W. Scott Westbrook is one of seven candidates for Flagler County Judge in the Aug. 14 primary election.
The county judge election is a non-partisan race: all registered voters in Flagler County are eligible to cast a ballot in this case–whether Democratic, Republican, Independent or from a minor party. You may cast a vote regardless of the district, the town or the subdivision you live in. If one of the seven candidates wins more than 50 percent of the vote, that candidate will be the winner, and will replace County Judge Sharon Atack, who is resigning at year’s end.
If none of the candidates wins with 50 percent or more of the vote, then the top two vote-getters will head to a run-off in the Nov. 6 general election.
FlaglerLive submitted 14 identical questions to the seven candidates, who replied in writing, with the understanding that some follow-up questions may be asked, and that all exchanges would be on the record. Follow-up questions, when necessary, appear in italics, and may be awaiting answers.
A style note: some lawyers are in the habit of capitalizing quite a few words that would not normally be capitalized in journalistic style. The capitalizations and similarly, specifically legal stylistic quirks have been preserved as a reflection of each attorney’s style.
The Questions in Summary: Quick Links
- Law school
- Disciplinary issues
- Fair treatment: pro se defendants
- Determining witness credibility
- Is a cop’s word more trustworthy than a defendant’s?
- Knowledge of civil law
- Technology and docket efficiency
- Religion and interpretation of law
- Legal role model
- For love of law or money?
- Your prejudices
- Your temperament
- Judging your opponents
- Judging yourself
Place and Date of Birth: April 20, 1969 in Mt. Vernon, Ohio.
Current job: Assistant State Attorney (Prosecutor), Flagler County.
Years practicing law: 14 Years and 10 Months.
Self-Disclosure Statement with the Florida Bar: Available here.
1. Where did you go to law school, what was your GPA, and how did you rank in your class?
In 1994 I graduated from Stetson University with honors and started at Florida State College of Law. I maintained a cumulative B average until being diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy in my last year of law school and graduated with a cumulative GPA of 79.48 and falling into the bottom half of my class. My wife and I learned to cope with the diagnosis, and I went on to pass the bar exam the same year. Now, I find myself still able to walk and running for county judge 15 years later.
2. Have you ever faced a disciplinary issue at any level before the bar (even if it was dismissed), and if so, what were the outcomes?
The Live Interviews:
Flagler School Board
Flagler County Sheriff
3. Many of your defendants in county court will be representing themselves (pro se). What is your strategy for dealing with pro se defendants who will be facing polished attorneys? How will you ensure that they will be treated as fairly, and what allowances will you make for their self-representation, if any?
First, I will always make sure that a pro se defendant understands what he or she is doing by choosing to proceed pro se and (in criminal court) giving up his or her right to an attorney. I will certainly encourage having an attorney in most instances. I will inform pro se litigants and prompt them when necessary so that they are able to ask questions and make statements at the appropriate times during the proceedings. Finally, I will treat every litigant and what they have to say with respect whether or not they are represented by an attorney. The law and justice do not change because an attorney is or is not involved. Experience has taught me the importance of listening to every person when deciding critical issues.
4. As a judge, one of your most important tasks will be to determine the credibility of witnesses. What factors will you rely on to determine credibility? How do you see the difference between a witness in dreadlocks and tattoos as opposed to one in an Armani suit?
In County Court there are only a few times when it is the job of the judge to determine the credibility of a witness such as in hearings and non-jury trials. In jury trials, credibility is determined by the jury. My experiences as a prosecutor and in life have taught me that the credibility of a witness does not depend on how they are dressed or how artful a speaker they are. Some of the key factors to credibility are consistency, answering questions without hesitation or prompting, eye contact, and body language. I have spent years assessing the credibility of witnesses and evidence in tens of thousands of cases. I will use all of those years of experience in dealing with these issues as the next Flagler County Judge.
5. Along the same lines, it is often the experience of defendants in court that between the word of a cop and the word of a suspect, in he-said-she-said cases, the cops’ word will generally prevail. Explain first why you think that is, and explain to what extent, if any, a cops’ word would carry more weight in your court room than a suspect’s.
Law enforcement officers are charged with enforcing the laws of our state, and everyone in our justice system and our community relies on them to enforce those laws honestly and fairly. That is why it is so serious and detrimental to our justice system if an officer fails to do so. In addition, officers are trained to make observations and to record those observations in their reports or citations. Consequently, when judging an officer’s testimony the court often has the benefit of a report or statement made by that officer at the time of the alleged incident that can be compared to what an officer is saying in a hearing or trial. However, judges should not automatically say that one person’s word carries more weight than another’s. We must judge from the circumstances of each case including the interest of a particular witness in the outcome of the hearing, whether any contradictory statements have been made at prior times, and what if any reports were made that might shed light on the truthfulness of the witness’ testimony. In judging an officer’s testimony, the court generally has the benefit of reports that were written by the officer at or near the time of the incident.
How different are those reports from the officer’s word? In other words, can’t those reports be fabricated or embellished as easily as live testimony?
Reports give a judge something to compare to the officer’s testimony, reports often have information from more than one officer, reports put the officers statements in a context. A judge should use all of these clues and his or her common sense to assess testimony in court.
6. Understanding that judges do not—cannot—possibly read all their cases but rely substantially on lawyers’ arguments, and that you’ll face a considerable number of civil cases, how much civil law do you know? What areas of civil law have you practiced?
I have dealt with almost every type of civil matter that could come before a county judge. As a staff attorney in the 10th Circuit and here in the 7th Circuit, I have worked on civil issues ranging from premises liability, personal injury, foreclosure, eviction, contracts, and many more than I can list here. As a civil attorney, I have worked on products liability cases, premises liability cases, civil rights cases, and construction cases among others. I have drafted orders on nearly every type of civil case that might be seen in county court. That said, I believe reading the relevant portions of cases that are supplied by counsel should definitely be part of a judge’s job description. I believe it is possible to read the relevant cases. When there are attorneys involved in the case, it is the job of the attorneys to guide the court to the most relevant cases and how those cases impact the question being addressed.
7. How will you use technology to speed things along, and will you provide online scheduling of hearings that will be easily available to lawyers and public?
I will make full use of technology in the courtroom to speed things up and address issues quickly and efficiently. That will include using a laptop in the courtroom to access the clerk’s database and any other accessible databases when addressing cases. I will also be a proponent of creating a wireless network within our county courtrooms so that court personnel can quickly access information on cases and individuals who appear before the court. In addition, as county judge I would be a proponent of using some form of online scheduling system at the very least to make it easier for the public and attorneys to keep track of hearings and court dates. In addition, our courtrooms are open to the public and the public should be able to track what is going on in our courts. The public should be encouraged to visit our courtrooms and observe the workings of their justice system, and I believe allowing observation is a great educational tool for our citizens.
8. What role does religion play in your personal life and your interpretation of law, and how do you intend to keep the two separate?
I am a Christian. As a Christian, I believe that every person is important and that I am not more important than another person because of my status, education, or background. My wife and I have regularly attended church our entire lives, and we are active members of First Baptist Church of Palm Coast. I believe in applying the law fairly to every person no matter what their belief system, religion, background, education, status, or appearance. As the next Flagler County Judge, I will strictly follow the law, and I believe that is the best way for judges to avoid making decisions for personal reasons.
9. Name one currently sitting U.S. Supreme Court judge you have the most affinity for legally and philosophically.
There are a number of Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court that I feel an affinity to legally and philosophically. Consequently, there is no easy answer to this question. Having spent so much time writing judicial orders, studying our constitution, and studying our history, I would have to say that I most enjoy the writing and reasoning of Justice Scalia, and I find his background fascinating since he was at one time a Law Professor.
10. Attorneys, as in so many professions in today’s dismal economy, are hurting for work. Not many can pull in the guaranteed $134,280 a year you’ll be making as a county judge. Understanding that you’re obviously doing this for the good of your community and for the most noble motives possible, you’re also human, you likely have or will have a family, and it’s no secret or sin that some of you are running to land a steady salary. To what extent is that guaranteed income driving your desire to be a county judge?
One thing that I have learned over the years in life and as an attorney is that career moves based solely on money are almost always bad. I have been eligible to run for a judicial position for nearly a decade and have not attempted to run for such a position or sought an appointment to such a position. Although the salary for a sitting county judge is great, I would not be running for this position if I believed that one of the other candidates for this position could best serve the county where I live and am raising my family.
11. We all have prejudices at some level. What are yours?
I don’t consider myself to have any prejudices, unless believing that the United States constitution and founding principles lead to this nation’s greatness and made this nation a force for good around the world somehow fits in that category. There should be no place in our judicial system for people who have prejudices against others because of their belief system, religion, background, status, or ethnicity.
12. Describe, in as much detail as possible and with examples, your temperament, your emotional hot buttons, and the scale of your ego.
I believe that I have an even temperament, and as most good lawyers, I know how to keep my emotions in check in the courtroom. At the same time, I don’t believe a show of emotion by a prosecutor or any other attorney who litigates is a bad thing. As a prosecutor, I have been known to occasionally show some emotion in the heat of a trial or hearing and sometimes during arraignments as well. I even believe that a show of emotion within reason can serve a useful purpose in the courtroom from making the point that a certain type of behavior simply is unacceptable or encouraging people (especially young people) not to want to be back in the same situation. As for hot buttons, dishonesty and failing to take personal responsibility for ones actions are certainly at the top of my list. As for ego, I do not believe that a prosecutor or a judge should ever make decisions for personal reasons or because those decision will somehow benefit their career or reputation. That is a slippery slope that can lead to disastrous results and is not a recipe for justice. I truly believe that I am not better than anyone else simply because I have a degree or some type of status, and my goal has always been to act in that manner towards every person I encounter professionally or otherwise.
13. You’re part of a small community of lawyers who know each other, have likely faced each other in court or seen each other in action while waiting your turn, have been hearing and speaking about each other through the professional grapevine, and, being lawyers, likely have strong opinions about each other. In other words you know more about each other, especially regarding relevant matters in play here, than any member of the press or public could know. Enlighten us: give us, in your words and assessments, a brief synopsis of each of your opponents’ capabilities, strengths and foibles as you understand them, and whether, in your view, each is qualified to be a county judge.
I agree that the seven judicial candidates are part of a somewhat small community, and most of us have dealt with each other in one capacity or the other in court. As a prosecutor, I have prosecuted cases that were defended by four of my opponents. I have handled no cases defended by Craig Atack, and I have worked with Josh Davis during his three years with the state attorney’s office. So here is my synopsis of my opponents:
- Don Appignani: I have been dealing with Mr. Appignani for a few years as a criminal defense attorney. He and I have been attorneys for the same number of years (nearly 15 years), but I do not recall hearing his name or seeing him in court here in Flagler County more than two to three years ago. He has been professional and respectful in his dealings with me though I don’t think we have ever had an actual trial or motion hearing together. I do not think I can speak to his professional abilities as an attorney. However, he does not have my extensive experience in Flagler County and in Flagler County Court.
- Craig Atack: I have known of Craig most of my time in Flagler County through his mother Judge Sharon Atack. I recall a number of discussions amongst all of us in Flagler County Court regarding his graduation from law school and taking the bar exam. I had been prosecuting in the county courtroom for three years and had been an attorney for nearly nine years when he passed the bar exam and was admitted to the bar as an attorney. Craig has always been respectful and polite towards me in my few dealings with him in the past and throughout this campaign. I cannot speak to his abilities as an attorney since I have never actually had a case with him. However, Craig has been an attorney and public defender since 2006 (just over the 5 years required by law to run for a judicial position) and does not have the extensive experience that I have.
- Josh Davis: I have known Josh for approximately three years. Josh graduated from law school and was admitted to the bar as an attorney in 2006 (just over the 5 years required by law to run for a judicial position). I had been an attorney for nearly 9 years, had spent years as a staff attorney to multiple judges, had practiced as a civil attorney in state and federal court, and had been a prosecutor for three years when Josh became an attorney. Josh was the first attorney to truly share the county court docket with me at the state attorney’s office. I have spent time helping Josh with a number of jury trials and have observed him in the courtroom on numerous occasions. I believe he is a competent attorney. However, I still believe Josh has much to learn as an attorney and as a prosecutor. I cannot say that I believe he has the maturity or experience needed to be an effective county judge, and I have much more experience than Josh as an attorney, as a trial attorney, and as a prosecutor.
- Marc Dwyer: I have known Marc for a number of years as a criminal defense attorney here in Flagler County. Marc and I have had a number of hearings together, and I believe we have only had one trial together. Marc graduated from law school and was admitted to the bar as an attorney in 2002. I had been an attorney for five years, had practiced in state and federal court, and was staff attorney to Circuit Judge Kim C. Hammond when Marc became an attorney. I don’t recall seeing him in Flagler County Court more than a few years ago. Marc has always been polite and civil during our interactions as attorneys and during this campaign. However, Marc does not have nearly as much experience as I do as an attorney, as a trial attorney, and in Flagler County Court.
- Sharon Feliciano: I have known Ms. Feliciano as a criminal defense attorney for five or six years. I have had a number of motion hearings and pre-trials with Ms. Feliciano, but I do not believe I have ever had a trial involving Ms. Feliciano. She has been polite and professional in her dealings with me in court. Ms. Feliciano and I became attorneys in the State of Florida the same year (1997). I would not say that I have had enough experience with her to speak to her abilities as an attorney. I believe she has worked primarily as a criminal defense attorney (mostly in Putnam County) during her time as an attorney in Florida, and she definitely has much less experience than I do as an attorney in Flagler County and in Flagler County Court.
- Melissa Moore-Stens: I have known Melissa as a criminal defense attorney for at least six or seven years. We have had numerous hearings together and at least two trials together. I believe she is a competent and capable criminal defense attorney, and she appears to be a competent and capable family law or divorce attorney. My only experience with her has been as a criminal defense attorney. In that capacity, she usually does a good job of representing her clients. Melissa graduated from law school and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1998, one year after I was admitted to the Florida Bar (1997). We both attended law school at state universities. Melissa attended University of Florida, and I attended Florida State. Although Melissa and I have been attorneys for a comparable amount of time (14 and 15 years respectively), she does not have the extensive experience in Flagler County or in the Flagler County Courthouse that I do. I also believe that I have a more diverse background as an attorney because of the numerous issues I have dealt with as a clerk during law school, a staff attorney for numerous judges, a civil attorney in state and federal court, and a prosecutor for over nine years in this county. Furthermore, I believe that I have a more diverse life experience that allows me to have an added insight into the world and lives of the vast majority of people in our community. Though I have no doubt that Melissa is a good attorney, I believe that my experience in life, as an attorney, and in Flagler County will give me an advantage in this campaign and as the next Flagler County Judge.
14. Do the same for yourself: Dispensing with such matters as heredity and lengths of stay in Flagler County—which, we hope you agree, are as irrelevant to the law as skin color and culinary tastes—what makes you the best qualified for this position?
I am the most qualified candidate for Flagler County Judge because of my varied experience in life, as an attorney, and as a prosecutor; my belief that every person matters; my belief that no person is above the law or more important than another; my knowledge of Flagler County Court; my integrity and maturity; and my understanding of the role a judge plays in our judicial system. I believe that these are the factors that lead the Flagler County members of the Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association (which represents the vast majority of officers in our county) to vote to endorse my candidacy for Flagler County Judge.
Scott Westbrook seems to be the only candidate willing to answer all questions as asked without making excuses. I like this. His clean record, his experience overcoming adversity and most important, his long time serving Flagler County lead me to believe he is the best choice for judge.
I am curious to know what the consequences are of violation of the judicial conduct rules. Some of the questions, two in particular should have gone unanswered. I can assure you I will do some research and find an answer.
Scott Westbrook says
I am assuming you are referring to question 13 that asks each candidate to give an assessment of the other candidates in the race. Canon 7A(3)(e)(ii) governs what a judicial candidate can say in regards to an opponent in a judicial race and states that a candidate cannot “knowlingly misrepresent the identity, qualifications, present position or other fact concerning the candidate or an opponent.” It does not prohibit a factual statement as to the qualifications of an opponent. You certainly are welcome to research Canon 7 yourself and to look up how this provision has been interpreted by the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee. You may want to look at Opinion 2002-13 in particular. You can find a guide to Canon 7 at the Florida Supreme Court’s website http://www.floridasupremecourt.org. Just do a search at the top of the page for Canon 7.
Thank you for your interest in the race for Flagler County Judge and your interest in ensuring that the applicable ethical standards are followed by the candidates. I certainly agree that we should be held to the highest ethical standards and should not be doing anything unethical. Nor do I believe we should be slinging mud at our opponents or trying to dig up dirt on our opponents. I do not think my answer to question 13 falls into that category.
As for any other questions, Canon 7 does govern the conduct of judicial candidates and what they can and cannot say about controversial issues, political parties, etc. I do not see how any of my answers violate that canon. As with the other question, I would encourage you to look at Canon 7 yourself.
If Scott Westbrook became Judge of Flagler County, there would be an ENORMOUS amount of innocent people behind bars. He is not the right choice for our county.
FL informed voter says
I have heard Scott speak at a forum before, and he encouraged people to ask others about him. I did, and haven’t met a single person yet to say a kind word about him. I, myself, found him to be very rude and condescending towards others. These answers just confirm what others have said. I don’t think he should be telling people to ask about him if no one actually can say good things. Way to trash just about every single competitor also in these questions. Also, whoever “K” is on Scott’s team shouldnt be doing the same thing posting disparaging comments about most of these candidates also. I read up on Canon 7, as it was mentioned by a few people on here. I think Scott needs to read it, as he obviously doesn’t observe it with his comments or conduct. I don’t think his demeanor or attitude would make a good Judge.
Informed voter, voters and commenters are free to say whatever they please, absent slanderous or libelous comments, about these candidates, who have chosen to be politicians running for elected office. Canon 7 does not address voters’ conduct, only prospective judges’; Canon 7 indeed has no authority over voters or non-voters, and its authority over candidates does not have the power of law, though the Judicial Qualifications Commission is nothing to be trifled with: the fines it may impose on violators can be in the tens of thousands of dollars. According to the canon, candidates may not “knowingly misrepresent the identity, qualifications, present position or other fact concerning the candidate or an opponent, and they may “respond to personal attacks or attacks on the candidate’s record as long as the response does not violate” a prohibition against making statements on cases or issues that may come before the court. There is no explicit prohibition on candidates making statements, including analytical statements, on their opponents: the canon is carefully calibrated–and in some cases sloppily so, because it is out of balance and contradictory–to balance ethical conduct with First Amendment rights, which apply to political candidates in the public sphere much more than they do to them as lawyers or judges within the conduct of their official duties. Candidates can easily use Canon 7 to hide behind it by interpreting it more broadly than it should be, thus denying the voting public the transparency it needs before electing someone to what may be a lifetime position.
I will not vote for Scott Westbrook. He has proven over the years that he is more interested in “winning” , or getting feathers in his cap, than about the merits of a particular case. He has wanted to win to promote himself, to make a good track record for himself, not judging a case based upon the merits of right and wrong, just or unjustice. A true politician.
A Judge does NOT determine innocence or guilt! Do the crime….do the time!!
Mr. Westbrook has been a “PROSECUTOR” HERE in Flagler County for over 10 years….attempting to clean up our streets and trying to put the CRIMINALS behind bars!!
I like those credentials for Judge!!!
You have my vote Mr. Westbrook!!!
Flagler voter says
As a voter, I would like to know why he was never promoted to the felony division like all of the other candidates were. He mentioned some felony trial prosecuted before. Why is he not prosecuting felony crimes now?
“Evidence” determines innocence or guilt!!
That’s a pretty steep accusation Anonymous. Can you elaborate or are you bitter that a local prosecutor is just doing his job? I’ve never heard that he has conducted himself in an unfair manner.
pamala zill says
I am. Curios. As to why anonymous. Feels as they do? I do agree. That Mr. Westbrook is very forthcoming. In his responses. A extremely rare. And admiral. Quality. Also, I Am thrilled. Hee survived. And thrived through his health challenges ..of. which. Could and does happen to everyone. One way or another. At some point in life or another.
I’m not sure I understand why having so much experience in the Flagler County court system is such a plus…I would think experience in various court systems would be a plus.
#9…John Scalia? Really?
I think we need somebody who has not been part of the Flagler County system for so long to adequately serve as judge. It seems there would be too many personal vendettas against individuals that were found innocent that he had prosecuted. I have researched Scott and heard many comments about him and word of mouth is that he takes his losses very personal. Not something we need in our county for those that are indeed innocent.
I thought that Judges preside over cases and thus “judge” or “make judgments”. They allow or disallow what is or can be evidence to be introduced. A good judge must have the ability to be unbiased. What “Hmm” is saying has merit.
In reading back through the individual interviews tonight, I am once again negatively struck by stand out responses in Mr. Westbrook’s interview. I find that his mention of his medical issue smacks of gratuitous sympathy seeking. I am also put off by his constant referral to his “status.” Precisely what does he feel his “status” is? A person that truly feels himself no better than those around him does not make constant reference to his “status.” Additionally, his response to question number 8 regarding religion concerns me. Of the few candidates that made brief reference to their personal faith in their answer, those that did made it clear that there is a delineation between personal faith and the law. Mr. Westbrook’s answer was heavily laden with not only reference to his Christian belief system, but specified his denomination and church. What was blatantly missing was any type of statement that personal faith has no place in the courtroom. Most assuredly, he would respond with the same contention that other candidates replied that our laws carry the basic principles of his faith. This statement would not be false, however it is worth noting that the basic principles of Christianity are found within the majority of all faiths. By design, law is built upon the minimal moral principles of the majority and these basic moral principles are found throughout multiple cultures and faiths in the world. That said, the focus should be on the word “minimal.” A judge is not to write the law, but to interpret the law based upon the understood intentions of the lawmaking body. Interpretation comes initially from the specific wording of the law, secondarily from previous decisions in similar circumstances, and tertiarily from similar cases in other states. It is only in the rare circumstance that those options are unavailable that a judge is actually called upon to make the decision based solely upon his or her discretion. A justice that would allow his personal faith to enter into his interpretations risks overstepping the minimal moral boundary into an area of activism from the bench. Mr. Westbrook’s avoidance of making a specific statement denouncing the utilization of faith in decision making gives me cause for concern that he may be wittingly or unwittingly poised to become a “bench activist.” Additionally, his reliance upon his strong connectivity with and activity within his church as a campaigning tool lead me to believe that he would have difficulty in making a decision that would be in defiance of the church base that may have supported him to election. Frankly, I would be much more comfortable with a judge that kept his or her faith personal and remembered that his or her position is public.
Judges DO NOT make “judgements” (that is the last thing you want from a judge to make judgements to the accused, attorneys, juries or evidence) they follow the laws as written. As to allowing evidence into case again the judge must know the rule of the law on the books to determine if something is credible or worthy to stand as evidence. Judges DO NOT arbitrarily decide if something comes into evidence or not.
I as a voter I strongly support Mr. Westbrook!! As he has a proven record of being a prosecutor representing the “PEOPLE” us the citizens of this community by fighting to get criminals off the streets, in our courtroom, right here in our own community!!
“all questions” posed as a “total” to the candidates gives/gave a full view of that candidate. I choose to view a candidate as a “whole” person! Mr. Westbrook has been open and honest in his answers to questions posed to him, showing he has “nothing” to hide or be ashamed of!! I do like knowing the most I can about a candidate! I like knowing “exactly” who I am voting for. Maybe there are reasons why other candidates did not go in to depth in the same questions posed to them! Hello religion is NOT in the courtroom!! But again religious beliefs are a building block to everyone’s moral fiber….and having morals and respect are “good qualities” in anyone, no less for a candidate for a higher office.
Very interesting statement by you to Mr. Westbrook’s medical condition…
As you know Mr. Westbrook did completed law school, is well qualified and holds a prominent steady job in our community. Your reply rings of discrimination!! It would be just like saying a women running as candidate is only doing so to obtain the sympathy vote, because she is a woman so she must not be qualified, because she is a woman!!
I love when people throw the discrimination card to attempt to quiet opinions. As I am assured that I am in no way discriminating, the reference has no power over me. Perhaps your understanding of discrimination is skewed. Had I indicated that his medical condition precluded him from performing the job, then that would be discriminatory. Suggesting that he is relying upon it as a means of sympathy is not. As a parent of a special needs child, I feel I’m pretty clear on this.
At no point did I indicate he should “hide” or be “ashamed” of his faith. I stated that his heavy commentary on his faith and the absence of any statement that religion should not play into courtroom decisions give me cause to be concerned that his religious views may impeded his ability to provide fair and objective judgement. By the way, judges do issue you judgements. That is the term. Furthermore, your assertion that religious beliefs are a building block to everyone’s moral fiber is patently false. By your logic, an atheist would be incapable of being moral. As I indicated in my previous statement, the basic moral tenets of religions are seen across multiple cultures and faiths. the reason for this is that they are a basic moral principle of humanity. By design law is created based upon the minimal moral standards of the majority. When specific faiths enter into the equation, there is a danger to extend beyond those standards into personal belief. Before you go ahead and throw out the “This country was founded on Christian principle” argument, you should be aware that the majority of the founding fathers were actually Deists. Having morals are a good thing, adjudicating based upon personal religious belief is not. I did not say Mr. Westbrook would do so, I simply posed it as a possibility given the wording of his response. It is clear, however, that you lack the ability to disconnect yourself from the idea that religion = morality, and entertain this possibility objectively.
Thank you Scott for being the kind compassionate person that I have known for 25 years. Your courage, strength of character and steadfastness is something that as the grandmother to your children, I so, so admire; you are always there and I know this would be just as true if you are the next Judge in Flagler County.