Broward Politics: Lawyer Tries To Thwart Reelection Of A Judge….Again

 

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

 

 

Alan Schneider picked perhaps the toughest way to become a judge: Run against an incumbent.

Schneider is trying for the second time to derail a  Broward Circuit Court judge’s reelection. 

Incumbents like Judge Ernest Kollra Jr., his opponent this year, are hard to beat. That’s because they have a head start on fund raising from deep-pocket lawyers who know their work and will support them. Plus they have knowledge of the courthouse and being a judge beyond any outsider.

That didn’t scare Schneider off….Or he has a death wish.  

In 2010, Schneider ran against Circuit Judge Elijah Williams, one of the most popular judges in the courthouse. 

It was alleged that Schneider targeted Williams because the judge was African American and thus thought (erroneously) to be easier to beat. It was an allegation Schneider denied. 

If using race was the tactic, it didn’t work. Williams beat Schneider 55-45 percent. 

This year race isn’t part of the equation. Kollra is white.

 

Ernest Kollra Jr. 

 

Appointed in 2016, Kollra, 65, is known by Browardbeat’s courthouse sources as one of the most conscientious and fair judges on the criminal court bench.   

“I’m a product of appearing in front of good judges for years,” Kollra said. “The key to doing a good job is preparation.  A lot of it.”

Kollra says he tries to be in his office at 6 a.m. and not leave until after 5 p.m. 

He has an unusual and refreshing background for a Broward judge: An undergraduate degree in Classic Language.

One can learn everything about human nature from works like Cicero, Tacitus and Livy. 

President John Adams comment about Classics is still valid today, more than 200 later:

“You will learn wisdom and virtue. You will see them represented with all the charms which language and imagination can exhibit, and vice and folly painted in all their deformity and horror. You will ever remember that all the end of study is to make you a good man and a useful citizen.”

Such an education is good training for a judge. 

A graduate of Nova Southeastern Law School, Kollra says he was a commercial lawyer taking part in numerous trials and thousands of hearings before becoming a judge.

He says he has learned that “each case is different and each defendant is different. They have to be treated as individuals.”

Victims are often an afterthought in criminal court.  Not in Kollra’s courtroom. He believes victims deserve an explanation of what’s happening in court.

“I always make an effort explain to victims exactly what I am doing and why.  I take great pain to do that. They deserve it,” the judge says.

Kollra has a life outside of the courtroom, too.  He regularly acts in the Irish Theater of Florida.  

 

Why?

 

Schneider was asked why he is running against Kollra instead of for one of the open seats?  

“As for your questions directed specifically to my opponent, he has only been a judge for a very short amount of time.  The person filling the position I am running for is one that is supposed to be elected by the people.  My opponent was never elected by the people and is not entitled to remain at the job without at least one challenge.  I do not believe in talking negatively about my opponent, but I would not have decided to run against him if I did not feel like I can bring more to the table,” Schneider emailed Browardbeat.com.

Schneider says that during his 27 years as a lawyer he specialized in real estate and business transactions.

He runs a title company and states on his campaign website that “there are few judges in Broward County that have extensive real estate and title insurance experience. With the aftershocks of the real estate crash still impacting the courthouse with thousands of pending foreclosure and title insurance cases, Alan’s extensive business background will be a much needed and appreciated addition to the judiciary.”

 

Alan Schneider

 

Schneider, 53,  is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, where he studied economics. He has a University of Florida law degree. He is the lawyer for the non-profit South Florida Friends of Jazz and a supporter of Chabad Outreach Centers, a worldwide group of strictly religious Orthodox Jews. 

 “I have been a member of our community for almost 50 years and have close connections to and support from people from the full spectrum of our community.  Any person truly knows me will tell you that Alan Schneider will be a Judge you can trust that will treat you fairly, respectfully and impartially, and has the intellect to understand and properly apply the law,” he says.

“I think that my diverse credentials (both professional and life experiences) together with my passion to make the Court system better for the people of Broward County make me the better candidate.”

Obviously both candidates have a lot of experience.  Despite that they have a long time practicing in Broward, neither candidate is raking in campaign contributions, which are always a sign of support. 

Schneider has roughly $13,000 to date with just over $7,000 coming in donations from others. Kollra to date has roughly $53,000 in his campaign with $27,200 coming from others. In a countywide race, that amount of money doesn’t reach too many voters.

Around 100,000 voters cast ballots for judge in the 2014 off-year election primary. That’s a lot of voters to reach and make an impression.

So this one will be a name game. 

Kollra will be first on the ballot, always an advantage.  He is Irish, which has proven to be helpful in Broward. But the name Kollra doesn’t really sing, “Danny Boy,” does it?

Schneider has a Jewish-sounding name, which could help him among those voters….maybe.

This race can best be summed up by the old Tammany Hall saying: “You pays your money and you takes your choice.”

XXXXX

(Personal disclosure: When examining the donation reports in these races while writing this post, I was surprised to find that my lawyer son, Nathan Nevins, donated $200 to Kollra. I’ll remind him of that if he ever asks for money.) 

Kollra’s campaign forwarded the following, which is interesting because of former Fort Lauderdale Mayor Seiler’s role:

 

 

 

 



8 Responses to “Broward Politics: Lawyer Tries To Thwart Reelection Of A Judge….Again”

  1. Lady Law says:

    Judge Kollra is an honorable man. I never met Mr. Schneider. Maybe that is the point since I go to the courthouse at least once a week.

  2. Just One Vote says:

    Judge Kollra has my vote. Likely many others. Wish I had an extra $1k to show all and him I am a fan.

  3. Kollra made only one mistake says:

    He’s hired Michael Ahearn as his campaign consultant.

  4. Marlene J. Markey says:

    Judge Kollra has been in the law arena for many years with a tremendous amount of skills. In the 14 years I have known him, I have always noticed he treated “all” his clients with respect and fairly. Qualities that make a great Judge. I’m in!

  5. Hanukkah Harry says:

    Buddy,

    You forgot to mention how the Democratic Hollywood crew is behind Alan Schneider. Sue Gunzberger gave Alan Schneider a check for his campaign. Barbara Miller, I’m told, is running his campaign secretly. This was all done to save Dan Casey.

    FROM BUDDY:

    How does this save Dan Casey?

  6. FTL Voter says:

    Kollra is a good judge and a better choice than Schneider …. but a Seiler endorsement is pretty worthless. Even in Fort Lauderdale. His endorsed candidate for mayor (Bruce Roberts), who Seiler aggressively campaigned for as “his choice”, got slaughtered. Seiler has no juice to help anyone these days.

  7. J P "Jacqueoph" Seiler Kiss Of Death says:

    Anyone that the less than honorable John Jack “Jacqueoph” Seiler endorses is the kiss of death for that candidate. Jacqueoph’s attempt to stack the deck for future litigation in the 17th.
    My vote will go to Alan Schneider.

  8. tell the truth says:

    Anyone Seiler or Ahearn work for or endorse does not get my vote.
    I will skip the line if both are losers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*