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Florida's 1st District Court of Appeal

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Over 2 dozen apply for two seats on Tallahassee-based state appeals court

The list includes current and former state government lawyers.

Twenty-six people, including current and former state government lawyers, have applied for two vacancies on the state’s 1st District Court of Appeal (DCA) in Tallahassee.

Richard Doran, who chairs the 1st DCA’s Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC), released the list after the 6 p.m. Friday application deadline.

The list includes George Levesque, formerly the state Senate’s general counsel and now with GrayRobinson, and Adam Tanenbaum, the current general counsel for the state House. 

Others are Trisha Meggs Pate, a longtime assistant attorney general and daughter of Florida Ethics Commission member and retired State Attorney Willie Meggs of Tallahassee.

Also, Rachel Nordby, a deputy solicitor general for Attorney General Pam Bondi and now a partner in the Shutts & Bowen law firm’s Tallahassee office. She is married to Daniel Nordby, another Shutts partner who was general counsel to Gov. Rick Scott

The 1st DCA is considered a high-profile assignment because the court hears appeals from civil cases challenging actions taken by the Governor and state government. In all, the 1st District hears appeals from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 8th and 14th Judicial Circuits in north Florida, encompassing 32 counties.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, will get to make the appointments, continuing the conservative remaking of the state’s courts begun in earnest by Scott.

Most notably, DeSantis already has added three new conservative justices to the state’s seven-member Supreme Court. They  with  that replaced longtime and liberal-leaning justices who retired in January — the same day he took office.

The 1st DCA vacancies were caused by the ascension of former judges T. Kent Wetherell II and Allen Winsor to the federal bench in north Florida. They were nominated by President Donald Trump.

The JNC will review the applications, likely select some applicants to interview, then submit three to six names to the Governor, who has to make a final selection from that list.

All 26 applicants, in alphabetical order, are as follows (with some descriptions from web and Florida Bar searches):

Victoria Avalon, an assistant state attorney for the 10th Judicial Circuit in Bartow. 

Laura Boeckman, an assistant attorney general based in Jacksonville, listed as the office’s North Florida Consumer Protection Bureau Chief.

Kevin Carson, a sole practitioner in Columbia County. 

— Circuit Judge James “Scott” Duncan of the 1st Circuit Court, Santa Rosa County. 

Craig Feiser, the interim director of the Public Accountability Office for the city of Jacksonville. 

Gilbert Feltel Jr., assistant general counsel for the city of Jacksonville.

Escambia County Judge Jennifer Frydrychowicz

Bryan Gowdy, a board-certified appellate lawyer with the firm of Creed & Gowdy in Jacksonville. 

— Circuit Judge Donna Keim of the 8th Judicial Circuit, Gainesville. 

George Levesque, a GrayRobinson shareholder in Tallahassee and a former general counsel for the Florida Senate and House, and special counsel to the House during gaming compact negotiations with the Seminole Tribe

Circuit Judge Robert Long of Tallahassee. 

Andrew Manko, an administrative law judge for the Division of Administrative Hearings, Tallahassee. 

Ana Cristina Martinez, general counsel for the Justice Administrative Commission in Tallahassee.

Autumn Miller, an attorney in private practice in Panama City.

Rachel Nordby, a partner in the Shutts & Bowen law firm and former deputy solicitor general.

Trisha Meggs Pate, an assistant attorney general and Tallahassee bureau chief for criminal appeals.

Gary Perko, a Hopping Green & Sams attorney in Tallahassee, specializing in “environmental law, utilities regulation and public contracting.”

Jennifer Richardson, an associate in the Jacksonville office of the Jackson Lewis law firm.

Circuit Judge Eric Roberson of the 4th Judicial Circuit, Jacksonville. 

Colin Roopnarine, a partner in the Berger Singerman firm’s Government and Regulatory Team in Tallahassee and former general counsel for the Office of Financial Regulation.

Fred Rudzik, chief assistant general counsel for the Department of Revenue in Tallahassee.

Cristine Russell, a board-certified appellate lawyer and shareholder in the Rogers Tower law firm in Jacksonville.

Adam Tanenbaum, general counsel for the Florida House of Representatives. 

Alachua County Judge Kristine Van Vorst

Griffith Winthrop III, a founder of the Alvarez, Winthrop, Thompson & Storey law firm in Orlando. 

— Assistant State Attorney George Wright of the 8th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office in Gainesville. 

Written By

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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