FORT LAUDERDALE – Phyllis Pritcher has had “one job in 25 years” as a criminal attorney in her own practice, and she hopes the experience and good name she’s earned in that role will help in her efforts to defeat Broward County Judge Kal Le Var Evans in Florida’s Aug. 30 primary election.
Pritcher said the winner of the primary in the race between her and Evans will decide who gets the seat. Evans was appointed to the Broward County bench in 2014 by Gov. Rick Scott.
Pritcher said attorneys in Florida are eligible to become a judge after five years, but she dedicated her professional life thus far to helping her clients and is now looking to bring that dedication to the public service arena.
“(I want to) try to make a difference and bring 25 years of experience to the bench,” Pritcher told the Florida Record. “I’d like to think that I’d make a change.”
Pritcher said the “need to move the docket sometimes goes too far” in the current court system. In addition, she wants to bring the respect she earned and compassion she shows for litigants into the next phase of her legal career.
Pritcher said her client base was grateful that she was fair and listened to them, regardless of the outcome of the case. She also charged low fees and did all she could for the clients.
“Sometimes a little humanity goes a long way,” Pritcher said. “A judge handles both the routine and the unusual, so voters should consider a candidate like myself who has the experience and ability to handle a court docket with courtesy.”
Pritcher acknowledged that there is a need to find the right balance between caring about litigants and recognizing the serious nature of the crimes in question, especially from the judge’s bench, but she is proud of her reputation and the respect she’s earned from clients throughout the years, even when their cases were lost.
Pritcher said her experience as a courtroom attorney has “sharpened her skills throughout the years” and give her “invaluable insight.”
“I have never been disciplined by the Bar in 25 years,” Pritcher said. “That’s a badge of honor.”
In addition, Pritcher stressed the importance of getting voters in Broward County to the polls on election day. She said there are 1 million registered voters in the county, but only 8 percent of them will vote and many of those will submit absentee ballots.
“It’s important for people to vote,” Pritcher said.
Pritcher received an undergraduate degree as a dean’s list student from the University of Miami and obtained her law degree from St. Thomas (Florida) Law School.
She has been a certified civil court mediator since 2009. Among other professional accomplishments, she interned under federal Judge Tom Scott and has done pro bono work for underprivileged clients.
Pritcher is a self-professed animal lover and a humane society volunteer. She grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
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.
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 Evans.