Judges in county court preside over misdemeanor criminal cases, traffic offenses and civil disputes involving $30,000 or less. County court judges are elected to six-year terms and paid $156,377 annually. Judicial races are nonpartisan and open to all voters. The general election is Nov. 3.
Group 7: Bill Yanger
Bill Yanger took nearly 40 percent of the vote in the four-way August primary, a testament to his standing from a 34-year legal career and the civic contributions he’s made to his native Tampa.
Yanger, 60, has practiced in virtually every area of the law, handling a wide range of matters, from criminal cases and commercial disputes to complex federal litigation. This rich experience gives him a broad perspective of not only the law but of how the criminal justice system works.
Yanger’s range as an attorney enables him to be effective as a jurist from day one. Aside from handling domestic disputes and small business matters, among other issues, he also has experience with arbitration and mediation. Yanger’s breadth of experience in both state and federal court gives him a solid grasp of how judges must conduct themselves. A sole practitioner, he also brings a strong work ethic and an appreciation for timely rulings.
His opponent, Monique Scott, was a Tampa police officer and public school teacher before beginning a legal career in 2013, working mostly as an assistant state attorney. She is comfortable in the courtroom and active in the community. Scott, 38, would bring a uniquely balanced perspective to the bench, but her seven years of legal experience pales in comparison to Yanger’s.
Yanger’s high regard in legal circles and dedication to his community is reflected in the broad support for his campaign, which includes public officials across political lines and even a primary opponent, Tampa attorney Rick Silverman. Yanger’s work with school, youth sports and other groups gives him a deft understanding of what’s happening in his community. He also is regarded as uncommonly decent, and his listening skills and disarming nature could help calm those appearing before him and instill confidence in the fairness of the local courts. The Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board recommends Bill Yanger for Hillsborough County Court Judge, Group 7.
Candidates not recommended by the editorial board are offered an opportunity to reply. Judicial candidates may send replies of up to 150 words by 5 p.m. Oct. 9 to Editor of Editorials Graham Brink at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editorials are the institutional voice of the Tampa Bay Times. The members of the Editorial Board are Times Chairman and CEO Paul Tash, Editor of Editorials Graham Brink, and editorial writers Elizabeth Djinis, John Hill and Jim Verhulst. Follow @TBTimes_Opinion on Twitter for more opinion news