The sideshow continues in Collier County courts.
The manipulation of the court system so that attorneys pick and choose which judges hear their clients' cases goes on even after an east coast-based law firm with an apt name, The Ticket Clinic, politicized two non-partisan Collier County Court judge elections.
The Ticket Clinic tried and failed to back a member lawyer from West Palm Beach to replace County Judge Mike Carr. The Ticket Clinic can claim having a hand in the ouster of Judge Eugene Turner, though the winner, Jim McGarity of Naples, can claim some local roots and courthouse credentials as a lawyer and magistrate.
Attorneys for the firm take campaign activity to the next level by filing motions to have judges who the firm chose to target removed from the cases, claiming bias and the odds of pushback.
The filings continue, with Carr ending his election-cycle acquiesence and returning to handling Ticket Clinic clients' cases.
The community will see how, if at all, the openly partisan politics impact McGarity's caseload once he takes office.
We had thought the Florida Bar and Supreme Court monitored canons of conduct that precluded judge-shopping or raw politics in judicial races. But now those canons are cited by The Ticket Clinic in response to requests for an interview: The firm can advocate for candidates and file motions but it can't talk about all that.
Defendants are entitled to spirited defenses, and The Ticket Clinic's approach is one version of that. But everyone, in and out of court, is entitled to look to our judicial system for firm, fair administration of the law.
Nothing more, nothing less.
It is up to judges new and old to live up to that.
They, not east coast lawyers seeking a toehold in our community, are the ones who are accountable.
The community needs to keep that in mind as we move forward.