Mark R. Wolfe Hillsborough Circuit Court Group 14
Hillsborough County voters have no compelling reason to replace Circuit Judge Mark R. Wolfe, especially given the alternative.
Then-Gov. Jeb Bush appointed Wolfe as a county court judge in 2000 and later elevated him to the circuit bench. Circuit judges hear felony cases, probate and family law issues as well as civil disputes involving damages in excess of $15,000. Wolfe brought a wealth of experience as a former public defender and attorney in private practice, and he has served admirably. Wolfe, 56, has handled every type of case, from family and criminal to civil law. He is widely praised for being professional and fair, and he is seen as a leader among his colleagues and within the legal profession.
Johnnie B. Byrd Jr., who served as Florida House speaker from 2002-2004, was one of the most divisive figures in recent legislative history. His polarizing style is hardly the right fit for the courtroom. Byrd, 61, seems to have given little thought to the demands of the circuit or how he would manage a caseload.
Wolfe has been widely praised as a judge for his contribution to legal education. His scholarly interest in rulings and appeals makes him a more responsible trial judge. His modest way and ability to listen have served the county well as Wolfe has worked over the years to improve the quality of the local judiciary.
Byrd's 35 years of practicing law are not as relevant as Wolfe's experience on the bench. Wolfe's temperament suits him for the job and Byrd's does not. This is a nonpartisan race open to all Hillsborough voters. For Hillsborough Circuit Court Judge, Group 14, the Tampa Bay Times recommends Mark R. Wolfe.