Controversial Judge John Doyle resigns his seat

The Seventh Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission announced to Historic City News today that there is one vacancy in the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court resulting from the pending retirement of Circuit Court Judge John Doyle.

The Seventh Circuit includes all of St. Johns, Flagler, Putnam and Volusia counties.

60 year-old Doyle has been the subject of much criticism and at times seems to be a lightning rod for controversy over what some courtroom observers call “cavalier” — and worse.

Last September, Doyle removed himself from a foreclosure proceeding after complaints were made about comments Doyle made about the attorneys in that case.

At a hearing, Doyle told attorney Farzad Milani, who was representing a bank, “that he would not do his work while (Milani) sits in his office in Fort Lauderdale smoking his Cohiba cigars and drinking his lattes.”

Three months later, Doyle was removed from the rotation of a dozen judges who preside over Baker Act and Marchman Act hearings — after he was accused of calling people seeking treatment “drunks” and “drug addicts.”

In a letter to the governor dated January 7th, Doyle said that he will retire on March 31st. Doyle wrote only, “It has been an honor and pleasure to have served for many years and I express my gratitude to the people of Florida for the exciting and challenging career.”

Doyle has been a judge since 1990 and was re-elected, without opposition, in 2008 for another six year term. Judge Doyle’s Judicial Assistant, Jeanne Cassarly, was not available to comment when we called concerning Doyle’s decision to retire before the expiration of his term.

Applicants interested in filling the vacancy left by Judge Doyle must have been a member of The Florida Bar for the preceding five years, a registered voter and must be a resident of the territorial jurisdiction of the court at the time he or she assumes office. The deadline for submission of the application to the Seventh Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission is Monday, February 8, 2010 at 4:00 p.m. Interviews are tentatively scheduled to be conducted Tuesday, March 9 and Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at a location to be determined.

Members of the Seventh Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission are Danny Berenberg, George Burden, Paul Clare, Frank Gummey, III (vice chair), Mary Jolley, Michael Lambert, Allison Morris, Dawn Nichols and William J. Voges (chair).

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