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Judicial candidates Bruce Boyer and Charles W. Cope say their campaign contributions show something of their character. Boyer, 43, refused money from anyone outside his family, saying he didn't want to be indebted to those who might appear before him in court. Cope, 41, said his long list of contributors shows his broad support.

The two former prosecutors hope their positions will endear them to voters selecting a judge to fill a new Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court seat. St. Petersburg lawyer John Lenderman was eliminated from the race in the primary Sept. 4.

Boyer, who has the endorsement of the Pinellas County Police Benevolent Association, questions Cope's judgment for accepting money from lawyers and an endorsement from Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney James T. Russell.

"What happens when you've got a close call?" Boyer said. "Where's the close call going to go?"

Cope counters that he is proud of his support. And he scoffs at the notion that his objectivity would be affected because he accepted money from lawyers and support from Russell.

"He thinks I'm highly qualified for the job," Cope said of Russell.

Cope says he is grateful that Lenderman decided to support him after the primary.

"We started as adversaries," Cope said, "and we finished as friends."



Circuit judges are elected on a non-partisan basis and serve six-year terms. They preside over felony criminal cases, civil lawsuits involving more than $10,000, family-law matters and juvenile cases. The position will pay $90,399 a year as of January.


BRUCE BOYER, 43, is a self-employed lawyer. He attended high school in Indianapolis, graduated from Eastern Kentucky University and obtained a master's degree in education from Morehead State University in Kentucky. After working as a teacher, Boyer earned a law degree from the University of Kentucky. He was a Pinellas-Pasco assistant state attorney from 1978 to 1983. He is married and has two children. ASSETS: Bank account, office furniture and equipment, home, household goods. LIABILITIES: Mortgage, two loans. INCOME: Law practice, pay from St. Petersburg Junior College, where he is an adjunct professor.


CHARLES W. COPE, 41, is a member of the Clearwater law firm Baynard, Harrell, Mascara and Ostow. He graduated from Clearwater High School, St. Petersburg Junior College, Florida State University and Cumberland School of Law at Stamford University in Alabama. Before law school, he spent a year teaching at Dunedin Junior High School. He was a Pinellas-Pasco assistant state attorney from 1974 to 1980. Since then, he has concentrated on civil litigation. He is married and has three children. ASSETS: Home, boat, treasury bills, bank accounts, IRAs. LIABILITIES: Mortgage, bank loan. INCOME: Law practice.