Last Call for 9.21.22 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics


Last Call – A prime time read on what’s going on in Florida politics.

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Attorney General Ashley Moody continues its assault on fentanyl in north Florida this week.

The Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution and the Clay County Sheriff’s Office shut down a fentanyl trafficking operation and seized 8.35 kilograms of the drug. The sheriff’s office arrested two suspects who ordered the drugs and distributed large quantities of fentanyl to other dealers in Clay and Duval counties.

Authorities also seized 1.36 kilograms of cocaine, 2.38 kilograms of methamphetamine and various paraphernalia.

“Fentanyl is killing Americans at a record rate, and these drug traffickers have assembled enough of this deadly synthetic opioid to kill everyone within 18 counties of their criminal operation,” Moody said in a statement. “Thankfully, in cooperation with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, we were able to take these deadly drugs off the streets before they could kill Floridians.”

In July, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office, the United States Postal Service and the Florida Highway Patrol began investigations into a drug trafficking organization that used USPS to order fentanyl from California.

Arrested by the sheriff’s office Alvin “AJ” Mercado on fentanyl trading fees and Jason Setzer on drug trafficking, drug possession and firearms allegations. Mercado faces up to 60 years in prison, Setzer up to 140 years.

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“If you deal drugs in Clay County or are involved in any way with drug trafficking, we’ll come to you,” the Clay County Sheriff said Michelle Cook said. “I promise you that every member of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office will work hard every day to keep drugs off the streets of Clay County.”

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Five state judges and 28 appeals court judges are up for election this November, and a recent poll shows Florida attorneys want them to keep their jobs.

Every two years, Florida holds merit retention elections, in which voters can decide whether a portion of the state justice officials retain their posts. According to a Florida Bar Association poll of its members, no judge or judge scored less than 59% support.

About the Supreme Court, Justice Karl Canaday scored 73%, justice John Couriel scored 63%, justice Jamie Grosshans scored 59%, justice Jorg Labarga scored 85% and justice Ricky Polson scored 74%. District Court of Appeals judges got 86% and only 63%.

The poll results come from a ballot mailed to all Florida practicing and resident attorneys in good standing with the Bar Association. Of the 78,405 ballots submitted, 3,626 took part in the voluntary survey. Only the replies of lawyers who stated that they had considerable or limited knowledge of the judges were included in the results.

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Florida law requires Florida Supreme Court Justices and Circuit Court Justices to stand for election during the first general election after their appointment and then every six years in bipartisan elections. This year there are five 1st DCA judges, eight 2nd DCA judges, two 3rd DCA judges, seven 4th DCA judges and six 5th DCA judges on the ballot.

That poll results and court biographies are available on the Florida Bar website.

evening reads

—”Donald Trump is charged with massive fraud by the New York Attorney General” via Michael R. Sisak and Larry Neumeister of The Associated Press

—”The rule proposed by the Ron DeSantis administration will delay access to care for poor, autistic children, providers say‘ via Christine Sexton of Florida Politics

—”Marco Rubio is pulling two TV commercials, according to reports from Florida Politics‘ via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

—”Joe Biden calls for more UN support for Ukraine, slams Vladimir Putin over new threats‘ via ABC News’ Shannon K. Crawford, Sarah Kolinovsky, Molly Nagle and Alexandra Hutzler

—”Florida isn’t gaining many new voters after the Roe ruling, but the abortion issue remains‘ via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel

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—”Citizens Board officials cite lawsuits as ‘root problem’ of insurance crisis‘ via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics

—”Florida appeals 11th Circuit social media ruling at SCOTUS“ about Rebecca Kern from POLITICO

—”Poll shows Laurel Lee with a healthy lead in CD 15‘ via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

—”Biden is coming to Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday. Focus is healthcare costs, Medicare, Social Security.‘ via Anthony Mann of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

—”Miami-Dade commissioners vote to double their pay, but the ‘ambassador’ plan dies in the budget‘ via Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald

—”Florida’s “true” tourist attraction is rocket launches‘ via Christopher Spata of the Tampa Bay Times

—”Coors Beer covers I-75 in Hernando County after a tractor-trailer accident‘ via Michaela Mulligan of the Tampa Bay Times

quote of the Day

“This war is about wiping out Ukraine’s right to exist as a state, pure and simple, and Ukraine’s right to exist as a people. Whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever you believe in should make your blood run cold.”

— President Joe Biden Speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

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