Here We Go Again: Two Hispanic Judges File For Re-Election


buddy nevins

Have Broward County voters matured enough to elect a Hispanic judge? 

We’ll find out next year now that two incumbent Hispanic judges have opened re-election campaigns.

Broward Circuit Judges Carlos Rebollo and Carlos Rodriguez filed re-election papers in Tallahassee within the last week.

Both were appointed to the bench by Gov. Charlie Crist.  They will be facing voters for the first time in 2010.

That may be the problem.

When three appointed Hispanic judges  — Catalina Avalos, Pedro Dijols and Julio Gonzalez  — ran last year for the first time, they lost. 

Sad, but true: The loss was widely attributed to them having Hispanic names.

Having Hispanic names hasn’t deterred Rebollo and Rodriguez from running.

Rebollo’s treasure is Michell Bruckner, a Lauderhill CPA.

The judge is a graduate of Rutgers University and Drake University Law School. He was an assistant state attorney in Broward County from 1988-2007 and then ran his own firm.  He was appointed in Nov., 2007.

Rodriguez was appointed in January.   He went to Furman University in South Carolina and graduated the University of Florida College of Law in 1980. Before becoming a judge, Rodriguez was in private practice and was an assistant public defender in the 1980s.

Rodriguez’s treasure is Bill Laystrom, a Fort Lauderdale lawyer best known as a major Broward lobbyist.

From everything I heard, Rebollo and Rodriguez deserve to be easily re-elected.  They would be, unless biased voters reject them because of their Hispanic names.

Rebollo and Rodriguez are two of three remaining Broward judges with an identifiably Hispanic name.  The third is Judge Robert Diaz.

Judge Ana Gardiner is Hispanic, but her name isn’t.

Judge Mily Rodriguez-Powell could run as Mily R. Powell.  That’s similar to what Judge Marina Garcia Wood did when she ran as Marina G. Wood.

I wish that we reached the point where a Hispanic name is not a detriment for a candidate. 

But I wouldn’t count on it.

15 Responses to “Here We Go Again: Two Hispanic Judges File For Re-Election”

  1. Nat Trayger says:

    I thought that Robert Diaz ran successfully back in the 90s after he had been appointed.

    FROM BUDDY: You have a good memory. Diaz ran shortly after being appointed to the bench in 1992 against David Javits.
    The difference between 1992 and today was significant. It was an era when nobody challenged a Broward judge. The entire power structure was behind Diaz, including both political parties.
    Javits had virtually no meaningful support.
    Diaz also worked his ass off. Diaz would campaign in a phone booth, if it would get him a vote.
    Diaz won two-to-one.
    In some ways, voters were more mature than they are now. After all, they voted for a Hispanic sheriff (Navarro) all through the 1980s. Navarro was defeated in 1992’s Republican primary, but that had more to do about the bad publicity he generated than his Hispanic heritage.

  2. Merit Appointment says:

    The only logical and truly ethical way to fill judicial vacancies is with merit appointment.

  3. My Vote says:

    Both Judge Rebollo and Judge Rodriguez are of the highest caliber of judiciary that we have here in Broward county. It is my privilage as a voter to elect them in 2010 based on their experience and ethical values.

  4. Dead Meat says:

    Yes, we have one hack who was an ASA and failed private practice attorney appointed by Charlie Crist in an attempt for diversity over quality.

    And we have another hack who gets appointed based on his political connections and not his judicial demeanor and knowledge.

    Granted, they’d both probably win in 2010 if their last name was Goldstein regardless of their qualifications, but they are lame ducks for 2010 not just because of the Carlos-syndrome in Broward, but also because they are republican appointees in a County that is 2/1 democrat (by the way, all 3 hispanic judges who last last time were Jeb Bush appointees — maybe that had something to do with it too?).

    2 Jewish females take these guys out in 2010. And one of those females is likely Mardi Levey Jewy-Jewstein Goldstein Cohen.

    FROM BUDDY: “Granted, they’d both probably win in 2010 if their last name was Goldstein regardless of their qualifications”….Exactly. That’s my point.
    Also, I don’t think it matters they were appointed by Crist. He remains very popular here even among Democrats.
    Judge Cyndy Imperato was appointed by Bush in 2003 and never has been seriously challenged. I think it is because she has an Italian name. (Don’t get me wrong. I think Imperato is very qualified! But I think she might have been challenged if she had a Hispanic name.)

  5. Lina says:

    Dear deadmeat,

    You seem to know so much about Broward judicial politics. Are you you a Broward judge? Or are you someone who was passed over by Governor Charlie Crist?

  6. Mardi says:

    To the blogger at 12:52 pm …This is Mardi Anne Levey Cohen and I would like to make it very clear that I am running in an open seat for county court judge, group 1. The seat was occupied by Judge Lazarus but he has confirmed that he is retiring. I went into the race early in January and I have no intention of moving out of that race and into any other one. Judge Rebollo and Judge Carlos Rodriquez are both distinguished jurists who are assets to the Broward judiciary. It is unfortunate that rumors such as these (about me moving seats) are being maliciously spread throughout the courthouse.

    My hope is that the voters of Broward County do their homework and learn as much as they can about all the candidates through newspapers, community events, printed materials and websites, and then make informed decisions about who they believe to be the most qualified candidates to serve as their elected officials.

  7. Get the shovel says:

    Dead Meat:
    I notice as I’m sure others do that you post on here from time to time. You tend to say that so-and-so judge is a push-over or is dead meat, because you know more about this or that than the rest of us.
    Actually, I find you entertaining because you appear to be a huge gasbag who enjoys giving your biased opinions about all things judicial.
    You referred above to Rebollo and Rodriguez as “hacks”. So, I looked ups “hacks” to see if your descriptions was accurate or merely pejorative.
    Here is “hack” from
    a professional who renounces or surrenders individual independence, integrity, belief, etc., in return for money or other reward in the performance of a task normally thought of as involving a strong personal commitment.
    There is NO ONE in the courthouse who would say that either judge has renounced or surrendered their independence or integrity in any manner when they became judges.
    However, I’ll bet that if I looked up “biased political gasbag”, I would see your picture next to it!

  8. Democrat says:

    Dear Dead Meat:
    Rebollo and Rodriguez were both Republican lackies before they joined the court. They probably still are in their hearts. Tell the condos and they are truly dead meat.

  9. Sam Fields says:


    Suggesting that appointing judges solves all our judicial problems is exactly what someone might say who has never been to Federal Court.

    While there are some fine Federal judges, lifetime appointments has brought out nasty abusiveness in others.

    Some are just outright bigots as evidenced by their virtually uniform negative rulings in civil rights cases.

    While Federal judges may not be susceptible to influence from campaign contributions they are still subject to pressure. How else do you explain Bush v Gore which ordered Florida to stop a recount.

  10. NoMardi says:

    Please Mardi is not smart and she would make a terrible judge. Those who worked with her at the SAO know that she doesnt like to work. I dont know if someone with only 5 years exp is better than her though. THis is going to be a tough choice. Someone who isnt smart and doesnt like to work and someone with no experience. I hope there is a third choice.

  11. Lina says:

    Dear Dead Meat and Democrat,

    2 POINTS:

    1. You need to get your facts straight, I’m pretty sure Rebollo is a Democrat.
    2. Judicial races are non-partisan, and it would be improper for example for Rebollo to go to Kings Point and tell them he is a Democrat.

  12. Upstanding citizen says:

    Absoultely not appointed Judge Carlos Rodriquez is not for victims but for defense attorneys only. He lets defense attorneys play games with the courts which in turn are a tremendous injustice to victims.

  13. Tooner says:

    Are you kidding me? After years of electing people with Hispanic surnames, which you atrribute to ‘maturity’, we the voters of Broward County have regressed to a level of immaturity? How so, Mr. Nevins? The Hispanic population has exploded across this country and especially here in South Florida, yet we have regressed? By the way,the following is a comment attributed to Judge Carlos Rebollo from the Sun Sentinel-“I believe it is immoral for any candidate, no matter how qualified he is, to ever run against a minority incumbant unless that minority has been involved in some significant scandal.” Are you freaking kidding me? Is this the kind of crap this man truly beleives? May I asssume he arrives at his decisions based on ones ethnicity or minority status rather then the merits of the case? Your commentary on why the judges with Hispanic names were not returned to office are baseless and stand on assumptions made on pure speculation. Maybe, just maybe, they lost fair and square! Now there’s an idea you might want to spread around! But then again, that doesn’t sell does it?

  14. Broward Attorney says:

    Hey Tooner aka Teabagger

    How was that Glen Beck fiasco in Washington. How was the Kool-aid?

  15. Broward Lawyer says:

    Judge Rebollo beat bob nichols and judge rodriguez beat frieda montanti goldstein levenson cohen kaplan.
    Buddy – you were wrong. Hispanics can and did win in 2010 election.