Florida Supreme Court Justice Grosshans recuses self in appeals court judge cases

The eligibility of some of the candidates nominated to Florida’s courts of appeal in the 5th and 6th districts are being challenged.
Judge Jamie Grosshans in Tallahassee as Gov. Ron DeSantis looks on.
Judge Jamie Grosshans in Tallahassee as Gov. Ron DeSantis looks on. [ News Service of Florida ]
Published Nov. 28, 2022

Florida Supreme Court Justice Jamie Grosshans has recused herself from cases that contend six candidates for appointments to two appeals courts do not meet residency requirements, the Supreme Court said Monday.

Grosshans’ husband, Josh, is a member of the 6th District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission, which sent the names of four of the disputed candidates to Gov. Ron DeSantis for consideration.

The recusal is the latest twist in challenges to the eligibility of candidates to become judges on revamped state appeals courts.

Related: Appeals court nominations for Rep. Beltran, Judge Smith challenged

The Legislature this year approved a plan (HB 7027) that added the 6th District Court of Appeal and revised the jurisdictions of the 1st District Court of Appeal, the 2nd District Court of Appeal and the 5th District Court of Appeal. The changes are scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, and DeSantis will appoint judges to fill vacant positions.

Judicial nominating commissions reviewed applicants and sent lists of candidates to DeSantis for consideration.

The cases allege that four candidates for the 6th District Court of Appeal are ineligible because they do not live in the areas covered by the district. Those candidates are state Rep. Mike Beltran, R-Lithia; Leon County Circuit Judge Stephen Everett; Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Jared Smith; and Danielle Brewer, a judge in the 12th Judicial Circuit, which is made up of DeSoto, Sarasota and Manatee counties.

The other case challenges the eligibility of two candidates for the 5th District Court of Appeal: Florida Gaming Control Commission Chairman John MacIver and Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Paige Kilbane.

In addition to Grosshans’ recusal, plaintiffs in the cases objected to Supreme Court Justices Charles Canady and John Couriel taking part. That is because Canady and Couriel served as references for three appeals court candidates.