2022 Ballot – Know your Judges

2022 Ballot – Know your Judges

2022 Ballot - Know your Judges

A lot of the time, voters skip over this section on their ballot because they do not know enough about the Judges. Because these races are partisan (as all judges should be) there is no easy way to decide if you support them. We even found a wide range of debate over these judges within our own group of Democrats!

So, we have put together a list of judges running in Pinellas County along with a few things to note about each one. Please read through and make up your own mind. Remember, this is a job interview and these positions have consequences!

About Florida’s 6th Judicial Circuit

Florida’s 6th Judicial Circuit covers Pinellas and Pasco counties The Circuit Court handles cases involving felonies, family law, civil issues, probate issues, juvenile cases, and appeals from County Court. It includes 45 judges at the circuit level. It is one of 20 judicial circuits in Florida and 94 circuits in the United States. To qualify for the post of circuit judge, a candidate must be an elector of a county within the circuit and must have been admitted to the practice of law in Florida for the preceding five years. Judges are selected via nonpartisan election and terms are 6 years. 

Circuit Judge, 6th Circuit – Group 22

Nicholas “Nick” Fiorentino

  • Practicing attorney for 19 years
  • Campaign website indicates he has “experience in – family law, criminal law, personal injury, probate, and civil law”
  • Worked as a critical incident attorney representing police officers for 17 years

Cynthia Newton

  • Incumbent
  • 17 years of judicial experience
  • 6 years serving as Circuit Judge, 6th Circuit
  • Former public defender 1995-2004

Circuit Judge, 6th Circuit – Group 27

Scott Finelli

  • Former middle school history teacher
  • Attorney with experience representing impoverished clients
  • Earned “Advocate of the Year” by  Salvation Army’s Domestic Violence Program.

Keith Meyer

  • 11 years serving as Circuit Judge, 6th Circuit
  • Has served as Circuit Judge in Criminal, Civil, Family and Appellate Divisions
  • Former prosecutor with extensive trial experience

County Judge, 6th Circuit – Group 1

Delia Cope

  • Attorney for 17 years
  • Handled forfeiture cases, garnishments, and claims with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
  • Awarded by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
  • Awarded by Pinellas County Sheriff’s Officer for her efforts in prosecuting human trafficking cases.
  • Represented the Pinellas Sheriff’s Office in risk protection orders, where a court can temporarily restrict a person’s access to firearms if the person poses a significant danger to themselves or others. (From Tampa Bay Times)
  • Represented the Pinellas county sheriff’s office in discrimination claims with the US EEOC.

David Constantine Moran

  • 17 years of law experience, the majority as an Assistant Public Defender
  • Board certified in criminal trial law 
  • Endorsed by René Flowers (current Pinellas County School Board member) and Rick Kriseman (former Democrat Mayor of St. Petersburg)
  • Lunch Pals Mentor, Pinellas County Schools, since 2016
  • Former Teen Drug Court Volunteer

Megan Roach

  • Federalist Society* member
    (* The Federalist Society is an organization of conservatives and libertarians that advocate for a textualist and originalist interpretation of the United States Constitution.)
  • Areas of practice include first and third party property and casualty defense, insurance coverage counsel, general liability, and commercial litigation.

County Judge, 6th Circuit – Group 13

Kenneth Afienko

  • Former police officer in Pinellas County
  • 24 years in law, police union litigation since 2002
  • Endorsed by Bill Foster (former Republican Mayor of St. Petersburg) and Chris Latvala (current Republican member of the Florida House of Representatives)

Kathleen T. Hessinger

  • 17 years of judicial experience
  • Taught Trial Advocacy as an adjunct professor at Stetson University College of Law
  • Educates middle school and high school students about our legal system, constitution and civic responsibility.