Revenge: Lawyers Gun For Judge




County Judge Ian Richards has a target on his back.

Members of the Broward Hispanic Bar and other courthouse figures are talking revenge against Richards for defeating incumbent Judge Catalina Avalos in 2008. They have found a potential candidate to run against him next year.



Judge Ian Richards



Avalos was one of three judges with Spanish-sounding names who were beaten that year.

With a name that sounds like an upper class Englishman, Richards largely hid his African-American heritage from white voters, according to sources.

That won’t be the case this time.  Anti-Richards forces already have a possible candidate: A Fort Lauderdale lawyer with a Jewish-sounding name

Jonathan Kasen is coy about any race against Richards at this point.

But he says he is interested in a seat on the bench. He recently was interviewed by the Judicial Nominating Commission for a seat that opened when Judge Susan Aramony died.

“I am entertaining (running for office).  I haven’t made any decision yet. I interested in seeing a better judiciary…I’ve been talking to people with the same interests in a better judiciary,” Kasen said.

Does that mean a race against an incumbent Judge Richards?

“I am interested in seeing a better judiciary….”

Sounds like what journalists call a non-answer answer. He’s saying “yes,” but giving himself enough wiggle room to say “No” if things don’t work out.

Regardless of what he finally decides, Kasen has sellable credentials: He worked five years in Public Defender Al Schreiber’s office and is now in private practice. He is best known in the media for handling parts of the civil and criminal case against Casey Anthony.

Running against an incumbent judge is never easy.

Richards has some name ID and now has friends in the courthouse.  He even made international news when he jumped off the bench and restrained a defendant who attacked a witness.

His most fervent support will come from black Bar members, who have long argued that there are not enough judges who look like them.   Expect the black political community to defend Richards to the last vote.

Broward County Hispanic Bar Association President Lorena Mastrarrigo points out that the organization is non-partisan, non-profit and never endorses candidates.

“When Catalina (Avalos) ran, we couldn’t get involved as an organization,” she said.

That doesn’t stop members — with the exception of Hispanic Bar board members — from campaigning for judicial candidates….like Kasen.

With Hispanic Bar members on one side and black Bar members on the other, this one could get ugly.

A courthouse source said: “The wheels are rolling. There are some major players telling him he can win.”

The problem is these same “major players” backed Avalos to the tune of more than $88,000, compared to Richards’ roughly $2,800*.

And we know how that one came out.


* Avalos raised over $88,000, but spent a total of almost $174,000.  The rest of the money came from her and in-kind contributions.  Richards raised just under $2,800, but spent roughly $25,000.  The rest came from him and in-kind contributions.

17 Responses to “Revenge: Lawyers Gun For Judge”

  1. Michael says:

    The makeup of Broward County’s judiciary is certainly not inline to be truly reflective of Broward residents.

    I believe Judge Richards is Jamaican which by demographic helps Broward’s judiciary be more reflective of Broward.

    Electing true diversity that is reflective of Broward is an endless battle.


    This according to JAAblog’s interview with Richards about his 2008 victory:

    Richards “worked hard in Broward’s often overlooked minority communities, where he made a strong showing. He added that the name ‘Richards’ is a common Jamaican name (where his parents were born), and his ties to Broward’s Caribbean-American community are strong and longstanding.”

  2. Broward Lawyer says:

    Ian Richards was not a good lawyer. He resigned from the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. They were going to fire him.
    He has not been a good judge. Severely lacking in knowledge of the law and judicial temperament.
    Someone should run against him because he is not a good job.
    He should not be run against because of revenge for defeating Avalos.
    I’m sorry Buddy but you cite as your source for the “revenge” the members of the hispanic bar and other courthouse figures. That can be one hispanic attorney and Bill Gelin.
    Some advice Buddy, be more careful of your sources before writing a story like this.

  3. smells like says:

    I heard Mike Dutko took Kasen to lunch and got the ball rolling on this. Now I hear Kulik who used to worked in the same office as Dutko is behind this as well.

    Kulik has tried and failed for years to over take out incumbents using such great candidates as Steve Scheate, Lloyd Golburgh, Heidi Berkowitz and other small time criminal defese lawyers. Kasen fits in with this group.

    As usual these idiot criminal defense lawyers dont get it. While it is true everyone deserves a defense, the voters dont care. Seriously, the guy represented Casey Anthony not a good thing.

  4. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Roshawn Banks deserves to be elected. Not sure if she wants to run against Richards or not, but she has run before and she would bring both great talent and diversity to the bench.

    Diversity is very much needed in Broward County. Ian Richards is the only black judge in a county that’s 27.4% black. If Richards loses his seat to a non-black, Broward is back to zero representation on the bench for 27.4% of its population.


    If your point is that blacks are woefully underrepresented on the bench, you are right.

    Still, Ian Richards is not the only black judge. Off the top of my head, I can think of four others — still too few.

  5. Broward Lawyer says:

    Ha Ha Ha, you intentionally lied. But being as this is a blog, you get to hide anonymously. There are at least 5 black judges in Broward not counting Ian Richards. They are Judge Holmes, Judge Gillespie, Judge Williams, Judges Robinson (Mary and Mike).
    I agree with Buddy, not enough. Judge Richards should be opposed by the one of many highly competent black lawyers out there.

  6. Ha Ha Ha says:

    There are 102 state court judges in Broward (including 12 General Magistrates). In addition, the federal courts have 42 district and magistrate judges within the Southern District of Florida, which includes Miami-Dade, St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Broward and Monroe counties. The total population of those counties is 6.172 million, of which Broward has 1.78 million, or 28.8%. So the number of federal judges for Broward is about 12. Adding that to the 102 state court judges, we have 114, of which 27.4% should be black. If that were the case, there would be 31 black judges associated with Broward.

  7. handicapper says:

    First, Richards could run the same campaign as before and probably win. Why? Nothing has changed except he has Elect Judge at the beginning of his name.

    The black community will come out in force for him. No way they want to subtract from their total.

    He can show this video of himself jumping off the bench to protect a domestic violence victim.

    THe other issue is how would Kasen not run without trying to do a comparison piece with photos of them both. Want to be called a racist, try that move.

    Dutko and Kulik are good lawyers they should stick to what they know and leave judicial elections to those who know how to win them.

    Richards in a landslide.

  8. Ha Ha Ha says:

    According to the West Side Gazette in February 2013, there are exactly (not at least, exactly) six black state court judges in Broward state courts, and they are exactly the six identified in #5 above.

    Circuit Judge Ken Gillespie (Juvenile Division)

    Circuit Judge Ilona Holmes (Criminal Diision)

    County Judge Ian Richards (South Satellite Division)

    County Judge Mary Robinson (Criminal Division)

    Circuit Judge Michael Robinson (Crminal Division)

    Circuit Judge Elijah Williams (Juvenile Division)

    Within each division, the percentages:

    Chief Judge: 0 of 1 (0%)
    Circuit Criminal: 2 of 19 (10.5%)
    Circuit Civil: 0 of 17 (0%)
    County Administrative: 0 of 1 (0%)
    County Criminal: 1 of 14 (7.1%)
    County Civil: 0 of 6 (0%)
    County Satellite: 1 of 11 (9.1%)
    Probate: 0 of 3 (0%)
    Family: 0 of 9 (0%)
    Domestic Violence: 0 of 3 (0%)
    Juvenile: 2 of 9 (22.2%)
    General Magistrates: 0 of 12 (0%)

    Total for Broward State Judges: 6 of 113 (5.3%) – much less than 27.4%!

    (The total is 113, not 115, because two of the three Domestic Violence judges were already counted in Family Division)

    Juvenile Division is the only division that seems reasonably proportional.

    At the federal level it’s apparently 0 of 12 (0%).

  9. Courthouse Observer says:

    It is not how black Ian Richards is. It is how good a judge he is. He is so great he is in the South Satellite.

  10. Lawyer Who Knows says:

    The source of this attacks on Judge Richards is Sam Fields, who owns part of this blog. Fields brags he is a big political force. He couldn’t even get himself elected,Thank God.


    Fields writes for He owns no part of it.
    Nor was Fields the source of this post.

  11. Ha Ha Ha says:

    It would be interesting to see a breakdown of the Hispanic demographic within Broward judges similar to the one I did above for the black demographic. But since Hispanics can be of ANY race (which makes it much harder), and since I already made at least two errors just on the black demographic (the error that Broward Lawyer found, plus the inconsistency of 102 vs. 113 state court judges), I’ll leave the Hispanic figures for somebody else to attempt. Maybe Broward Lawyer could give it a try…

  12. Just Saying says:

    There are at least seven Hispanic judges in Broward County (and I may be missing some)…

    Carlos Rodriguez
    Bernie Bober
    Marina Garcia-Wood
    Milly Rodriguez Powell
    Carlos Rebollo

    Bob Diaz
    Olga Levine

  13. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Broward’s Hispanic population is 25.8%, which is LESS than the 27.4% black population. But if Just Saying is right, there are actually MORE Hispanic judges than black judges in Broward state courts.

    Hispanics are underrepresented too – but is displacing one of the very few black judges really the best way to solve that problem?

  14. Broward Lawyer says:

    Bottom line. There are 90 judges in Broward County, 7 Hispanic and 6 Black. That’s 7% Hispanic and 6% Black. No where near enough in either case.

  15. Broward Voters says:

    Judge Richards hid from no one Buddy you got it wrong.

  16. Jennifer says:

    Puerto Rican Bar Endorses Judge Ian Richards?

  17. Señor Censor says:

    Tequila Bar endorses Judge Ian Richards.