20 apply for upcoming Collier Circuit judge vacancy

Twenty lawyers — including prosecutors, public defenders, and a Collier Circuit Court counsel laid off during state budget cuts — have asked to be considered for the seat that will be vacated when Collier Circuit Judge Lawrence Martin retires.

Martin, 66, was appointed to the bench by the late Gov. Lawton Chiles in 1998 to serve as county court judge and was then appointed by then-Gov. Jeb Bush to the circuit bench in May 2003. He presides over family court, divorce, guardianship and probate cases and will retire at the end of the year.

Last year, his daughter, Janeice, a prominent defense attorney and the president of the Collier County Bar Association, became a Collier County judge after running unopposed.

The nine-member 20th Judicial Nominating Commission is seeking comments from the public, lawyers and judges about the 20 applicants’ qualifications.

Comments can be sent to Sharon M. Hanlon, Chair, JNC, Zelman & Hanlon, 5633 Naples Blvd., Naples, FL 34109, or to the other commission members. They must be received by Nov. 13 to considered by the commission. Applicants’ interviews will begin at 9 a.m. Nov. 16 and 17 at Cohen & Grigsby, PC, 27200 Riverview Center Blvd., Suite 3009, Bonita Springs, FL 34134.

The applicants are: John W. Carter , former counsel for the Collier Circuit Clerk; Raymond L. Bass, Jr. , a civil attorney and former police officer; W. Gus Belcher II , a Fort Myers divorce attorney; John L. Burns, an assistant state attorney in Charlotte County; Harley David Nunes Brook, a Fort Myers attorney who specializes in family law, criminal and traffic cases; Toni A. Butler, a Naples divorce attorney; Francine Donnorummo, an assistant state attorney in Lee County; Richard Fetterer, a former assistant state attorney in Collier who works as an investigator for the State Attorney’s Office; Thomas W. Franchino, a Naples attorney who specializes in real estate, construction, judgment and creditor litigation; Ray (Ramesh) Gudur, an assistant public defender in Collier; Josephine Gagliardi , a Lee County judge; Amy R. Hawthorne; James McGarity III , a Collier County magistrate; Richard Montecalvo, an assistant state attorney who heads the Naples office; Lisa Spader Porter, a Charlotte County magistrate; Cynthia Ross, an assistant state attorney in Lee County; Howard Andrew Swett, a Lee County civil attorney; Lee Ann Schreiber, a Lee County magistrate; Hal Frank Wotitzky, a mediator in Punta Gorda; and John G. Vega, a Naples civil attorney and in-house counsel.

Comments about their qualifications also can be mailed to these commission members:

Lisa Barnett Van Dien, Cheffy Passidomo, 821 Fifth Ave. S., Ste. 201, Naples, FL 34102;

Jason Korn, Cohen & Grigsby, 27200 Riverview Center Blvd., Ste. 309, Bonita Springs, FL 34134; Susan Reynolds, 9020 Mockingbird Drive, Sanibel, FL 33957; Randy McGruther, State Attorney’s Office, 6th Floor, 2200 Main St., Justice Center Annex, Ft. Myers, FL or P.O. Box 399, Fort Myers, FL 33902-0399; Christopher Vernon, Vernon Healy, 3080 Tamiami Trail East, Naples, FL 34112; Jack Hackett II, Farr, Farr, Emerich, Hackett, 99 Nesbit St., Punta Gorda, FL 33950; John Hooley, Garber Hooley Holloway, 700 11th St. S., Ste. 202, Naples, FL 34102-6777; or Douglas Rankin, Moorings Professional Bldg., 2335 Tamiami Trail N., Ste. 308, Naples, FL 34103-4458.

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