CRC - 2017 P 38 By Commissioner Stemberger stembergj-00036B-17 201738__ 1 A proposal to amend 2 Sections 10 and 11 of Article V of the State 3 Constitution to revise the date on which the term of 4 office begins for judicial offices subject to election 5 for retention in order to avoid the ambiguity and 6 litigation that may result by having the terms of 7 judicial officers and the Governor end and begin on 8 the same day. 9 10 Be It Proposed by the Constitution Revision Commission of 11 Florida: 12 13 Sections 10 and 11 of Article V of the State Constitution 14 are amended to read: 15 ARTICLE V 16 JUDICIARY 17 SECTION 10. Retention; election and terms.— 18 (a) Any justice or judge may qualify for retention by a 19 vote of the electors in the general election next preceding the 20 expiration of the justice’s or judge’s term in the manner 21 prescribed by law. If a justice or judge is ineligible or fails 22 to qualify for retention, a vacancy shall exist in that office 23 upon the expiration of the term being served by the justice or 24 judge. When a justice or judge so qualifies, the ballot shall 25 read substantially as follows: “Shall Justice (or Judge) 26 ...(name of justice or judge)... of the ...(name of the 27 court)... be retained in office?” If a majority of the qualified 28 electors voting within the territorial jurisdiction of the court 29 vote to retain, the justice or judge shall be retained for a 30 term of six years. The term of the justice or judge retained 31 shall commence on the
first Tuesday after thefirst Monday in 32 January following the general election. If a majority of the 33 qualified electors voting within the territorial jurisdiction of 34 the court vote to not retain, a vacancy shall exist in that 35 office upon the expiration of the term being served by the 36 justice or judge. 37 (b) 38 (1) The election of circuit judges shall be preserved 39 notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) unless a 40 majority of those voting in the jurisdiction of that circuit 41 approves a local option to select circuit judges by merit 42 selection and retention rather than by election. The election of 43 circuit judges shall be by a vote of the qualified electors 44 within the territorial jurisdiction of the court. 45 (2) The election of county court judges shall be preserved 46 notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) unless a 47 majority of those voting in the jurisdiction of that county 48 approves a local option to select county judges by merit 49 selection and retention rather than by election. The election of 50 county court judges shall be by a vote of the qualified electors 51 within the territorial jurisdiction of the court. 52 (3) 53 a. A vote to exercise a local option to select circuit 54 court judges and county court judges by merit selection and 55 retention rather than by election shall be held in each circuit 56 and county at the general election in the year 2000. If a vote 57 to exercise this local option fails in a vote of the electors, 58 such option shall not again be put to a vote of the electors of 59 that jurisdiction until the expiration of at least two years. 60 b. After the year 2000, a circuit may initiate the local 61 option for merit selection and retention or the election of 62 circuit judges, whichever is applicable, by filing with the 63 custodian of state records a petition signed by the number of 64 electors equal to at least ten percent of the votes cast in the 65 circuit in the last preceding election in which presidential 66 electors were chosen. 67 c. After the year 2000, a county may initiate the local 68 option for merit selection and retention or the election of 69 county court judges, whichever is applicable, by filing with the 70 supervisor of elections a petition signed by the number of 71 electors equal to at least ten percent of the votes cast in the 72 county in the last preceding election in which presidential 73 electors were chosen. The terms of circuit judges and judges of 74 county courts shall be for six years. 75 SECTION 11. Vacancies.— 76 (a) Whenever a vacancy occurs in a judicial office to which 77 election for retention applies, the governor shall fill the 78 vacancy by appointing for a term ending on the first Tuesday79 after thefirst Monday in January of the year following the next 80 general election occurring at least one year after the date of 81 appointment, one of not fewer than three persons nor more than 82 six persons nominated by the appropriate judicial nominating 83 commission. 84 (b) The governor shall fill each vacancy on a circuit court 85 or on a county court, wherein the judges are elected by a 86 majority vote of the electors, by appointing for a term ending 87 on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January of the 88 year following the next primary and general election occurring 89 at least one year after the date of appointment, one of not 90 fewer than three persons nor more than six persons nominated by 91 the appropriate judicial nominating commission. An election 92 shall be held to fill that judicial office for the term of the 93 office beginning at the end of the appointed term. 94 (c) The nominations shall be made within thirty days from 95 the occurrence of a vacancy unless the period is extended by the 96 governor for a time not to exceed thirty days. The governor 97 shall make the appointment within sixty days after the 98 nominations have been certified to the governor. 99 (d) There shall be a separate judicial nominating 100 commission as provided by general law for the supreme court, 101 each district court of appeal, and each judicial circuit for all 102 trial courts within the circuit. Uniform rules of procedure 103 shall be established by the judicial nominating commissions at 104 each level of the court system. Such rules, or any part thereof, 105 may be repealed by general law enacted by a majority vote of the 106 membership of each house of the legislature, or by the supreme 107 court, five justices concurring. Except for deliberations of the 108 judicial nominating commissions, the proceedings of the 109 commissions and their records shall be open to the public.