No relief for county judge

County Judge Mark Yerman tries to schedule a case during an April 2017 hearing in county court. The state this year approved an additional county court judge because of Yerman's caseload.

Anyone wanting to try out for an open Citrus County judgeship can now submit their applications.

After a second county judge seat was approved and funded by the state during this year’s legislative and budgeting sessions, the 5th Judicial Circuit Nominating Commission (JNC) announced Thursday it’s looking for a Florida Bar member of at least five years to fill the vacant seat.

Prospective judges have until 4:30 p.m. Aug. 9 to submit hard-copy and electronic versions of their applications to the JNC’s chair, Robert W. Batsel Jr., at 1531 Southeast 36th Avenue, Ocala, Florida 34471.

To download applications, and for more instructions on how to submit them, visit www.floridabar.org/directories/jnc/applications/ or call Batsel’s office at 352-867-7707.

Interviews between the JNC and applicants are set for Aug. 23 at the Citrus County Courthouse in Inverness. Batsel said Friday he expects him and the rest of JNC's nine-member board that same day to send a letter of three to six names to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis' general counsel will then schedule interviews between the final applicants and the governor's office for DeSantis to announce his selection, Batsel said.

Whoever's appointed must be a resident of Citrus County at the time he or she assumes office.

Mark Yerman, the sole county judge whose term ends in 2022, and assisting senior judges, handle a docket of up to 12,000 cases a year, according to prior reports. Florida considers 6,500 cases a year to be the maximum threshold for a county judge.

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Contact Chronicle reporter Buster Thompson at 352-564-2916 or bthompson@chronicleonline.com.

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