Good Ol’ Boys Taking Aim At Judge Candidate


Judicial candidate Olga Levine, a criminal defense attorney by profession, could end up in a new courtroom role defendant.

Supporters of Circuit Judge John Luzzo are mulling over whether to sue to remove Levine from the ballot.

Her offense? 

She used a different name on the ballot than the one on her Bar license or on her court pleadings.

A valid law suit? 

Although I’m far from a legal scholar, probably not.

A Plot By The Legal Good Ol’ Boys

This boils down to another attempt by the Good Ol’ Boys legal clique of insiders trying to save a judge who has been on the bench for three decades.

This aging group of mostly-downtown Fort Lauderdale barristers don’t like it that an assistant public defender dares to run for office without bowing and scraping and kissing their rings.

Here is their argument:

The challenger uses the name Olga M. Gonzalez-Levine on her license and when she signs documents for the court. 

On the ballot, she’s just plain Olga Levine. 

The Luzzo defenders say a candidate is required to run under the name by which he or she transacts private and official business.


But courts have been reluctant to deny the right of lawyers to run for judge. 

The state Constitution primary requirements for running are:

(1) The candidate must be a voter.

(2) The candidate must reside in the territorial jurisdiction of the
Court, i.e., Broward County.

(3) The candidate has to be a member of the Florida Bar for the preceding five years.

The Florida Constitution says nothing about what name a candidate must
use on a ballot.
Other rulings have said that a candidate can’t use a name which they have never used before.

Olga Levine is the woman’s married name.  I have no doubt that she has used it before and it is the common way to refer to her.

The lawyers who are attempting to save Luzzo forget 2000.

That’s when the Florida Supreme Court chastised him publicly for accepting free, basketball tickets from lawyers appearing in his court.

“When a judge’s impartiality is called into question, it reflects not only on the judge personally but on the entire judiciary. And it undermines the public trust and confidence in the judiciary,” said Chief Justice Major B. Harding at the time.

The Legal Cabel

I don’t care what the legal cabel who meets at Ruden McClosky says about saving the incumbent judges (i.e., prevent voters from having their say). 

John Luzzo does not deserves an automatic reelection.

I don’t know Levine.  Never met her.  Don’t know if she is a good lawyer.

I do know that Luzzo’s 28 years on the bench is a long, long time to be in one job. 

Voters deserve a chance to consider a change.

Leave Olga alone.

15 Responses to “Good Ol’ Boys Taking Aim At Judge Candidate”

  1. frank icanosty says:

    I don’t know Levine and have only met Luzzo socially, and briefly–but I am curious about one thing, Buddy. How long have you done your job? What period of time is too long for yours, or for any job to be done well and effectively, and who is qualified to make that judgement based solely on that criteria?

    This whole thing with the names on the ballots for judges is a ridiculous technicality to be sure, but the simple fact is that Broward County voters are more likely to vote for a wholly “Jewish-sounding” judge than they are a “Latino-sounding” judge by name alone, and seeing as the general public has no real impression of any of the judicial candidates [and usually just blow through that section of the ballot], the listed names can be significant. You know that is why the “Gonzalez” disappeared just as you know why these disqualifications can be strategically important.

    Has Judge Luzzo been on the bench “too long”? Maybe, though the vast majority of the voters have no idea how long he has been there, I assure you–a fact that may point to him keeping his head down and doing a decent job over the years as opposed to someone like Larry Seidlin or Ana Gardiner. I honestly don’t know, being neither a criminal nor a lawyer [should any separation between the two actually exist]. Does Olga Gonzalez-Levine deserve to be viewed with some suspicion regarding an obviously calculated move to remove a Latino surname. Maybe, once again.
    In my opinion laws, rules, and regulations are important and need to be followed [unless you are the president or an illegal alien of course], especially by those expected to daily mete out justice from the bench.


    You are totally right about Levine altering her ballot name to make her candidacy more viable.

    Ashamed of being a Hispanic, Olga? Or did you look at the results of the last election and see that three judges with Spanish-sounding names were beaten?

    “People know me as Olga Levine,” she told Mike Mayo at the Sun-Sentinel. “I’ve been married 20 years, and I introduce myself as Olga Levine…I’m proud of my Hispanic heritage, but it’s simpler this way.”

    I did my job for 30-plus years and retired. I took a buy out from the Sun-Sentinel and I was very lucky to do so. I left before Sam Zell ran the company into bankrupcy.

    I didn’t do the same job the entire time I was at the Sun-Sentinel. It all involved writing, but writing about different things for part of the time. I was an editor for over 8 years. I covered crime, various cities and transportation. I was on the paper’s investigative team for several years. I lived in Tallahassee and covered three Legislative sessions, plus numerous special sessions.

    As far as, this is not a job. You get paid for a job. This is a hobby.

  2. Name Game says:

    My understanding of the law established by Mardi Levy Cohen Jingleheimerschmidt is that a woman (you see, men can’t get away with this) may use her maiden name on the ballot, BUT I believe that she still have to use her legal name. In other words, she can include her maiden name, but may not exclude her legal name.
    One has to wonder if Gonzalez was her married name, would she feel as my loyalty to her husband for this election. But, thats another matter.
    Its all a name game. Who can come across as more Jewish than the opponent.
    Think about it. People want to be judges presiding over life and death matter, but they are willing to mislead and pander to certain ethnic groups.
    I don’t see the “old boy” thing, but I do see people trying to become judges by hook or by crook…

  3. Pat says:

    Buddy, does this mean Scherer’s lawsuit against Jordan Breslow is without merit?

    It seems like different facts in this case.
    Jordan Breslow legally changed his name to Jordan J. Jordan in 1991.

  4. native says:


    Great idea let’s elect a new judge that is lying to the public by changing her name so she can get into office.

    And if I had to appear in front of a judge I would rather appear in front of someone with 28 yrs experience on the bench. Here is a good analogy for you and your readers. If you were having open heart surgery would you rather use a doctor who has performed the surgery a 1000 times or would you go with the rookie? I am going with experience!


    It really is not a good analogy. Heart surgery is nothing like a civil courtroom.

    Heart surgeons must make life or death decisions instantly.

    Luzzo presides over a civil courtroom, where proceedings drag on and the lawyers file motions to guide the judge.

    If Luzzo makes a mistake, there is an appeals court. If a heart surgeon makes a mistake, there is an undertaker.

    Experience is only one criteria to use in any job. There are judges who were mediocre when they started and are mediocre after 25 years experience.

    Again, I’ve met Luzzo only a few times and never met Levine. I’m making no endorsement or judgement who should win the race.

    I believe Luzzo should play by the rules and run for re-election. His supporters shouldn’t try to shortcut the process with the lawsuit.

    If he wins, fine. If she wins, fine.

    I do know Levine is no newbie, having been a lawyer more than 20 years.

  5. Another Angle says:

    Is it really about the name? Luzzo would clearly advocate it. Obviously he would prefer Olga to use her maiden name. It helps him. Isn’t it really Luzzo who is playing the name game? Ofcourse he recognizes the outcome of 2008. The problem for him is that everyone knows her as Olga Levine. She even intoduces herself that way in court. If we apply the unfounded legal argument advanced by Luzzo one can actually argue his use of the name “Jack” is in violation of the law. The Law is clear. His twisting of it and use will not serve him any purpose but expose his past to the public at large.

    I never wrote that Luzzo was involved in this proposed law suit. It is his supporters in the courthouse.

  6. Law man says says:

    Luzzo is rumored to be bought and sold by the big law firms. Everybody at the courthouse hears that rumor. It is no wonder that the group you wrote about is trying to k eep him in his job.

  7. smells like says:

    Judy Stern was the only consultant they had at the meeting. They are gearing up the same campaign on behalf of Judge Rodriquez. They want the voters to know their opponents aren’t real Jews but hispanics married to jews. I am sure Judy thinks that even if the lawsuit fails there will be a lot of negative press about Olga and Frieda in the mainstream press that the voters will see them as hispanic and not jewish

  8. Broward Lawyer says:

    Sounds like Stern is all over the place. She’s got Carlos Rodriguez, Oliver Parker and Jack Luzzo and his Irish mafia. Sounds like three losers to me. Judy, Judy, Judy.

  9. who says:

    Is it true that John Thomas Luzzo is using the name John T.(Jack) Luzzo?
    How would that be any different?

    How about County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman?
    Her Bar license is in the name of Ilene L. Michelson, her married name. She uses that name in business, to the point of insisting the Michelson name be used when she is acting as a lawyer.
    But does anybody doubt that when she runs again, she will be on the ballot as “Ilene Lieberman”?

  10. names says:

    Will the media also reflect on Jahra McLawrence’s last minute name change to F..J. MCLawrence?

  11. No Names a/k/a Mardi says:

    Thanks for your commentary Mardi. Maybe the media will focus on how it was you that started the name shenanigans by changing your name after each of your losses.

    Don’t focus on McLawrence without looking in the mirror first.

  12. Smells like confused says:

    Smells like – your confused. Judy needs to convince the Jews it’s ok to vote for a Hispanic. Pointing out the girls are Hispanic through negative attacks will only hurt her candidate. Not to mention her efforts to protect her candidate will only help the girls. Further for candidate Luzzo his own past will be exposed. Further didn’t Luzzo hire Barbara Miller? Last, if you buy the lawsuit concept, well how many others will be exposed? In any event it will all
    come down to the voters…who probably don’t care about lawsuits

  13. harriet anderson says:

    after reading this mess, i would definitely vote for Mrs. Levine even if i were not going to in the first place. Exactly what are the “good ol boys” afraid of. OMG, she is a woman!!!!More intelligent, more compassionate, well educated and with ample experience. Honest and fair with no political ties. This is what we need.

  14. n.r. Dogluvr says:

    When I first saw this blog, the “good ole boys” line made me rise up against nepotism. Just a little phrase that incites anger… So that line worked just as you had intended it to, but only for a moment. Yesterday I drove myself to the poles to vote for Judge Luzzo, all of the other spaces i left blank. He was the first judge in Broward to sentence an animal abuser to jail time. He’s great at his job, which is WHY he’s been around so long. But if you keep writing drivel like this… you won’t be.

    FROM BUDDY: I’ve already been around politics longer than Luzzo.