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Jax Daily Record Monday, Dec. 4, 201706:50 AM EST

The Marbut Report: Judicial candidates lining up for 2018 ballot

Michael Bateh, Gerald Wikerson want to fill retiring Judge Shore’s seat.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

With the 2018 primary election more than eight months away and 11 months until the general election, it’s too early for campaign signs to pop up in front yards and campaign flyers to start landing in mailboxes, but two candidates have filed for Duval County judge in Group 3.

Gerald Wilkerson

Michael Bateh and Gerald Wilkerson are seeking election to the seat being vacated by County Judge Brent Shore, who is retiring.

Bateh is an assistant public defender and division chief of the Capital Crimes Division.

It’s the first time Bateh will seek election, but he was one of six finalists selected in August by the 4th Judicial Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission for a seat on the Duval County bench.

Michael Bateh

He is a member of The Jacksonville Bar Association board of governors and serves on The JBA and 4th Judicial Circuit professionalism committees.

Wilkerson is a former assistant public defender who opened the Law Offices of Gerald Wilkerson in 2005.

It will be his third attempt at being elected to the bench. He was an unsuccessful write-in candidate for a 4th Circuit seat in 2012, and in 2016 lost the primary election to incumbent Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey.

According to campaign treasurer’s reports filed with the Duval County Supervisor of Elections, as of Oct. 31, Bateh listed contributions of $1,500. Wilkerson reported $152,525, including $149,000 in personal contributions.

Four candidates have filed for seats on the circuit court and are currently unopposed: attorneys Katie Dearing and Charles McBurney, Assistant State Attorney Collins Cooper and incumbent Circuit Judge Suzanne Bass.

Kimberly Sadler has filed for Duval County judge, Group 8.

The candidate deadline for filing is May 4.

2 local attorneys disciplined

The state Supreme Court issued 20 attorney disciplinary orders, including two for lawyers in Jacksonville:

Robert Charles Grady, 6243 Autumn Berry Circle, to be publicly reprimanded by publication, following a Sept. 22 court order. Further, Grady shall be placed on probation for two years and sign a monitoring contract with Florida Lawyers Assistance.

Grady entered a plea in court, he was adjudicated guilty of DUI, and his driver’s license was permanently revoked.

Subsequently, he was adjudicated guilty in a separate case for similar charges, including DUI, resisting without violence, refusal to submit to blood/breath testing, and driving while license suspended.

He failed to timely notify The Florida Bar that a determination or judgment of guilt had been entered. (Case No. SC17-275)

Stephanie J. Hartley, 1361 Nicholson Road, suspended for 60 days, effective 30 days from an Oct. 26 court order.

After being taken into custody for belligerent behavior, Hartley pleaded no contest in court to breach of peace/disorderly conduct.

According to Bar records, it is the third negative police interaction Hartley has had involving alcohol. In two prior incidents, she was charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence or intoxicated. (Case No. SC17-1351)

As an official arm of the state Supreme Court, The Florida Bar and its Department of Lawyer Regulation are charged with administering a statewide disciplinary system to enforce Supreme Court rules of professional conduct for the more than 104,000 members of The Florida Bar.

Additional information about the discipline system and how to file a complaint is available at 

Apply for Florida Bar committee spots

The annual committee preference forms for members of The Florida Bar seeking appointments for the term of President-elect Michelle Suskauer are available at

Suskauer will make about 500 appointments to more than 70 committees. Every Florida Bar committee and its description with current membership can be found on the website. 

Also, if you are serving on a committee, it is important to check the website to determine if your term expires in 2018. If so, you need to submit a committee preference form to be considered for reappointment.

If you are not serving on a committee and wish to be considered, submit an online form by Jan. 15.

The JBA’s social event of the year

The Jacksonville Bar Association’s annual Bench & Bar Holiday Party begins at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 13 in the lobby at Wells Fargo Center. Appetizers and cocktails will be available. The association’s social event of the year for judges and attorneys is free for members, $25 for guests. Members must RSVP at by 5 p.m. Thursday.

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