Alcolya St. Juste, Palm Beach County Circuit Court Candidate, Group 23 – Sun Sentinel

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Campaign website: www.votestjuste.com

Date and place of birth: November 29, 1974, Boynton Beach

List in reverse chronological order each college, university and law school.

Nova Southeastern University; August 1999 – May 2002; Doctorate in law; ranked 46th out of 221; 3.08 MPC

Florida State University; August 1992 – August 1996, Baccalaureate – Criminology; none available; 2.175 GPA

List in reverse chronological order your work history over the past 15 years.

St. Just Gordon, 515 N. Flagler Drive, Suite P300, West Palm Beach, FL 33401; Lawyer/Managing Member; 2018 – Present.

Code Compliance, City of Riviera Beach, 600 W. Blue Heron Boulevard, Riviera Beach, FL 33404; special magistrate; 2020 – Present.

Law Office of Alcolya St. Just, 515 N. Flagler Drive, Suite P300, West Palm Beach, FL 33401; Lawyer/Owner; 2007 – 2018.

Palm Beach County Code Enforcement, 2300 N. Jog Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33411; special magistrate; 2010 – 2018.

State of Florida, Department of Children and Families; 111 S. Sapodilla Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33401; Lead Attorney/Prosecutor; 12/2003 – 2009.

As a lawyer, judge or both, describe the types of cases you have typically handled?

Many of the cases I deal with fall within the areas of practice of family law and juvenile dependency.

If you are a lawyer, how many cases have you tried in the last five years? Of these cases, how many were tried before juries and how many were tried before a judge?

Over the past five years, I have tried about 70 cases, all before a judge.

If you are a judge, how many jury trials have you presided over that resulted in verdicts and judgments?

N / A

Have you been party to any lawsuit, including bankruptcy or foreclosure? If yes, provide details, including case style, jurisdiction and nature of decision.

Yes. Flagstaff Bank v. St. Just, 15th Judicial Circuit, Palm Beach County, Voluntary Dismissal

Have you been charged with or found guilty of a crime or misdemeanor, including convictions withheld? If yes, list the charges, dates of conviction and terms of sentence.

Nope

Have you ever been disciplined by the Florida Supreme Court on a recommendation from the Florida Bar, or have you ever been investigated by the Judicial Qualifications Commission? If yes, provide details.

Nope

List three cases in which you were lead or co-counsel and why they are important.

Juvenile Dependency Matter – This case is important because my client was a teenage parent struggling with mental health issues. We were able to secure the client’s stability, help him get legal assistance to get a work permit and permanent resident status and graduate from high school. I was lead counsel in this case.

Paternity – I successfully argued this case to help my client who was a father who had been denied access to his child for almost a year. The case resulted in my client being granted equal shared time with the child and shared parental responsibility for the child. I was lead counsel in this case.

Juvenile Dependency Matter – Represented a mother who allegedly neglected her children. I successfully litigated this case and the child, a newborn, was returned to the custody of the mother and the case was dismissed. I was lead counsel in this case.

List current and past memberships in civic, fraternal, legal, or social organizations.

Past Chairman, Board of Grievances, 15th Circuit F

Current Member, Florida Bar Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Current/Former Community Service Co-Chair, Florida Association for Women Lawyer’s Palm Beach County

Current Member/Former Secretary, F. Malcolm Cunningham Bar Association

Current Member, Sheree D. Cunningham Black Women Lawyers Association

Current Member, Palm Beach County Bar Association

Current Member, Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter National Bar Association

Former Member, Florida Bar Committee for the Legal Needs of Children

Admitted, United States District Court, Southern Division

Admitted, Florida Bar Association

Civic Engagement and Organizations:

Current Board Member, InnerCity Innovators

Current Board Member, New Christian Life Church

Current Member, Community Alliance of Palm Beach County

Current Member, Palm Beach County Executive

Current Member, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, South Palm Beach County

Former Board Member, Mental Health Association of Palm Beach County

If you are or have been an officer or director or engaged in the management of a commercial enterprise other than a law firm, state its name and business activity, your duties and whether you intend to resign at the time of the election.

N / A

PUBLIC SERVICE

Why are you running for this office?

As a native of Palm Beach County, the community and its people are important to me. They are my foundation. Being a judge is a natural progression for me. My qualifications allow me to serve effectively as a judge from day one. I believe the Palm Beach County court system is one where voters should be respected and treated equally. I want to bring much-needed diversity to the judiciary and partner with other jurists to ensure the impartiality of the judiciary. It is important that the judiciary reflect the constituency it serves and can resonate with all those before it. I want to work to educate the community at large about the importance of the judiciary, our legal system, and jury service and civic duties. Finally, I want to help make the system better and more efficient for lawyers and their fellow lawyers.

If you chose to run for judicial office against an incumbent, state why you chose to do so.

The Circuit Court Judge, Group 23 is an open seat.

If you have applied for appointment as a judge through a judicial nominating commission, provide details, including year(s) and results.

I submitted nominations to the 15th Judicial Circuit, Judicial Nominating Commission for appointment in 2014; 2015 ; 2016 (Name Certified to Governor’s Office); 2017; 2018 (Name Certified to Office of the Governor’s Office); 2019 (Name Certified to Governor’s Office); 2020; 2022.

Why should voters elect you over your opponents?

I have the distinct honor of being the only candidate considered by the Judicial Appointments Commission, which means that my qualifications, merits and experience have been considered and recommended for judicial appointment on merit to Governor, judging me qualified and ready to exercise a judicial function. I served as a special magistrate, a quasi-judicial role, for over 10 years, where I hear cases, consider evidence, and make decisions based on the rule of law. I have the experience, training, diversity, temperament, maturity and skills to be an effective judge from day one. Finally, I have won the endorsement of many distinguished attorneys, including five former presidents of the Palm Beach County Bar Association, a former president of the Florida Bar, and two former presidents of the National Bar Association, all who believe in my abilities to serve as a judge of the 15th Judicial Circuit.

In your life experience, what best qualifies you to serve as a judge?

Professionally, my time as a trial attorney for over 18 years has sharpened my skills and ability to serve as a Circuit Court Judge. My training as a Special Magistrate for more than 10 years gives me the training and experience necessary to exercise the function of judge. As a Special Magistrate, I have heard over 200 cases and made decisions for the community on issues based on the facts of the cases and applicable law. I continue to demonstrate my efficiency and patience as a law overseer and law practitioner.

Personally, from growing up in Palm Beach County and navigating changes in my community that greatly affected the socio-economic status of many close to me to serving in leadership positions at organizations like InnerCity Innovators and the Mental Health Association of Palm Beach County, allow me to see firsthand the effects of our justice system on some of the most vulnerable members of our society. These experiences have helped me shape my perspective and better understand the needs of people likely to appear in court.

What are the top three challenges facing the justice system in Broward County, Florida, or the United States?

I believe that three of the main challenges facing the justice system are the need to effectively streamline the case management process while ensuring that parties have every opportunity to be heard; respond to the mental health concerns and needs of people appearing in court; and the lack of community participation in the jury process.

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