Four people file to run for open judicial seat

Judge candidates
Judge candidates Sean Brewer, AuBroncee Martin, Nathan Skop and Dan Weisman.

Only one seat in Florida’s Eighth Judicial Circuit will be contested this year while incumbents for five other circuit court seats and three Alachua County Court positions are unopposed.

Judge Monica Brasington did not seek another six-year term and is stepping down from her position as a circuit court judge at the end of her current term in January 2023. According to the Secretary of State’s office, four people to date have qualified to compete for her seat.

Brasington, who was first appointed the circuit in 2013 following the death of another judge, did not describe her reasons for leaving in a note she released about her departure. Instead, she praised the “professionalism, diligence and courtesy” of the Eighth Circuit.

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Monica Brasington
Monica Brasington

“Having worked on committees and workgroups throughout the state, I can say with certainty that our circuit is a special place to work, serve, and practice law and I feel very fortunate to have had that opportunity,” Brasington wrote.

The Eighth Circuit is one of 20 circuit courts in Florida, and serves Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy and Union counties.

Florida’s circuit courts handle felony criminal cases, juvenile cases and civil cases involving more than $30,000 as well as tax cases, property and estate cases, according to the Florida Courts website.

Brasington presides over cases in one of the circuit’s civil divisions. In one of her recent high-profile cases, she ruled against Gainesville’s employee vaccine mandate.

The qualifying period to run for Brasington’s seat ended on Friday. As of Tuesday, four people are listed as qualified for the August election. Among those who will compete for the non-partisan position are an assistant state attorney, a public defender, a former public service commissioner and a former state prosecutor.

The four people who have filed to run and paid the $6,620.36 qualifying fee are:

  • Sean BrewerBrewer serves as an assistant state attorney for the Eighth Circuit. He started in 1998 and during his career has served as a division chief for three different divisions: felony crimes, crimes against women and children, and felony gun crimes.
  • AuBroncee MartinMartin has served for 24 years in the Office of Public Defender for the Eighth Circuit, where is currently a felony division chief in Alachua County.
  • Nathan SkopSkop is a former Florida Public Service Commissioner. While on the Public Service Commission, Skop was involved in adjudicating administrative law cases, ruling on motions, issuing orders and writing opinions. As part of his local law practice, he represented citizens in Archer who were opposed to the building of a solar farm.
  • Dan WeismanWeisman is a former assistant statewide prosecutor who handled drug trafficking, fraud and embezzlement, and violent gang cases. In private law practice in Gainesville, Weisman handles criminal, accident and personal injury cases. An Army veteran, Weisman also helps other veterans navigate the legal system.

Eighth Circuit incumbent judges who filed to run for re-election for another six-year term and face no opposition include:

  • James M. ColawColaw has been serving as circuit judge since 2013. In Alachua and Bradford counties, he hears criminal cases and presides over post-conviction relief cases for the entire Eighth Circuit.
  • David KreiderKreider has been serving as circuit court judge since 2014 and previously was a county court judge. He handles criminal cases in Alachua and Gilchrist counties. Circuit-wide he handles cases involving sexual offenders and felony forensics.
  • Donna M. KeimKeim started with the Eighth Circuit in 2015. She hears civil cases and appeals cases.
  • Mark W. MoseleyMoseley has been a circuit court judge since 2014 and has served as the chief judge of the Eighth Circuit since January 2021. He hears mortgage foreclosure cases and serves as backup judge for the circuit’s civil divisions.
  • George M. WrightWright began serving as a circuit court judge in January 2021. In Alachua County, he hears cases in the family division, and in Bradford County he presides over a variety of case types including family, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency and truancy, as well as probate and other civil cases.

All five of the incumbent judges got their law degrees from UF.

Florida’s county courts handle misdemeanor criminal cases as well as traffic cases and civil cases involving less than $30,000, according to the Florida Courts website. They also may be assigned to circuit court cases.

Like circuit court judges, county court judges serve six-year terms. Three of the five Alachua County Court seats are up for votes this year. Incumbents for the three positions have all qualified for re-election and are unopposed.

The county court judges include:

  • Walter M. GreenGreen has served as a county judge since 2005 and presides over cases in the county criminal division III, the felony adult drug court and civil traffic court.
  • Thomas M. JaworskiJaworski has been a county court judge since 2005 and also serves as an administrative judge. He hears cases in the county criminal division I and traffic court. He also chairs the county’s election canvassing board.
  • Susan Miller-JonesMiller-Jones has been an Alachua County judge since 2014 and previously served as a judge in Gilchrist and Levy counties. She presides over cases in the county criminal division II and traffic courts, and oversees the court’s misdemeanor mental health cases.

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