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Six names forwarded to Ron DeSantis to replace Karen Gievers

The Governor now has 60 days to make the appointment.

Two lawyers who lost recent judicial elections are among the six finalists to replace outgoing Circuit Judge Karen Gievers of Tallahassee.

Fred Dudley, a former lawmaker and Tallahassee attorney who chairs the 2nd Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, released the list on Monday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis now has 60 days to make the appointment.

The finalists are:

— Leon County Judge Stephen Everett.

Lisa Barclay Fountain, a lawyer with the Sniffen & Spellman firm. She lost a runoff to David Frank of Leon County in November for an elected circuit judgeship.

Jason L. Jones, General Counsel to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Anthony B. Miller, General Counsel to the Florida Agency for State Technology, which is slated to be dissolved this Legislative Session.

Amanda Wall, administrative magistrate for the 2nd Judicial Circuit.

Suzanne Van Wyk, an administrative law judge with the Division of Administrative Hearings in Tallahassee. She lost an election this summer for Leon County Judge to Monique Richardson.

Gievers faces mandatory age-related retirement this April. Her rulings often thwarted then-Gov. Rick Scott and the GOP-controlled Legislature.

The 2nd Judicial Circuit, headquartered in Tallahassee, covers Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla counties in north Florida. Circuit judges hear felonies, juvenile matters and civil claims over $15,000, among other things.

The open judgeship has added significance in the capital, home of state government and the Legislature: Circuit judges can grant special court orders, called writs, that force state officials to perform an action or prevent them from doing so.

Judges who are appointed to fill a vacancy must stand for election at the next regularly set election as nonpartisans. They serve six-year terms.

Notable among those who did not make the cut: Alan Abramowitz, executive director of the Statewide Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) Office, the state’s child-advocate program. This was his fourth application for a judgeship.

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