Former Judge Is A Political Player



He couldn’t endorse candidates when he was wearing a robe, but he can now.

Former County Judge Jay Spechler is backing Laura Marie Watson for the open Group 45 circuit court seat.

Spechler has become quite a political player since quitting the bench in April, 2008 — some say in a huff. He resigned after he was transferred to the South Regional Courthouse by then-Chief Judge Victor Tobin.

Spechler was part of the old power brokers at the courthouse who clashed with Tobin, a judge voted in as chief to institute change.

Since he left the bench, the hand of Spechler was seen in several judicial races. The latest: He is openly backing Watson.

Watson is a PIP lawyer – the attorneys who sue insurance companies to recover under the minimum insurance coverage drivers are required to carry.  PIP lawyers have been accused by some of running up with cost of insurance with their legal fees, which often exceed the amount the victims of accidents receive.

When he was on the bench, Spechler presided over numerous PIP cases.

Spechler is also a figure in South Broward society. His wife is Mindy Shrago, is the founder and director of  Young At Art children’s museum in Davie.

In addition to this political interest, the former judge is currently a mediator.


 Jay Spechler and wife, Mindy Shrago

Watson’s race is one of the more interesting on the ballot in August. She is running against former Judge Julio Gonzalez Jr. and  former judicial candidates Oliver Parker and Rhoda Sokoloff.

My first piece on the race is here.

Below is Spechler’s e-mail this week:


From: Jay Spechler

Date: Monday, June 11, 2012 2:48 PM


Subject: Laura Marie Watson-Circuit Court Judge-Group 45



Dear Friends and Family, 

I would like to introduce you Laura Marie Watson, candidate for Circuit Court Judge- Group 45. It is without hesitation that I can say that Laura is one of the hardest working women of high integrity that  I have ever known.

Laura’s primary is August 14, 2012 and she needs your help. This is a County wide election. There are four (4) candidates in her race and only the top two (2) vote getters will make it to the General Election in November. Not only is Laura a great person, she is by far the most qualified person to hold the position of Broward County Circuit Court Judge.

Please request an absentee ballot to ensure you do not miss an opportunity to vote for Laura in the Primary. Simply click here: Supervisor of Elections.

Laura’s biography is below for you to read.  Thank you for your help.


Jay Spechler                



Watson for Judge – Campaign Website



22 Responses to “Former Judge Is A Political Player”

  1. Courthouse Observer says:

    If Spechler is backing her, I’m not. Why doesn’t she talk about her new campaign manager Dan Lewis? Is she embarrassed.


    Nobody should be embarrassed by hiring Dan Lewis. He is a savvy campaign consultant and often has brilliant insights.

  2. donotgetit says:

    why do want ot be judges need campaign managers

    especially that one?

  3. Better in Broward says:

    Spechler is a great mediator.

  4. Courthouse Observer Too says:

    If Spechler is backing her, then I definitely will back her too.

  5. If relevant says:

    Julio is being backed by disgraced ex Judge Joyce Julian. What is the point of this?

    FROM BUDDY: Joyce Julian is supporting Julio Gonzalez. She did have a problem with alcoholism, but should be congratulated for rebuilding her life and becoming a successful attorney in private practice.

  6. Real Deal says:

    The only endorsements that matter are the ones given by voters on election day. That was always true. More so lately.

    FROM BUDDY: With the exception of very few endorsements — Jeb Bush is one I can think of on the Republican side — you are right.

  7. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    FROM BUDDY: She did have a problem with …

    Plus, didn’t she run around naked?

    Always worth extra credit points when I am keeping score…

  8. hollywood beach says:

    is spechler the judge who had a business on hollywood beach with another judge who got arrested in north miami in the mid 80’s and somehow the case was squashed.

  9. Question of Character says:

    I dont know Judge Spechler from Judge Judy but I know enough about Julio to not vote for him.

    Julio worked for Scott Rothstien. After RRA collapsed he worked for Marc Nurik who was/is representing Scott Rothstien.

    It has been reported at his deposition that Scott Rothstien stated he bribed judges.

    We all know from the stories from TD Bank and other banks in the ponzi scheme that Rothstien’s MO was to find insiders at the banks and create friendships that he could exploit to further his ponzi scheme.

    Why would Scotty R pay big bucks to Former Judge Julio Eduardo Gonzalez when he had little experience in the practice areas RRA specialized in. Is it possible he hired Julio to do what Scott was doing at the banks? Have a man on the inside. Even after he he was ousted, Julio still parked in the private Judges parking lot and still used the private Judges elevators. If it was all abut access and Julio had it.

    Add to the fact that Julio Eduardo Gonzalez was being sued for unpaid AMEX unpaid debt incurred while he was on the bench and being in foreclsure shortly after being ousted from the bench (things I am sure Scotty’s R private eyes would have been easily aware of), Julio may have been ripe for the picking to help out Scotty or just give access.

    Currently Julio makes 85k a year in private practice. He has moved his law office every year he has been off the bench. Has been in and out of foreclosure. Cleary exaggerated and filed questionable documents over the years about his finances, assets and debt as reported here previously.

    I am sorry Julio may be a nice guy but someone with the history of the above of financial problems could be easy pickings for the next Rothstien looking to bribe Judges.

    I am voting Parker, with his wealth, he cant be bought.

  10. Dear Judy says:

    Dear Judy

    Can you please stop having your obsession with Jay Spechler manifesting itself in my race? I have three opponents and Jay is not one of them. Lets concentrate on beating Ollie, Rhoda and Laura.


    P.S. I think it is better to keep me off the blogs as it seems to bring up my employment at RRA which we are working hard to down play.

  11. Plain Language says:

    Oliver Parker chose not to run against Tim Bailey because he thought beating Julio Gonzalez would be easier since he’s a Hispanic.

    Parker didn’t count on the face that Broward will never do that again to another qualified Hispanic. Julio Gonzalez was rated the best judge in the court house by the judges themselves during his short time on the bench. That is impressive by any standard and his character has never once been questioned in any official capacity. Never once.

    Parker should have run against Bailey. Nobody is going to forget why he switched.

  12. No horse in the race says:

    Julio Gonzalez was a very good judge who treated everyone fairly and had excellent judicial temprament.

    Oliver Parker ran in 2010 against a black judge (Ken Gillespie) because he was black. Parker got 30% of the vote Gillespie 70%

    Laura Watson has serious issues regarding her work and finances already brought up in this Blog. Former judge Jay Spechler resigned amid ethical problems. Spechler is widely despised at the courthouse. Spechler can’t help Watson.

    Rhoda Sokoloff has serious debt. She ran in 2010 against incumbent
    Eileen O’Connor and got spanked by the voters and like Ollie Parker (who looks like WC Fields and acts like a clown) lost 70% to 30%.


  13. Sorry says:

    Not quie…

    If Julio Eduardo Gonzalez was such a great Judge, why is he “FORMER” Judge?

    The voters of Broward County by a margin of 63-37 voted Julio out of office in 2008. The voters were aware of his background and still said no. He raised 100k, the support of electeds and condo leaders, the voters still said no.What has changed in 4 years? He has less money and he is associated with Scott Rothstien.

    Even better the voters said no to Julio as a County Court Judge and now he wants a bump to Circuit Court? I would imagine Rothstien Rosenfelt and Adler gave Julio expereicne in various areas of law, but thats not enough.

  14. No horse in the race says:

    @ Sorry

    You sound like one of Judge Gonzalez’s opponent. Judge Gonzalez lost in 2008 because there was a low voter turnout and the condos voted for the name Ellen Feld (on her 3rd go round)
    When he was on the bench, Judge Gonzalez was AN EXCELLENT JUDGE.
    Hopefully, the voters will be well informed in 2012.

  15. Sorry says:

    Oh of course, you just woke up this morning and decided that of all the candidates running you decided to write about Julio Eduardo Gonzalez. Like you I have have no dog in the fight but am expressing my opinion as are you.

    Using your logic about Julio Eduardo Gonzalez loss in 2008…

    Low Voter turnout… (every primary election has low voter turnout)2012 will have even lower voter turnout since its early, Aug 14.

    I feel confident I can interpret your logic about the condos to say your position is that the Jews in the Condos were uninformed and voted for a fellow Jew.

    Guess what? Using your logic, the Jewish Female in this race should do quite well (not naming her name so as to avoid being called a shill for her)

    So as I said previously, nothing has changed from 2008 to present. We are in 2012 no one cares about 2008. Julio like Sarah Pailn were something in 2008, not so much now.

    Do you think the people who hear about the ex Judge who was ousted in 2008 despite his accolades, hear him speak or read his bio wonder what he has he been doing for the last 4 years?

    Why does he hide the fact he worked for Rothstien or Nurik?

    Be careful about wanting the voters to be informed, as it has been reported here, Julio has had been in foreclosure and sued by AMEX for unpaid bills. He clearly overinflated the value of his house to avoid having to a negative net worth.

    Maybe the condos need to be informed that Julio is a Republican.

    Be careful what you wish for about the voters in this race being more informed about Julio.

  16. No horse in the race says:

    @ Sorry

    You must be Laura Watson or Rhoda Sokoloff. JUDICIAL RACES ARE NON-PARTISAN. Perhaps Judge Gonzalez’s campaign will file an election and ethical complaint and get your IP address.


    Judge Gonzalez was ranked in 2008 as the highest qualified judge.

    Watson has ethical and money issues
    not to mention she’s backed by Jay Spechler, an endorsement NOBODY should want.

    Sokoloff has huge money issues, not to mention her lack of courtroom experience.

    Oliver Parker is not a serious cnadidate.

  17. Sorry says:

    I hope Julio Eduardo Gonzalez Campaign sues for the ip address. File an ethics complaint, go for it.

    Facts are facts, nothing has changed from 2008 to now. There will be a low voter turnout. Julio will have less money to get the word out than 2008. There is no reason to think the condos wont vote for one of their own again.

    Unlike you I have never pushed for any candidate in the race, just expressed my opinion why I believe Julio is not going to win.

    Book it now, Julio comes in 4th.

    P.S. You may want to stop replying to me since you engage me to keep bringing up things Julio does not like to have out there, i.e. his work at Rothstien and his financial problems that have been reported here.

  18. Full House says:

    Actually an ethics complaint would be appropriate against Julio for creating a false, inflated appraisal on his residence. Also, a great idea would be to lose the largest baggage of his campaign and perineal loser Judy Stern.

  19. Don't vote for Laura Watson says:

  20. Focus says:

    Focus Judy, Focus

  21. Mike Pratt says:


  22. Todd Hutcheson says:

    If she gets 50% plus 1, there would be no need for a general election. Unlikely with 4 in race, but possible.