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Marc Dwyer, Candidate for Circuit Court Judge, Group 5 (Flagler County)

| August 7, 2010

marc dwyer candidate for judge flagler county seventh judicial district

Marc Dwyer. (© FlaglerLive)

A resident of Flagler County for 14 years, Marc Dwyer is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. At 42, he’s not quite the youngest candidate running for Kim Hammond’s seat in the 7th Judicial Circuit (Ed Haenftling Jr. is, at 36). Dwyer is the son of a Jamaican father and Cuba-born mother, both of whom immigrated to the United States in the early 1950s.

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Dwyer grew up in Brooklyn, attended the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan’s Lower West Side—commuting from Queens, where his parents had relocated—then Queens College. He moved to Palm Coast in 1996 and earned his law degree from Florida Coastal University in 2002. He joined Stephen Knight in private practice and the two started Knight & Dwyer in 2004. Dwyer’s eight years as a lawyer make him the candidate with the least experience among the six running for the seat.
Aside from immigration and labor law, Dwyer says his practice fields all other forms of law. His tally: some 750 clients in eight years.

At a July forum Dwyer was asked how he’d handle an ethical dilemma. Conflicts of interest, he said, are the most common such conflicts in law. He described a case involving “a longtime acquaintance” who referred him to his mother, who wanted to buy property in Florida—for her daughter. Dwyer helped the woman through the legalities, including a lease agreement. Mother and daughter were then estranged. The mother wanted to evict her daughter—and asked Dwyer to represent her. The daughter wanted Dwyer to help her fight her mother. “I had to tell them both I cannot help either of you, and even responding to you could violate the rules of the bar,” Dwyer recalled. His acquaintance-friend asked him for help “off the record.” His answer: “As a friend, you really don’t want to put a friend in a position where he would run afoul of the rules of the bar, would you?”

Dwyer has, in fact, run afoul of the rules of the bar in a minor matter that drew a two-year probation from the bar in February 2008: he had mishandled an escrow account—the type of escrow account every lawyer has—though the bar found the mishandling to be a negligent clerical error (and more specifically a software issue), involving a relatively negligible amount of money, rather than anything malicious. No client’s money was ever misused.

Dwyer’s view on youth violence: when it’s glorified in video games, television and other media, youths get the wrong idea, get desensitized to the consequences of violence, and do wrong things knowingly. When asked, as he has asked teen-agers, why they do the things they do, their standard answer is: “I don’t know,” Dwyer said. “If they learn about building up society,” he said, referring to more civics lessons in schools, “then they’ll be less likely to tear it down when they grow up.”

Making his case for replacing Hammond, who’s been on the bench for 32 years, Dwyer counters his young age with an unspoken contrast about his opponents’ age: By electing him, Dwyer said, voters “have an opportunity to settle and have stability for our jurisprudence in this county for a long time.”

Dwyer is married and has three children.

Candidates for Circuit Court Judge (Click on the Name to Go to the Candidate's Page)

Group 5 (Flagler County Seat)
Dennis Craig
Marc Dwyer
Ed Haenftling Jr.
Joe Horrox
Sid Nowell
John Selden
Profiles of candidates in Group 3 and Group 10 will post next week.
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