seat on the November ballot. Circuit judges serve six-year terms and are paid $160,688 a year. They hear felony cases, probate and family law issues as well as civil disputes involving damages in excess of $15,000. This is a nonpartisan race open to all Pinellas and Pasco voters.

Dave Ellis | Group 4

Two qualified candidates with varied backgrounds and credentials advanced from the August election in the race to succeed Judge Lynn Tepper. Dave Ellis, who finished first in the initial three-way contest in August with 43 percent of the vote, has the edge in experience and community leadership.

Ellis, 54, has more than 25 years of courtroom experience and has operated his own North Pinellas law firm for 20 years. His practice has included a variety of areas such as civil, family law and probate. He served as president of the Clearwater Bar Association in 2016-17, and he has played a key role in significantly increasing the number of lawyers participating in a pro bono program. Ellis also has worked on other initiatives such as efforts to encourage state lawyers to take advantage of a recent state law that allows limited representation of clients who cannot afford a lawyer in civil cases.

Roxanne Fixsen, 53, worked in the foster care system for 11 years and helped lead the privatization of child welfare in Pinellas and Pasco counties before switching careers. She has been in private practice for 11 years, handling primarily commercial litigation and also doing appellate work. Unlike Ellis, she has no significant trial experience.

These are credible candidates, but Ellis has the broader experience and leadership record. For Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court Judge Group 4, the Tampa Bay Times recommends Dave Ellis.

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