Longtime Florida Keys attorney Jason Smith is the second person to announce his candidacy for county judge in Group 1. The primary election is August 23.

“I’m ready from day one to sit fairly and impartially because I have a passion for justice,” Smith said. “We live in an active, informed and concerned county that always pushes us to do better.”

Smith said his campaign is based on the same principles with which he practiced law for 35 years: experience, responsibility and equality.

His experience includes 35 years as a trial attorney, including “well over 50 felony trials, as well as numerous tort, family law, and civil trials.” Smith said he was also one of the few attorneys in Monroe County legally qualified to handle death penalty cases.

“The county court judge is not a moot post. This is hands-on work that requires an experienced lawyer. I am a strong supporter of the public service. I have represented people from all parts of our diverse community in a variety of cases with an emphasis on criminal matters. I had two stints in the public defender’s office and was in private practice for over 20 years,” he said. “I have represented these flesh and blood people who seek to lose their life, freedom, rights and property through the legal system. Engaging people in dire circumstances has given me insight into the nature character, motivations and the assessment of credibility. This is what you expect from your judge: understanding and discretion.

He stressed that all parts of the justice system must be held accountable for their actions in a fair and impartial manner. And all parties must be treated with equal justice under the law.

“Too often we don’t do it systemically. A judge must be aware of this and devote himself to this principle in order to do justice,” he said. “The importance of the work we do is to draw the most important lines that society can draw, the line between freedom and punishment, the taking of rights and the delivery of property into the hands of the state. state is allowed to impose these penalties and results to any degree, without going through the procedures and rituals that have to do with reliability and respect for dignity, supervised by a judge, then we are all less good.

Smith also praised outgoing judge Peary Fowler, saying, “She treated everyone who came before her with dignity and respect. She judged cases with empathy and intelligence. That’s what I aspire to do as a judge.

Smith is appearing against Key West attorney Al Kelley so far. Smith can be reached at 305-747-2926 or [email protected]