Kathy Weston sets bar high for circuit judge with wealth of experience, integrity & commitment

Endorsement: Kathy Weston for Circuit Judge / Headline Surfer®
Internet newspaper endorses Kathy Weston for circuit judge / Headline Surfer®Kathy Weston & family / Headline Surfer®Photos for Headline Surfer® /
Kathy Weston is shown here in the inset with her children when they were a little younger, having raised them as a single mom for 10 years after divorce. Despite the deep commitment to her children, Weston has carved out an impressive legal career as a litigant and law partner as she counts down the days to Nov. 4 general elections and her quest to become a circuit judge un the 7th judicial circuit with voting in Volusia, Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties. 
 
DAYTONA BEACH -- There are few attorneys out there who have the legal knowledge, insight and family pedigree to be a circuit judge like candidate Adam Warren. But in this particular race, there is an even better choice: Kathy Weston.
 

Without hesitation, HeadlineSurfer.com gives the full weight of its endorsement in the Nov. 4 elections to Kathy Weston, candidate for 7th judicial circuit (Group 20) in Volusia, Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties.

Weston strong in often complex cases such as family law

Why Weston? "Experience, integrity & commitment." But there's more than the cliched phrase. Weston has the "it factor" -- the intangibles. She is very intelligent, insightful, personable and has demonstrated she can stand on her own and take care of business.

Kathy Weston, candidate for circuit judge, was a Daytona Beach cop / Headline Surfer®
Kathy Weston, candidate for circuit judge, was a part-time cop with the Daytona Beach police force as shown in this image (in the forefront) while she was getting her undergraduate degree.
 

Weston put herself through school. She's been a cop, an accountant, and of course, has carved out a successful career as a litigant and law partner.

For the past decade since divorce, the 44-year-old Weston has raised her four children, ranging in age from 18 to 11. She has recently gotten engaged.

Adam Warren, 33, is single with no kids. He has the time to delve more into his career and has made the most of his opportunities without the added responsibility of raising a family. That is not a knock on either candidate, but rather an observation.

What's unique about this race for judge is the likely docket the winner will inherit: Either family law or dependency, both demanding civil assignments that require a jurist of Weston's pedigree. The reality is Weston is far more experienced in these types of cases.

And while Warren, a former prosecutor, has an edge in felony criminal prosecutions and some exposure to civil and family law with the 5th DCA, Weston has the experience of complex litigation in the courtroom as well as life experiences as had of a single-parent household. She knows what it's like to raise kids out of divorce.

And as a former cop, she's experienced first hand the brutality of homicide, domestic abuse, juvenile crime and the impact of drug and alcohol abuse on families.

The internet newspaper has immense respect for Adam Warren, whose mother, Stasia Warren, was a longstanding Volusia County judge before retiring to run as a Democrat against State Attorney R.J. Larizza in the 2012 elections, a campaign she nearly won (even taking Volusia County against the then-first-term GOP incumbent).

And though he wasn't the biological father, the late Dan Warren, accepted Adam Warren as his son when he married Stasia Warren.

Dan Warren was a heck of a state attorney who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in St. Augustine to desegregate the beaches. And even later as a private attorney, the elder Warren challenged the validity of the sweetheart land-lease contract Daytona International Speedway got from the municipality half a century ago.

That Adam Warren was raised in such a household -- where two older half brothers, Ray Warren and Joe Warren, are both practicing attorneys in government -- is a testament to the legal foundation with which he has built his career and principles. 

Circuit Judge candidate  Adam Warren & mon, retired Volusia County Judge Stasia Warren / Headline Surfer®Photo for Headline Surfer® /
Adam Warren, candidate for circuit judge in the 2014 elections, is shown here with his mother, retired Volusia County Judge Stasia Warren.
 

In fact, Adam Warren states on his campaign website:

“I grew up in a home where most conversations involved some form of law. I’m comfortable saying, ‘My law education began 33 years ago.’ My mother, Stasia Warren, spent the last 20 years as a county judge and my late father, Dan Warren, served as state attorney, trial attorney and author. I have one brother who is an assistant state attorney and another who is a defense attorney at the Public Defender’s Office."
 

But where one comes from is far less important than where one is going.

It's not all that unusual for the next generation to follow in their parents' footsteps in a career in the "public sector," where, more often than not, it's who you know that opens doors.

Case in point: Adam Warren. He's a former assistant state attorney here in Volusia County and has worked as a staff attorney for the 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach.

Kathy Weston may not have been born into a family of legalese, but she's clearly self-made in charting a path of success in her legal career -- first developing an interest in the law while working during her senior year of high school as a clerk in the Criminal Investigation Division of the Daytona Beach Shores Police Department. She also worked as a cashier in a local grocery store; frequently more than 40 hours per week.

Despite her outside commitments, Weston graduated with honors from Seabreeze High School, where she was the only National Merit Scholar in her graduating class.

After graduating from high school, Weston got a job working the midnight shift in the records division at the Daytona Beach Police Department, while attending Stetson University during the day.

Weston took a break from Stetson to attend the Police Academy at then-Daytona Beach Community College, where she finished third in her class with a 4.0 grade average.  

From there, Weston worked as an emergency communications officer and part-time patrol cop with the DBPD.

She returned to Stetson, began working as an accountant, and graduated from the private college in DeLand with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting. That was back in 1995.

Divorced mother of four worked her way up legal ladder

Weston then seized on the opportunity to attend Notre Dame Law School as a recipient of the Thomas J. White Scholarship. She moved to South Bend, Ind., in the summer of 1995, and began law school that fall. During law school, Kathy focused her studies on tax and trial practice.

After graduating from Notre Dame with honors in 1998, Weston moved to Chicago and joined the Tax Practice Group of Baker & McKenzie, the largest such specialized law firm in the world. At Baker & McKenzie, she focused on state, federal, and international tax audits and litigation for multinational corporations.

Along the way, Weston also was raising her four children, with whom she returned to Volusia County as a single mom. She took a position as an associate attorney at the law firm of Smith, Hood, Perkins et al., where she parlayed her tax litigation experience into a general civil practice -- consisting of primarily business disputes and family law issues.

One of the senior partners, Dave Hood, the former state representative, was recently appointed to a circuit judgeship by Gov. Rick Scott.

In 2006, Weston joined the law firm of Cobb Cole in Daytona Beach, one of the most prestigious law firms in Volusia County.

Today, Weston is a partner at Cobb Cole and handles a variety of civil matters, including business disputes, family law, probate, guardianship, dependency, and tax matters.

Weston says her kids have always come first regardless of career demands

Kathy Weston & daughter Erin / Headline Surfer®Judge candidate Kathy Weston with her eldest child as a baby and now 18 / Headline Surfer®Kathy Weston is shown with the oldest of her four children, Erin, 18, and in the inset when Erin was a baby.
 
Despite her many professional successes, Weston remains most proud and committed to her four children, Erin, 18; Brian 16; Colin, 12; and Megan, 11.

And Weston lives in Ormond Beach, a few houses down the road from the house in which she grew up.

"My kids are everything to me," Weston told Headline Surfer®.

"I've made sacrifices to not only provide for them, but to set an example for them in the importance of education and helping others. My children have always come first and they always will no matter what I am doing."

Kathy Weston & family / Headline Surfer®Despite her many professional successes, Kathy Weston shown here, remains most proud and committed to her four children, Erin, 18; Brian 16; Colin, 12; and Megan, 11. Shown with Weston's children is her fiancee, Michael Slick, also a private attorney.

Weston lives in Ormond Beach, a few houses down the road from the house in which she grew up. 

"My kids are everything to me," Weston told Headline Surfer®. "I've made sacrifices to not only provide for them, but to set an example for them in the importance of education and helping others. My children have always come first and they always will no matter what I am doing."

And while she's had to go it alone for the majority of her children's upbringing, Weston has balanced career and family. And now she's engaged to be married to a private attorney. His name? Michael Slick. 

Weston readily concedes with a laugh that she has reason to pause whether to take the married name or keep her current name, if elected to the bench. After all, as much as she tries to downplay it in her own mind, Weston said she knows there will be snickers if she goes with "Judge Slick."

With the intensity of the campaign and all of the other daily demands of juggling family life and the law practice, Weston isn't consumed with the name game.

Temperament, experience & judgment key factors to success on the bench

Often times, when people think of judges, they think criminal because often the media focuses on sensational crimes like murder. But the judicial system deals with civil, family and probate issues, too.

Headline Surfer® is intimately familiar with the courts in the 7th judicial circuit and believes, Weston is by far the superior candidate in handling any and all of these assigned dockets. She has the temperament, experience and judgment (no pun intended), to sit on the bench and run a courtroom.

Whether it's a nasty divorce, a situation where a decision has to be made in a hearing whether to taker a child out of a home or a high-profile murder case, Weston is better suited to handle the tasks at hand, applying the rule of law and tempering it with decision-making that matters in the real world.

Prominent retired judges support Weston following their paths

And while Adam Warren has earned the endorsement of Diane Matousek, the longtime clerk of the circuit court of Volusia County, Kathy Weston has earned the same from eight retired circuit judges -- all of whom are well known for their work on the bench: David A. Monaco (5th DCA judge as well), Richard Graham, Hubert Grimes, Edward Hedstrom, William Johnson, Robert K. Mathis and John Upchurch.

Judge candidate Kthy Weston's dog / Headline Surfer®
This isn't McGruff the Crime Dog, but rather 'Sara,' a family pet that belong's to the sister of circuit judge candidate Kathy Weston, who carries the 'Kathy Weston for Circuit Judge' sign hanging off the collar.
 

This is not the first time Adam Warren has run for a judgeship.

Warren has been the bridesmaid in three successive public votes over the course of two consecutive campaigns for judge -- primary and general election for a county judge race two years ago and finishing a distant second to Weston in the Aug. 26 primary in this election cycle.

In 2012, Warren finished second in the primary in the race for a county judgeship among five candidates, garnering 25 percent of the votes behind the eventual winner, Christopher Kelly of Ormond Beach, who received nearly 32 percent of the votes.

In the run-off that November, Kelly won by a huge margin, capturing nearly 64 percent of the votes.

In this election cycle's primary, Warren with less than 30 percent of the overall votes, actually finished closer to third place in front of Steve de Laroche than Weston, who captured nearly 45 percent of the votes.

With Weston and Warren finishing first and second, respectively in overall vote counts in the four-county circuit, they'll square off again in the upcoming general election in less than two weeks.

Perhaps some day Adam Warren may become a judge -- either through an election or by appointment of the governor. But in this election, the HeadlineSurfer.com endorsement is beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt: Kathy Weston deserves the support of the electorate for circuit judge on Nov. 4.

Internet newspaper endorses Kathy Weston for circuit judge / Headline Surfer®Perhaps some day Adam Warren may become a judge -- either through an election or by appointment of the governor. But in this election, the HeadlineSurfer.com endorsement is beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt: Kathy Weston deserves the support of the electorate for circuit judge on Nov. 4.

Henry Frederick Picture

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 nearly evenly 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 West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.