It’s not unusual to see a prosecutor advance to the bench, but in the 7th Circuit race for State Attorney, former Volusia County judge Stasia Warren has stepped down from her position to challenge St Augustine prosecutor R. J. Larizza.
Both Judge Warren and State Attorney Larizza are very public figures and have been around long enough that we felt there was sufficient record to reach a conclusion on a recommendation for this seat — and that recommendation goes to R. J. Larizza.
R.J. inherited a mess from former prosecutor John Tanner and there is not much dispute over that observation. Comparing the operation, morale, efficiency, accessibility and judgment shown in prosecutorial conduct since Larizza took office four years ago, it is easy to measure the progress.
Larizza’s counterpart, Public Defender James S. Purdy, was re-elected without opposition. We are glad to see that because Jim has earned four more years in office, in our opinion.
Warren’s experience has been as a civil judge — not a criminal court judge. She has done a good job in that capacity; her late husband, Dan, was a well-recognized and respected civil rights attorney and their son is an attorney. Frankly, our assessment is that Stasia Warren is better suited to serve as a public defender than as a prosecutor.
That is not said as a “bad” thing. Jim Purdy, who is also a Volusia County resident, will have 12 years in office when his term is up — perhaps she will look into that seat if Jim decides to retire.
No decision was necessary in the public defender race and in the state attorney race, we had little trouble reaching a decision that St Johns County is better served by our St Augustine prosecutor; so we are recommending R.J. Larizza for four more years.
State Attorney (St. Johns County)
Larizza, R.J. (REP) *Incumbent
Warren, Stasia (REP)
Public Defender (St. Johns County)
Purdy, James S. (REP) *Incumbent