Judge Steve Feren Gets Last Minute Opponent





Circuit Judge Steve Feren has a last-minute opponent – veteran courthouse figure John Contini.

Contini qualified for the seat less than an hour before the Noon deadline on Friday.

There were no other  judicial race surprises before the opportunity to run for judge ended until 2016. Most incumbent judges were re-elected.

The former mayor of Sunirse and a former Florida House member, Feren is experienced with campaigning. I’m sure he doesn’t look forward to it despite a lifetime of politics.

Contini is a former assistant State Attorney for Mike Satz and one of only six federal prosecutors in a special Obscenity Task Force in the 1980s.


Unknown John Contini


I know him best for his defense of Miriam Oliphant when she was suspended as Elections Supervisor. He was her attorney for about two months in her unsuccessful fight to regain her job.

Contini also has had a large number of high profile criminal defense cases since the 1990s.

A lawyer who can impress jurors, it is uncertain whether Contini can equally impress voters.

Feren has a proven track record with voters.

His campaigns in the past was handled by consultant David Brown, who has a long, mostly successful history of managing judicial candidates. Brown told Browardbeat.com he hasn’t been asked by Feren to be involved this year.

This one could be fun if Contini campaigns seriously.

38 Responses to “Judge Steve Feren Gets Last Minute Opponent”

  1. Family Law Associate says:

    Steve Feren is he laziest judge to ever wear a robe. He should be fired by the voters.

  2. Timothy Rivera says:

    He needs to get out and meet real people again because he has become arrogant and haughty to families in Family Court. The experience of campaigning will be good for Ferin.

  3. Ha Ha Ha says:

    An obscenity prosecutor?!? I’ll hold my nose and vote for Feren.

  4. Harrison Bennett says:

    Contini is a serious challenger and has a host of political clout throughout the county. This is one fight that will sell out ESPN!! Best Wishes John!!

  5. tell the truth says:

    had my vote till I read our tax dollars paid HIM for miriam oliphants defense
    don’t like ferren but he’ll get my vote

    everybody wants a cushy bench job with a bcklogged docket and no penalties for keeping it that way

  6. They Are Clueless says:

    Feren, just sat on his lazy ass, and pretended no one would ever run against him, we now because he is lazy, he will have a real race, and will have to run areal campaign, serves him right

  7. Broward voter says:

    About time , the judicial system is not run as a kingdom , time to get another qualified person for the seat that is eager to serve
    Jay G

  8. Times They Are A-Changing says:

    To John Contini —

    One word, TAO

  9. HEAD'S UP says:


  10. Tick tock! says:

    Trying to be GENTLE ! Transition is always hard. Blah,blah,blah.
    FEREN is a terrible judge and he is milking the system. Why not continue to make excuses for behaving badly , laziness and lack of respect for the people you serve. (Sarcasm)

    Reality, we hold on to lazy bums because of their names.

    How many more need to say FEREN is a bum.

    He has no respect for the families that come before him. Those families have not forget the impact that this judge has had on them in such trying times in their lives.

    So my laughter will come when Feren is not sitting on the bench anymore.

    Just a tid bit don’t think FEREN didn’t try to take advantage of his city’s taxpayers ask around you might be surprised.

  11. Brian Craig says:

    Judges think once they are on the bench they have a lifetime job. I always vote for the opponent of a sitting judge.

  12. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Other contested races:

    County Court, Group 18: Ellen Feld vs. Mark Rickard

    County Court, Group 27: Ian Richards vs. Jonathan Kasen vs. Claudia Robinson

    Circuit Court, Group 8: Lynn Rosenthal vs. Frantz ‘Jahra’ McLawrence

    Circuit Court, Group 16: Dennis Bailey vs. Andrea Gundersen vs. Rhoda Sokoloff vs. Russell Thompson

    Circuit Court, Group 17: Stacey Schulman vs. Julie Shapiro Harris

    Everybody else is unopposed.

  13. Dr John Palmatier says:

    Too many people forget that the word “Judge” is one describing an action much more than a title, unfortunately as some here have already said, politicians see it the other way around. I’ve watched John Contini for years, and truly believe he would render legal decisions balanced with compassion and other salient factors. With more than 45 years in Criminal Justice, I can not state strongly enough that Contini is the “PERFECT candidate…

  14. Wants Clean Courts says:

    Feren got his deposit back when Tao went belly-up . Nobody else did.

    Mayor’s Vote for sale?


    “Federal agents served a subpoena at City Hall on Tuesday, seeking records regarding Feren and his efforts to buy a condo at Tao Sawgrass in Sunrise.

    City officials declined to say what records were requested.

    In late 2008, while he was still mayor of Sunrise, Feren retrieved his deposit from Tao’s developer.

    At the time, Feren told the Sun Sentinel he got a refund after writing to the developer on his law firm stationery complaining that the condo was not finished on time. A victim of the economic downturn, the Tao towers were taken over by the bank in November 2008.

    The luxury units were expected to sell for between $300,000 and $800,000. Sources told the Sun Sentinel that Feren’s deposit was more than $100,000.”

  15. Ha Ha Ha says:


    Broward Prosecutor Joins Obscenity Panel
    January 19, 1987

    It`s nothing personal, says John Contini; it`s just that smut — movies, tapes and books considered obscene — is against the law and it`s his job to uphold the law.

    The fact that he`s good at the job recently landed the 29-year-old Broward assistant state attorney one of the most important pornography law enforcement positions in the country.

    Contini, the Broward prosecutor who made a name for himself busting suburban video stores for renting X-rated movies, is going to Washington, D.C.

    Instead of arresting minimum-wage peep show clerks and mom `n` pop merchants, the native of Boston will be turned loose on what he says is the real danger from obscenity: big-time, organized pornographers and smut distributors.

    As one of six special prosecutors on the U.S. Department of Justice`s newly formed Obscenity Task Force, Contini will travel the country prosecuting federal cases developed by FBI investigations on pornography rings.

    The task force was one of 93 recommendations in the Meese Commission on Pornography. […] “The reason I was selected was I was very zealous about enforcing the law,“ Contini said. […]

    A frequent adversary, defense attorney Bruce Randall, says the federal task force is as unnecessary as the recent crackdowns in Broward on video pornography.

    “It`s amazing to me,“ said Randall, who represents several video store owners accused of violating state obscenity laws. “(The federal government) spends so much time on this and who cares?“

    As the sole obscenity/vice prosecutor in the Broward State Attorney`s Office in 1985, Contini`s efforts to remove obscene video tapes from the shelves of rental stores — particularly in Margate — made news. Those news accounts eventually made their way to Washington. […]

    “There were prosecutors in that office before who declined to apply the obscenity statute to video stores,“ Contini said. “I decided that to do otherwise would be to engage in selective enforcement.“

    In his seven months as the county`s obscenity prosecutor, he helped organize police crackdowns of video stores countywide. The effort removed hundreds of X-rated movies from store shelves and spawned an unsuccessful lawsuit from store owners challenging the constitutionality of the action.

    “Contini is no hero,“ said Louise Rothstein, one of the leaders in the lawsuit and former owner of a Margate video rental store she claims was forced out of business by the crackdown. “People call us smut peddlers, but we`re honest business owners. People like Contini jeopardize the businesses of so many people who scraped together enough money to go into an honest business. This reeks of Nazism and censorship.“

    Contini was in the right job at the right time, Randall said.

    “It happened that, while he was filling that position, the police became interested in video stores,“ Randall said. And the police became involved because small, vocal conservative groups channeled their energies toward rental movies, he said.

    Those groups do not represent the majority of Broward residents, he said.

    “If you go into those video stores, you`ll see them doing a brisk business with all kinds of people — professionals, police officers, newspaper reporters,“ Randall said.

    “Those tapes are in the stores because (the stores are) in the video business and those tapes are a big part of that business,“ Rothstein said.

    Contini is in a position to make a major contribution in his new post, said Fort Lauderdale vice Detective Sgt. Jim Wigand.

    […] And just what good did he do in Broward?

    “Ask Louise Rothstein,“ Contini said. “She was quoted as saying we ran her out of business.

  16. Rico Petrocelli says:

    John has my support!.. There is “NO Substitute for Experience”, and John will bring 30 years of it to the bench, along with his compassion, and understanding of the Law.

    Friends at the courthouse are pleased with his entering this race, and John will have an opportunity to present Professionalism and Common Sense to the Bench, as he continues to serve the residents of Broward County again, as he has done in the past…

    Rico Petrocelli
    Former Councilman
    City of Plantation

  17. electric jack says:

    John is exactly what we need to flush out the arrogant members of the Judicary. He is a friend to those who need him. A very fair family man with a mountain of experience under his belt he will bring all of his compassion an experience to the bench maybe then the lifetime lazys will get off there duffs…..I totally support John as does my family….Remeber its a lawyers job to defend his client not to judge him thats the American Way….Go John Go….

  18. Rabbi Peter Gaines says:

    I am most pleased to see John enter his hat in the ring for this postion.He does so because, and I’ve known John for 23 years,he has the passion to get the job done and not for any prestige that might come with the title. He knows the law and I don’t just mean mans law in this system, but the source of the law, Our Lord G-d who created all things of whom John is a tried and true follower. When you follow Him, and seek His ways….you cannot help but succeed. We need John Contini.

  19. Roger Milett says:

    John has my vote. Very qualified and perfect heart for the job. Balanced in thoughts and actions.

  20. Retired NYPD says:

    Steve Feren at the Northwest Focal Point Senior Center last night speaking to the 10-13 Club:

    1.) “I’m not in traffic division so I can’t fix traffic tickets, but if you ever need something in the Family Division, come see me…”

    2.) “I’m not sure why Contini filed to run against me at the last minute, but I’ve done a good job…”

    3.) “After six-and-a-half years now, I guess I need to campaign now…”

    4.) “I’m the only Circuit Court Judge who is being opposed…”

    Note: It’s not your seat, Judge Feren. It’s the people’s seat.


    If Feren said that he’s “the only Circuit Court judge who is being opposed,” he was in error.

    Circuit Judge Lynn Rosenthal is being opposed by attorney Frantz ‘Jahra’ McLawence.

  21. In the know says:

    “I’m not in traffic division so I can’t fix traffic tickets, but if you ever need something in the Family Division, come see me…”

    Did I read this correctly or did Judge Feren publicly intimate that if he were in the Traffic Division, he could or would “fix traffic tickets” and further intimate that he would dole out favors in the Family Division to ex New York police officers is asked to do so?

    Did Judge Feren actually admit that he would violate his very office by these highly illegal actions?

    Could Judge Feren be intimating that he is for sale as he was in Sunrise?


  22. Shocked by Judge Feren says:

    Congratulations Judge Feren. In your very first campaign appearance you announce to a room full of police officers that you are willing to violate your oath of office by trading votes for favorable rulings. I guess the spouse on the other side who missed your vote is just SOL? What interesting comments can we anticipate in your second speech?

  23. Throw Out Feren says:

    All you need to know about dirtbag Feren:

    Outgoing Sunrise mayor won’t get higher subsidy

    By Susannah Bryan Staff Writer, January 3, 2009

    It would have been his last act as mayor. But try as he might, Steven Feren, who is retiring at midnight Monday to serve as a Broward Circuit Court judge, failed in his effort to secure an extra $150 monthly health subsidy from the city for the rest of his life. Feren, who served as mayor for 12 years, could not be reached for comment despite five calls this week to his home and cell phone. With time running out, Feren tried to call a special meeting to increase the subsidy payments for managers and elected officials who retire after Jan. 1. But the meeting never happened because his fellow commissioners said they couldn’t make it. Now Feren will receive $200 a month instead of $350.

  24. yawn says:

    Wow I cant imagine how all of these Feren haters who post here and post the identical posts on Jaablog just got up recently and decided to write.

    I hear Libby Eddy is running the Contini campaign, guess work on the boat may be slow and she may need to fill time blogging.

    Shouldn’t you be designing the coloring book for Contini?

  25. Jif Feingold says:

    A refreshing vision, an honest vision, an intelligent vision, a
    compassionate vision, a fair
    vision, a great work ethic vision and knowledge of law vision….has
    produced a judicial candidate with
    20/20 vision. It appears the incumbent has been here long enough to be complacent.
    I join a long list of Contini backed professionals. Go JC !!

  26. Luis says:

    Judge Feren is the laziest judge Ive eve seen. I am unlucky enough to have him as the judge of my case. I took my ex to court because she does not allow me to talk to my 4 year old son. He told me I should be him a phone so I can talk to him.!!! instead of demanding her to allow me to talk to my son. He is definitely not about whats best for children. He needs to be removed.

  27. Luis says:

    is there a way to report him to a board or a supervisor for how he is handling my case. Please help


    The Florida Bar and the Judicial Qualifications Commission both have sites on the Internet.

  28. Ed Eckert says:

    My family had the great misfortune to have Judge Feren presiding on our family law case for over two years. Not only was he absent continually, his decisions were so bad that even opposing counsel would have to correct him.
    Judge Feren is an embarrassment for all the citizens of Broward County. He is especially insensitive to the needs of children. The 4th District Court of Appeals REVERSED HIS STUPID DECISIONS. A competent and caring judge made it right, after almost four years in the system. Not only was he lazy, he was arrogant and obnoxious and just ignorant of the law. He made numerous insensitve jokes that were insulting and hurtful.
    I suggest that Mickey Mouse would do a better job than Feren, however what I have learned about Mr. Contini has impressed me.

  29. Don't be fooled says:

    There is a very dark, vengeful, nasty side to John Contini which I have personally experienced. In my opinion he is a hypocrite as a person and a Christian and would do the people of Broward County a true disservice.

  30. Benjamin H. Bennett says:

    Difficult not to respond to Don’t be fooled’s comment: You hide behind your computer and slander Mr. Contini as if you know something due to a personal experience. This is a free forum protected by the First Amendment, however…slander is not protected. Only little people resort to slander and they make poor poker players as well. Your comment may affect three voters in this race, all others will follow the truth about Judge Feren and whom is doing disservice to whom.

  31. Don't be fooled says:

    Mr. Bennett,

    It is only slander if it is not true. It is true, and I have it in writing from him. I merely expressed my personal experience in dealing with Mr. Contini. Yes, I do know something due to a personal experience, thus the reason I express my opinion in an anonymous way. Mr. Contini has another very nasty face. He certainly doesn’t have my vote nor anyone I know.

  32. Concerned Voter says:

    Thank goodness that John Contini has entered the race. I currently have a divorce case before Judge Feren that has turned onto the case from hell, only because of Feren’s inability to make some decisions early in the case, based on the law. He has forced this case to get entirely out of hand and the legal fees are skyrocketing and the timeline stretches on. In the mean time I am not able to see my children as this case drags on which has been brought to his attention but he is ambivalent to. It is time for this judge to go. Please vote for John Contini.

  33. North east Broward says:

    Contini has my vote. I would vote for Feren for Dog Catcher.

  34. Anybody BUT Contini says:

    I would sooner vote for Charles Manson over John Contini. I recently had the highly unfortunate experience of having John Contini represent me as attorney, and I have never met a more two-faced, phony, arrogant individual in my entire life. Vote for ANYBODY else!

  35. Chaz Stevens, Flatulist says:

    Hypocrite as a Christian!


    Now that is funny.

  36. Phony Feren says:

    @ 11:17pm

    You were no client …. voters aren’t stupid … you are a phony Feren supporter

  37. Chaz Stevens, one-man-blogging-bazooka says:

    And so does one-man-blogging-bazooka Chaz Stevens. Which is why the guy behind the Pabst Blue Ribbon Festivus Pole in the state Capitol building filed a Judicial Qualifications Commission complaint against Feren last Friday.

    When New Times got Stevens on the phone to talk about the complaint, he said the decision was pretty easy. “Thou shall fuck with incumbents, especially incumbent judges,” Stevens says. “It’s questionable, so I spent five minutes of my life signing out the complaint.”


  38. Contini Client says:

    As a former client of Contini, I can say he is indeed a hard working, thorough and knowledgeable attorney. He made me feel like he really cared about me and my case and it was reflected in the outcome. Although I don’t ever anticipate needing his services again, he is a good man and we will continue to stay in touch. Perfect man for the job.