Five lawyers are running in the nonpartisan race for Polk County judge, group 8. There is no incumbent; the previous group 8 judge, Susan Barber, was elected to the circuit court without opposition and will replace Judge Donald Jacobsen, who is retiring. County judges typically hear cases involving criminal misdemeanors, traffic cases and civil cases under $30,000 (That cap rises to $50,000 in Jan. 1). The term of office is six years.

John Flynn

  • Mulberry, age 48
  • Website
  • Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn
  • Campaign finance
  • Current occupation: Private practice focusing on criminal cases with experience in family and civil law; former prosecutor
  • Campaign slogan: I am a Believer in the Constitution
  • Endorsements: Sheriff Grady Judd, Kevin Balentine, Esq., Valerie Wright, Esq., Lopez & Humphries, PA, Fat Jack’s owner Mark Westfall

Ruth Moracen Knight

  • Lakeland, age 54
  • Website
  • Facebook
  • Campaign finance
  • Current occupation: Public Defender’s Office or 20 years.
  • Campaign slogan: The necessary experience, temperament and skills to be elected as county judge
  • Endorsements: Polk County Voters’ League, Polk County Democratic Black Caucus

Carmalita Lall

  • Lakeland, age 54
  • Website
  • Personal Facebook Page
  • Campaign finance
  • Current occupation: Private practice specializing in civil real estate litigation; former assistant public defender
  • Campaign slogan: I will serve with dedication, fairness, and integrity.

Adam David Patton

  • Lakeland, age 43
  • Website
  • Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube
  • Campaign finance
  • Current occupation: Solo legal practice specializing in criminal, family, collaborative and civil law; former prosecutor
  • Campaign slogan: Vote Patton for Judge
  • Endorsements: Dr. Larry Padgett, Flightline Cafe owner Kal Scarvers

Tara Wheat

  • Winter Haven, age 39
  • Website
  • Facebook | Instagram
  • Campaign finance
  • Current occupation: Public Defender’s Office for six years; previously, public school teacher
  • Campaign slogan: The Right Balance
  • Endorsements: Seven local attorneys, PalletOne President Howe Wallace, Polk State College Director of Student Life Melvin Thompson, Retired FDLE Supervisor David Waller

News links

  • Five lawyers contend for Polk County judicial vacancy – The Ledger , Aug. 8

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Barry Friedman

Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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