ENDORSEMENTS: Angela Dempsey has jurisprudence for county judge in Tuesday primary

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Incumbent Peter McGlashan put up $100,000 campaign war chest, but concern about his Speedway-connected contributions

Angela Dempsey endorsed for Volusia County Judge / Headline Surfer®Judge Peter McGlashan / Headline Surfer®Headline Surfer® endorses Angela Dempsey over incumbent Peter A.D. McGlashan, shown here in the inset, in the race for Volusia County judge in the Tuesday primary

DAYTONA BEACH -- County Judge Peter McGlashan early on put up a six-figure bounty hoping to dissuade any and all comers who would challenge him for his appointed seat on the bench in the current election cycle.

One candidate had the courage of her conviction to challenge him and that is Angela Dempsey, a DeLand-based private attorney. Dempsey has earned the endorsement of Headline Surfer® for her determination, grit and respect for the judiciary and the responsibility that comes with it.

Along the way, Dempsey raised an impressive $47,375. That's still less than half the $110,250 that McGlashan has in his campaign coffers. But Dempsey wasn't afraid to hit the campaign trail and get generate the funding to make this a legitimate race.

McGlashan plunked down $100,000 of his own money on March 31, as if to say, "If you want to play you've got to pay."

It didn't work.

The very next month, Dempsey started generating campaign revenues and methodically built up her own war chest over the next several months.

It's one thing that McGlashan and Dempsey accepted campaign contributions from colleagues and friends who are lawyers. But somewhat unsettling, though not improper was McGlashan's decision, as a sitting judge to accept funding from State Attorney R.J. Larizza and his wife, Helen Larizza, for $100. 

This seems incestruous and one has to ask whether it's even worth the hassle, considering it was a nominal fee. Is it really worth the scrutiny by a party appearing before McGlashan should he win the election and use it to call into question neutrality from the bench? A lawyer would probably not make such leap of faith, but what about a pro-se litigant? 

State Attorney RJ Larizza / Headline Surfer®It's one thing that McGlashan and Dempsey  accepted campaign contributions from colleagues and friends who are lawyers. But somewhat unsettling, though not improper was McGlashan's decision, as a sitting judge to accept funding from State Attorney R.J. Larizza, shown here at left, and his wife, Helen Larizza, for $100. 

This seems incestruous and one has to ask whether it's even worth the hassle, considering it was a nominal fee. Is it really worth the scrutiny by a party appearing before McGlashan should he win the election and use it to call into question neutrality from the bench? A lawyer would probably not make such leap of faith, but what about a pro-se litigant? 

And even more of a concern is an incumbent judge accepting campaign contributions from big-time political insiders associated with Daytona International Speedway. In this case, $500 from Charlie Lydecker of Brown & Brown Insurance and $1,000 from Mori Hosseini, listed in campaign reporting by his formal name "Morteza Hosseini Kargar."

Hosseini is the owner of ICI Homes and is an influential Republican Party booster, who of late has also bankrolled Democrats, too. 

Hosseini and Lydecker's boss, Hyatt Brown, are both on the board of International Speedway Corp. with Lesa France Kennedy, CEO, of the umbrella company that owns Daytona International Speedway and a dozen other tracks affiliated with NASCAR, the sanctioning body of stock car racing of which the France family has a controlling interest.

Again, there's nothing illegal or unethical about any of these connections under Florida election law, but it is surprising and somewhat disconcerting that McGlashan would saddle himself with the perception of being in the back pocket of the Speedway, which already has a reputation of controlling Daytona municipal and Volusia County government.

Especially this year, having received $24.5 million from the city and $20 million from the county towards its "One Daytona" retail village across from Daytona International Speedway where state lawmakers approved $90 million in taxpayer subsidies and the Department of Transportation has earmarked another $20 million for two additional walkway overpasses. 

Daytona International Speedway's Lesa France Kennedy sits in Volusia County Council chambers / Headline Surfer®Mori Hosseini, ICI Homes Daytona Beach builder / board of International Speedway Corp / Headline Surfer®Hyatt Brown of Brown & Brown Insurance of Daytona Beach / board of International Speedway Corp. / Headline Surfer®Charlie Lydecker of Brown & Brown Insurance of Daytona Beach, Fla / Headline Surfer®In the campaign for county judge, incumbent Peter McGlashan has Speedway-connected campaign donations of $1,500, from Mori Hosseini of ICI Homes, shown at far left in the inset, as well as $500 from Charlie Lydecker of Brown & Brown Insurance, at far right. Lydecker's boss, Hyatt Brown, and Hosseini, serve on the board of International Speedway with Lesa France Kennedy, CEO of ISC, shown in the display image. ISC owns 13 tracks, including Daytona International Speedway.

Again, there's nothing illegal or unethical about any of these connections under Florida election law, but it is surprising and somewhat disconcerting that McGlashan would saddle himself with the perception of being in the back pocket of the Speedway, which already has a reputation of controlling elected office holders Daytona municipal and Volusia County governments with extensive campaign contributions. Especially this year, having received $24.5 million from the city and $20 million from the county towards its One Daytona retail village across from Daytona International Speedway where state lawmakers approved $90 million in taxpayer subsidies and the Department of Transportation has earmarked another $20 million for two additional walkway overpasses. 

Headline Surfer® expressed its concern directly with McGlashan at a candidate debate he attended at the Brannon Center in New Smyrna Beach, for which he simply shrugged his shoulders and sheepishly responded, "Oh Well." 

It should also be noted for the record that Headline Surfer® offered advertising services to McGlashan and Dempsey. McGlashan said he was interested, but nothing materialized. Dempsey entered into an agreement with Headline Surfer for $600 worth of display advertising.

Angela Dempsey for county judge resume / Headline Surfer®Both candidates were made aware that the endorsement would likely go to one of them, but that it was not contingent on advertising.

And McGlashan received a "positive" write-up from Headline Surfer® while this is the first real recognition of Dempsey, editorially.

Additionally, Headline Surfer® has known McGlashan since he started out with the State Attorney's Office a decade ago and interacted with Dempsey for the first time just a few weeks ago.

Dempsey started her career as an attorney with the Florida Department of Children and Family Services. 

She left DCF to take a position with the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program in 2005, where she served until 2011, when she went into private practice. 

Dempsey earned her B.S., cum laude, from Florida State University and her J.D. from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law in 2004.

McGlashan, who earned his J.D. from the University of Florida College of Law in 1993 is clearly the more experienced of the two by virtue of his Dec. 8, 2005, appointment to the bench by then-Gov. Jeb Bush. This is his first contested election.

Prior to his appointment, McGlashan was a prosecutor for then-State Attorney John Tanner.

But it's John Tanner's former law partner in private practice, Michael Lambert, perhaps the most well-known defense attorney in the county, who whole-heartedly supports the upstart Dempsey. 

“Judges work for us, the taxpayer," Lambert said. "They are paid handsomely and the additional benefits, exceptional. In addition to being humble, honest, prepared, punctual, efficient, and fair, a judicial candidate should also have worked in the private sector before pursuing a taxpayer-funded position. That candidate understands the effort invested in earning his/her salary. That candidate is Angela Dempsey.”

Michael Lambert, Daytona criminal defense attornery supports Angela Dempsey for county judge / Headline Surfer®But it's John Tanner's former law partner in private practice, Michael Lambert, shown here, and perhaps the most well-known defense attorney in the county, who whole-heartedly supports the upstart Dempsey. 

“Judges work for us, the taxpayer," Lambert said. "They are paid handsomely and the additional benefits, exceptional. In addition to being humble, honest, prepared, punctual, efficient, and fair, a judicial candidate should also have worked in the private sector before pursuing a taxpayer-funded position. That candidate understands the effort invested in earning his/her salary. That candidate is Angela Dempsey.”

And that is one of the key differences in The Headline Surfer® endorsement of Dempsey.

While McGlashan has competently handled the job, he's a perceived insider who has spent his entire career working for government. And as part of his background, solely represented the interests of the state.

Angela Dempsey for Volusia County Judge endorsed by HeadlineSurfer.com / Headline Surfer®Photo for Headline Surfer® /
Angela (Bradley) Dempsey married longtime criminal- and family-law attorney Donald Dempsey, Jr., in 2011. Shown here as well is Donald Dempsey's 23-year-old son, Michael Dempsey, a pilot with Republic Airways based in Indianapolis,  and their little boy, Grayson, born in 2012. 
 

Dempsey, on the other hand, has had the experience of representing people presumed innocent and providing the legal representation for their day in court, either in criminal, family, civil, traffic or probate situations.

Veteran Daytona Beach criminal defense counsel Tom Mott recognizes those qualities in Dempsey, saying in part, "Having been in public and private practice for ten years, Angela Dempsey will bring a broad range of legal experience to the county court bench."

Like McGlashan, David R. Damore, senior partner with Daytona Beach-based Damore, Delgado, Romanik & Rawlins, once worked under John Tanner, more than a decade before McGlashan was hired.

In fact, Damore prosecuted serial killer Aileen Wuornos, who was executed by lethal injection in 2002.

Knowing both McGlashan and Dempsey, Damore said he supports the challenger.

"Angela Dempsey has the temperament and demeanor to be an outstanding jurist," Damore explained. "She is intelligent, hard-working, and professional. She is the better candidate for this position and has my vote."  

Perhaps Dempsey's biggest booster is Rick L. Jancha of DeLand, a partner with Nejame Law and a former lead federal drug prosecutor in Orlando, who Headline Surfer® has known and respected for 18 years. 

"Angela Dempsey has the intelligence and the experience to make a fine county court judge," Jancha insisted. "She is the best candidate for the job and has my full support."

Former federal prosecutor Rick L. Jancha supports Angela Dempsey for county judge / Headline Surfer®Perhaps Dempsey's biggest booster is Rick L. Jancha of DeLand, a partner with Nejame Law and a former lead federal drug prosecutor in Orlando, who Headline Surfer® has known and respected for 18 years. 

"Angela Dempsey has the intelligence and the experience to make a fine county court judge," Jancha insisted. "She is the best candidate for the job and has my full support."

Although this is a primary, the winner of the race on Tuesday between McGlashan and Dempsey will be elected as the next county judge.

With the accolades of some of the biggest attorneys in Volusia County and beyond supporting the challenger, Headline Surfer® takes into great consideration their accolades and puts the full force of its endorsement behind the candidacy of the challenger.

Angela Dempsey is an experienced and well-rounded attorney, wife, mother and clearly the better of the two county judge candidates worthy of election in Tuesday's primary. 

FAST FACTS: Angela Dempsey, endorsed candidate for county judge

Angela Dempsey endorsed by HeadlineSurfer.com for county judge / Headline Surfer®Age: 36
Family: Married, 1 child, 1 adult stepson
Education: 
• Daytona Beach Community College-Associate of Arts Degree, with honors;
• Florida State University--Bachelor of Science in Social Work, with honors;
• University of Arkansas at Little Rock--Juris Doctor, with honors;
Florida Bar admittance: 2004.
Career:
• Attorney, Florida Department of Children & Families in September of 2004;
• Florida Guardian ad Litem Program in May of 2005. Remained at the GAL Program as a senior program attorney for 6 years;
• Private practice in 2011, to present.
Experience:
• Handle different family law cases and civil cases, including evictions, ejectment & tax deed interpleader actions;
• Some experience in criminal law as well; 
• Extensive litigation &  trial experience.
• Serve as a pro bono guardian ad litem/attorney ad litem on juvenile & family law cases as appointed by the family and juvenile judges;
• On list of attorneys to represent children with special needs in Volusia County dependency cases;
• Spent the majority of career advocating for the most vulnerable children and families.
Judicial philosophy:
Aligned with the theory of strict construction. As Alexander Hamilton said of the judicial branch in the Federalist Paper No. 78, “... It may truly be said to have neither force nor will, but merely judgment."
Judges are in the business of applying and interpreting the law, not making it. The qualities most important for the role of a judge are judicial temperament, intelligence, integrity and experience. Generally, overcrowded dockets and lack of funding pose a big challenge to the judicial role. On the civil bench, you are dealing with mostly unrepresented litigants.
Famous precedent-setting case:
Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803). This is the most important decision as it relates to the office of a judge, because it confirmed the concept of judicial review—the ability of the courts to review whether laws conflict with the Constitution. The case reinforced the separation of powers, and the authority the courts have to determine the constitutionality of action of the other branches.

Did You Know?

Grayson Dempsey, child of county judge candidate Angela Dempsey / Headline Surfer®Photo for Headline Surfer® /
Angela Dempsey's toddler son Grayson, would be in trouble in the City of Ocala in Marion County under that municipality's 'no-more saggy pants' law approved by a unanimous vote of the Ocala City Council on Tuesday.
 
Ocala is not the first city in Florida to ban saggy pants. The city of Opa-Locka, was actually first to impose the ban back in 2007.
 
Daytona Beach doesn’t have a ban on saggy pants, but it was one of the first cities in Florida to ban “thongs” in public, except on the beach.
 
According to a story published online in the Ocala Post, fines for wearing saggy pants that show a person’s “crack” or underwear range from $25 to a whopping $500, depending on where you are, and if you are a first time offender. Habitual offenders could actually be arrested and charged with indecent exposure.

Previous Related-Coverage: 

Ex Daytona Mayor Glenn Ritchey endorses County Judge Peter McGlashan / Headline Surfer®County Judge Peter A.D. McGlashan receives endorsement of ex-Daytona Mayor Glenn Ritchey
Posted Sat, 2014-08-09 01:18

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories narly eveenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in Wst Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.