This letter was provided to Ocala Post by Marion County Court judge Robert Landt.
I run a courtroom where the law rules supreme and everyone is treated with the fairness they are guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America. Over the last few weeks, my record has come under attack by the state attorney. Although the Judicial Canons severely limit what judicial candidates can say during the election process, I am specifically authorized to respond to attacks, which I believe has become necessary.
State Attorney Brad King wants you to believe … well, I’m not exactly sure what he wants you to believe because it keeps changing.
First, he claimed that because of limited resources he wanted to reduce the number of criminal dockets in Marion County from four to three. Next, he claimed the reduction was because the results in my courtroom weren’t favorable to him. Then he claimed “he did not have any input into the reassignment of any county judges prior to the motion he filed on July 17th,” even though his own employee, my opponent, posted on his campaign website a July 12th memo from Mr. King to all the county judges that did just that.
Finally, he’s now dragging up allegations he formally complained about over four years ago, which were investigated and cleared. If I had done what Mr. King complained about, I would have been sanctioned or removed from the bench, neither of which occurred.
Make no mistake, Mr. King is upset because I don’t always rule the way he wants. It is true — on several occasions, I have ruled to suppress evidence that his office has brought before the court because it violated the Fourth Amendment rights of the defendant. After 5 1/2 years on the bench, and approximately 7,000 criminal cases, only once — once in 5 1/2 years — has my ruling to suppress evidence been reversed by the Appellate Court. I stand by this record, and I am proud of this record.
Before being elected judge in 2012, I spent 25 years representing the people of Marion County as an attorney. This gave me a deep appreciation for both sides of every legal matter and is an important part of what makes me an impartial judge. I care deeply about this community and am a strong advocate of smart justice, which means I want outcomes that not only save our community’s taxpayers money but produce positive results for our community’s families, through utilization of alternative courts and other options.
Mr. King continuously complains that I am biased against him, but the real problem Mr. King has with me is that I am not biased FOR him. There is a significant distinction.
I swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution and I will continue to do so every day as your county judge. No amount of coordinated attacks, misleading information or dirty politics will ever change my commitment to that oath or my commitment to this community. Please exercise your right to vote. I look forward to continuing to serve as your county judge.
Robert E. Landt