Each State within the United States has its own unique judicial selection process within its court system. The state of Virginia selection of court judges occurs through legislative elections. Virginia chooses judges to serve on the state appellate and general jurisdictions courts through the statutory method (judicialselection.us). Virginia and South Carolina are the only states that use this method.
Florida, on the other hand, selects judges through two method processes, depending on the level of court. Judicial of the appellate courts have the process of assistant appointment and the judges on trial run with nonpartisan elections (Ballotpedia).According to ballotpedia.
org, the Supreme Court of Virginia is a court of last resort located in Richmond. Its function is to review the lower courts’ decisions. The state’s law does not allow appeals to the court, apart from when there’s a state corporation commission, disbarment of an attorney, or review of a death penalty. Justices are elected to serve a 12-term period and are reappointed to additional terms by the legislature. Governors have no role for reappointment.
A justice that reaches the age of 70 must retire within the twentieth day. General assembly meets again in a regular session. There can be five retired justices that can serve as senior justices (Ballotpedia). For renewable one-year terms (Ballotpedia). They usually sit on writ panels and will sit on cases, occasionally giving their opinions. Ballotpedia.org states that the Court of appeals in Virginia is an intermediate appellate court established in 1985 and was created to increase the capacity of the court system and to expand appellate processes. It is made up of eleven judges that serve terms of eight years.
Circuit courts are trial courts in Virginia that have broad jurisdiction over cases such as felonies, family matters, and civil claims that exceed over twenty-five thousand dollars. The circuit courts share jurisdiction with general district courts over civil claims between four thousand to twenty-five thousand dollars (Ballotpedia). They serve for eight-year terms. The Virginia district court was created in 1973 and is used for trial courts in the Commonwealth of Virginia that have jurisdiction in cases such as traffic violations, misdemeanors, and civil claims that are less than five thousand dollars. Judges on district courts are elected by the Virginia general assembly and serve six-year terms.As for Florida, the supreme court appellate has jurisdiction over cases on death penalty and public utilities cases. Judges are selected using the assistant appointment method, and the governor of Florida chooses a list from three to six candidates recommended by the judicial appointments. They serve six-year terms; a retention vote must confirm the arrangements of justice by the next general election.
Florida District appeals are Intermediate appeals of courts in Florida and are five districts (Ballotpedia). The court was established in 1957, marking the first appellate court in the state of Florida. District court is heard by three-judge panels, with each district court having a judge selected by the body of judges (Ballotpedia). The Florida supreme court can listen to further appeals, but the state’s highest court is not always required to accept a case. They take cases of appeals from lower courts and hear administrative law appeals from the executive branch, perform governmental actions, and review decisions from county courts that have overruled the Florida constitution or state’s statues (Ballotpedia). Florida circuit courts are courts of general jurisdiction. Circuit courts in Florida are where felonies, family law, civil cases, juvenile cases, and appeals from the county courts are heard.
To qualify for circuit judge, you must be an elector of a county within the circuit and should be admitted to the practice of law in the state have five years of experience. Florida county court is a court with limited jurisdiction. They handle misdemeanors, traffic violations, and small claims.
In Virginia, you are required to have earned a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to qualify for certification as a court referred. You may also apply for a waiver of the requirement you want to work for by submitting a letter to dispute resolution services in which you describe your work History and life experiences. It should also attach a resume and two letters of recommendations that address the oral and written communication of skills (Supreme Court of Virginia). The general district court requires at least 20 hours of basic mediation training, a four-hour course on Virginia’s judicial system, two general mediation observations and three general co-mediations with a certified mentor. You must be qualified to mediate civil cases arising in the public district courts such as contracts, personal injury, employment disputes, landlord disputes, and small claims. In the circuit court, you must have at least 20 hours of basic mediation training, 20 hours of advanced civil training, and a four-hour course on Virginia’s judicial system, two circuit court mediation observations, and five mediations with a certified mentor (Supreme Court of Virginia). With the certification, you must be able to take civil cases such as medical malpractice, personal injury, contracts, and condemnation. In a district court, you are required 20 hours of basic, 20 hours of family, a four-hour course on the judicial system, an 8-hour course on screening for dealing with domestic abuse, two family mediation observations, and five family co-mediations with a certified mentor.
Once you are qualified, you must know how to sit on juvenile cases, domestic relations, and district courts on custody and visitation. Finally, circuit court requires 20 hours of primary, 20 hours of family, 12 hours of advanced family training, four hours on the judicial system, and 8 hours on screening and dealing with domestic abuse with a certified mentor (Supreme Court of Virginia). Once qualified they can take family cases such as equitable distribution. On the other hand, in Florida to become a judge you must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.
After attending a university, you must go to a law school, which you won’t be able to participate until you register and take the law school admission test (Leonard, 2017). You must also take a Florida bar two-day exam, which is given to law school graduates to make sure they are qualified to practice law in the state of Florida. Florida judges are either appointed or elected and must be at least 30 years old (Leonard, 2017). In Virginia, there are two ways to remove a judge from office. One way to remove a judge from office is through the Judicial inquiry and review commission, which investigates complaints of judicial misconduct or severe mental or physical disability that interferes with the judge’s duties.
They can conduct a hearing and gather evidence to determine whether the charges are substantial. If the allegations happen to be significant, a formal complaint will be registered with the supreme court (National Center for State Courts) The supreme court then may dismiss the complaint, or it may retire, criticize, or remove the judge from duty. Another way they can be removed is if the judge is impeached by the house of delegates and removed by two-thirds of the votes in the Senate (National Center for State Courts).In Florida, a judge can be removed from office in two ways. One way is a recommendation of the judicial qualification commission, where the supreme court may discipline, retire, or remove the judge. The other way is impeachment by two-thirds of the votes of the house or representatives and conviction by two-thirds votes of the Senate (National Center for State Courts). The selection process for these two states is quite different as I explained. However, I think that Florida’s selection process is the best system because they must reach certain qualifications to become a judge and a lawyer in the state.
They also must pass multiple tests to make sure they meet the qualifications to perform the job correctly. In Virginia, they can do so many hours with a mentor next to them to qualify, but are they qualified with only 20 hours of practice? I feel they need at least more than 400 hours of practice to convince me that they know the process and are qualified to do the job correctly.