The War Hero Vs. The Drunk Driver’s Friend


County Court Judge Ed Merrigan will spend the first weekend of his re-election campaign in Homestead helping troops who are being deployed overseas.

Merrigan is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve.  He’s a war hero, having won a Bronze Star in Iraq.

His opponent is, well, a defender of drunk drivers.

If you look at newspaper stories,  opponent Lloyd Golburgh has defended many DIU cases. 

He worked for Essen & Essen, the DUI specialists.  Now in private practice, his website calls himself South Florida’s Top DUI Attorney.  His web address is FloridaDUIPro.Com.

So the contest can be styled this way:

 The candidate who fights to protect us versus. the candidate who fights to protect drunks. 

Too harsh?

Maybe the war hero vs. the drunk driver’s  friend.

The Bronze Star was awarded Merrigan in September 2004 for running of over 100 operations. The citation singled out his “leadership and professionalism, not bad qualities for a judge.

One interesting twist in this race: Golburgh’s treasurer is Bradley Collins, son of  retired Judge Robert Collins, who served notably in juvenile court.

Here is a fact which could help Merrigan in a campaign:

The judge’s wife and the wife of Mayor Jack Seiler of Fort Lauderdale are sisters.  Seiler and Merrigan are life-long friends.

Merrigan was appointed April 2009 by Gov. Charlie Crist to replace Judge Robert Zack, who resigned.  He serves in the North Regional Courthouse.

Although he was appointed by a Republican, this may not affect Merrigan’s chances.  It may even help him.

The judicial races are on the same August ballot as Crist’s primary for U. S. Senate against Marco Rubio, which should bring out a lot of GOP voters.  There is no similar contest in the Democrat column to drive their turnout.

I could write and write about Merrigan, but the best thing to do is link a story written by my good friend Lisa Huriash a few months ago.

Merrigan and Golburgh did not return calls for comment.

12 Responses to “The War Hero Vs. The Drunk Driver’s Friend”

  1. Karen M says:

    This race is more of the self crowded kingmaker Kevin Kulik trying to dominate the judiciary. There is nothing that Golburgh has done in his life that deserves election to the court except meet Kulik, bow to him and kiss his ring. Kulik is as bad as Dale Ross and the old judges ever were.

  2. The Courthouse Rambler says:

    It is obvious that Sam Fields tells you what to write on judges. Kt is also well know he pays for you to write this blog so he can ingratiate himself with judges, good and bad. Sam should try being a lawyer, not an ass-kissing blogger or using another ass-kissing blogger to do his dirty work.

    FROM BUDDY: Sam Fields has no financial or ownership interest in Nor does he pay me anything nor did he ever offer to pay me.
    Fields also doesn’t tell me what to write. If you saw how many guest columns of his I had to kill or cut, you would understand.

  3. Interested says:

    Buddy – One day you’ll have to post a link or dedicate a page to the columns of Sam that you killed or cut. I like much of what Sam writes (although I agree with the last poster who says he is a huge judicial kiss-ass) but I’d like to see what “didn’t make the cut” for this blog from him.

  4. Sam Fields says:

    As soon as we get a merchant card we will be charging for that.

  5. Tommy the Fry Cook says:

    ” The candidate who fights to protect us versus. the candidate who fights to protect drunks.

    “Too harsh?”

    Yeah, I’d say so.

    I’d put DUI attorneys in the same category as personal injury attorneys and murder defense attorneys: many of them come from the slimier shallows of the attorney pool, but don’t hate the players, hate the game.

    Everyone (even a drunk) is entitled to due process and SOMEONE has to represent them. The system provides for it and (usually) it’s an honest living. Attorneys have bills to pay, too.

  6. A little strong says:

    This is a tough one. I believe a war hero should be honored. God Bless them. But does a man deserve to be made a judge because he is the Mayor’s brother in law? You are usually more thoughtful in your writing. This is a bad move by Goldburgh but the same political coziness that has led to so many problems for us is why Merrigan is a judge in the first place.

    FROM BUDDY: Let me make it clear: I don’t know Ed Merrigan. I never met Ed Merrigan. I never have even been in the North Regional Courthouse, even during the time I worked at the Sun-Sentinel.

    Nor have I met Lloyd Golburgh.

    Without prejudging the election, I laid out the most compelling facts about the candidates. Here are some more:

    Golburgh was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1993 after law school at the University of Miami. He has primarily worked as a DUI lawyer.

    Merrigan was admitted to the Bar in 1984 after Cumberland School of Law, in Birmingham, Alabama (the same school Gov. Charlie Crist attended). He practiced at Rinaman and Associates, McConnaughhay Duffy, Nations Bank/Bank of America, Barnett Bank, and Houston and Shahady and was the manager of Hidly and Ricke’s South Florida office when named to the bench.

    Does Merrigan have a much wider range of experience than his challenger, including significant leadership in the U. S. Army? Voters can decide.

  7. Sam Fields says:


    Too many lawyers have forgotten that they are there to represent clients and not their own egos.

    If being respectful and friendly aids my client I have no shame.

    When I have issues with a judge I do not make it a public spectacle. That just makes them defensive.

    Remember this. Eighty percent of judicial decisions are discretionary.

    I certainly have issues with the current appointment process. As far as I can tell, with one exception, Bush and Christ have appointed only Republicans to the JNC and the bench. Although weighted to Dems, Chiles and Graham appointed from both parties.

    Nevertheless I see no reason to attack good judges simply because I don’t like the process that got them there.

    I have a feeling that much of this urge to get to the bench is a result of the economy. A six year term on the bench is worth $1 mil. If your practice only makes $50k that has got to look.

  8. Michael G. Ahearn, Esq says:


    Great article on the upcoming Merrigan race.

    While people bring up Judge Merrigan’s familial relations to Mayor Seiler, when the voters meet Judge Merrigan they will find the perfect example of the phrase “an officer and a gentleman”. Judge Merrigan was raised and went to school in Fort Lauderdale. Judge Merrigan’s family has always been very active in the community and his father is a well respected physician in town. Judge Merrigan has very deep roots in this community.

    The most important thing a candidate can start off a race with is a voting base. Many of the strongest precincts for Mayor Seiler in his victory are areas where Judge Merrigan grew up. Judge Merrigan will surely benefit from the popularity of Mayor Seiler. If Judge Merrigan can get all or most of the 60 percent Mayor Seiler took in his election for Mayor, that is a great start.

    Do not forget during his time in the State House of Representatives, Mayor Seiler in addition to being popular in Fort Lauderdale, Wilton Manors, Oakland Park, was also very popular in areas to the South (Davie/Pine Island Ridge) and to the North (Pompano, Palm Aire, John Knox Village and Deerfield).

    Since Mr. Golburgh’s announcement I have received many emails from volunteers that worked Mayor Seiler’s campaign offering to help Judge Merrigan. Many more emails came from volunteers offering to help came through

    Of all the emails received, 22 were from Veterans. One in particular was from a 68 year old Marine Officer who flew helicopters in Viet Nam who said he would volunteer 7 days a week.

    Mayor Seiler’s mayoral campaign received the support of many veterans groups after it was reported that Earl Rynerson was misrepresenting his military status in his mail pieces. I have no doubt these same veterans groups will be out strong for Judge Merrigan.

    August 2010 will not be similar to August 2008. Besides Crist vs Rubio, there are primaries for each party from the Governor down to State House. In 2010 primary there will be more voters voting and the turn our will be more bipartisan than 2008.

    Due to the 2008 elections, it appears there is a belief that having a Jewish surname coupled with the fact that Judge Merrigan was appointed by a Republican Governor is the recipe for success.

    There is one very big difference from the 2008 candidates and races to Judge Merrigan’s race; the voters will know that when Judge Merrigan was earning his Bronze Star defending the USA and our freedoms he was defending all Americans, regardless of race, creed, color or party affiliation.

    The most important question of this race will be:

    If Judge Merrigan, a well qualified attorney, was good enough to put his life on the line for all of us, how can he not good enough to serve as a County Court Judge irrespective who he was appointed by and/or his religious affiliation?

  9. DoogieHauser says:

    What was Lloyd thinking? Hello…Lloyd…Is there anybody in there??

  10. Local Lawyer says:

    Being a war vet. is admiarable, no doubt. We all owe a great deal of thanks to those who place their lives on the line defending our freedom.

    However, that fact alone does not qualify one to be appointed as a judge.

    While I do not know Judge Merrigan and cannot say he is not qualified, I think we could all know a lot more about him before making our minds up.

    As well, being a “DUI lawyer” does not make one any less patriotic. Our constitution gives us the right to stand against oppression. Whether that oppression be from within the walls of our country or outside, we have fought for and earned the right to challenge the oppressor. In this case Goldburgh uses a pen, while Merrigan uses a sword. That should not make Goldburgh any less qualified nor should being in the military make Merrigan more qualified.

    The best qualities in a judge are compassion, professionalism, puntuality, dedication.

  11. hi my name is jewish says:

    tell that to somone who lost a family member to the war or a drunk driver. I hear lloyd has 5 clients who killed or permanently injured someone in dui accidents. Lloyd is running because he thinks his close to but not quite jewish name will win. If someone is going to run against a judge they should be able to say that the judge is doing a bad job which lloyd can’t do. He is just an opportunist like hurleys war profiteer buddy harry sargent, can’t get more anti american than lloyd

  12. miss irva golburgh says:

    lloyd golburgh is unstable and should not be a judge!