FORT LAUDERDALE – Broward County voters will be asked to decide several judges’ races at the Aug. 30 state primaries, including five elections pitting challengers against currently sitting judges in the county and 12 candidates hoping to capture one of four open seats.
Lea Krauss is one candidate seeking a seat for which there is no incumbent. Krauss is running in Group 9 for a seat on the 17th Circuit Court bench. She faces opposition from Andrea Ruth Gunderson and Maxine Streeter.
Krauss is a Miami Law School graduate who served as a prosecutor for three years with the Broward State Attorney’s office. After that, she worked in civil law firms before starting her own practice, where she has represented clients in criminal, family and civil law.
“Becoming a judge has been a longtime dream of mine, and my extensive legal experience, as well as my even temperament, makes me the most qualified candidate in the race,” Krauss told the Florida Record.
Krauss stressed the need to use available technology to increase efficiency in the court system and help to reduce the backlog of cases.
“Our court system is certainly adequate to judiciously handle matters,” Krauss said. “However, we should strive to be extraordinary rather than settle for the status quo. I believe by taking advantage of technologies like video-conferencing and electronic email many aspects of the daily courtroom administration can become more efficient and help to reduce the backlog. Streamlining access to my courtroom and my staff will expedite the entire judicial process.”
With so many candidates vying for open seats in this year’s Broward judges’ races, Krauss said she feels she has the skills and experience to stand out above the crowd.
“I joined this race because serving on the bench marries my two passions – the law and community service,” Krauss said. “I truly believe that my leadership skills, extensive experience in the courtroom and belief in treating all people fairly, uniquely qualify me to be a judge.”
In addition to running her own law firm in Fort Lauderdale, Krauss said she devotes much of her time to civic work and involvement in several organizations. Specifically, Krauss said she is involved with Mission United, Legal Aid, Shoes for the Soul, Stand Amongst Friends, Habitat for Humanity, the Humane Society, JAFCO (Jewish Adoption Foster Care Options), AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and Jewish Federation.
In addition, Krauss has served on a number of boards and committees, including as president of the Gay and Lesbian Lawyers Network (GLLN), director of the Pride Center at Equality Park, inaugural chairman of Women with Pride, board member of the B’Nai B’Rith Justice Unit and the steering committee for the Jewish Federation’s Women’s Executive Circle.
One of the open seats is that being vacated by Judge Martin Dishowitz, who is retiring after serving 21 years on the bench. Dishowitz declined a request to comment on his retirement and the highly competitive Broward County judgeship ballot.
Sitting county and circuit judges who face opposition in the 2016 election include Matthew Destry, Barbara McCarthy, Nina Weatherly Di Pietro, Stephen J. Zaccor and Kal Le Var Evans.