Jacksonville Man Asks Tallahassee Appeals Court To Let Him Fill Vacant Judicial Seat

Sep 12, 2014

A three-judge panel of the First District Court of Appeal heard the judicial vacancy case Friday, Sept. 12.
Credit Alex Fahnlander / WFSU News

Tallahassee's First District Court of Appeal court heard arguments Friday about whether a seat on the Fourth Judicial Circuit in Northeast Florida should be filled by voters or appointed by Gov. Rick Scott. Jacksonville attorney David Trotti brought the case against the state.

Trotti filed and qualified to run for the seat left vacant by retiring Chief Judge Donald Maron. Trotti says Maron announced a change to his original intended resignation date, leaving a brief vacancy.

“Judge Moran resigned effective the last day of his term,” Trotti says. “That was his first letter, and then he amended that letter five days later to say 'effective January 2nd,' which would be three calendar days and one business day.”

Trotti continues, “We were denied our petition for writ of mandamus based on there being one day of vacancy.” Trotti is appealing a lower court's ruling barring him from running to fill the vacancy. 

Under Florida law, the governor has the right to fill “unreasonable” vacancies. But Trotti argues the 24-hour vacancy isn’t unreasonable and an election should still be held.