District: Circuit Judge
Judge Cowden is beyond reproach. Searching in her effort to do equity she is a brilliant jurist and writes comprehensive and thorough opinions. She needs to control her courtroom and lawyers but does a good job.
Immature; lacks character to serve in this capacity.
Very good judge with great potential.
One of the most polite judges in Polk County.
Needs more life experiences. Should not lecture. Sometimes forgets she is not a prosecutor, but a judge. Don't help!
Very professional; respectful to all sides; runs a tight ship.
Judge Cowden works hard. She will be an outstanding jurist for years to come.
No question she was always a prosecutor!
Judge Cowden is very active in the local Bar Association and helping with Teen Court. Judge Cowden makes everyone feel welcome and is eager to help get the ball rolling or make it run smoother.
On a personal level, she's a very nice gentle woman. As a judge, it's very hard for her to relate to defendants because she just doesn't have a lot of "life experience."
Sharp legal acumen. One of the best circuit judges in Polk County.
Very gracious and professional. I may not always agree with her, but she treats everyone professionally.
Very fair and courteous to all parties.
Can be very professional but appears agenda-driven.
Judicial perfection. A class act and highly intelligent.
Tries very hard.
Wish all were this outstanding.
A fantastic judge. Fair to parties and attorneys. Friendly, thorough, above average legal ability.
Excellent temperament - considerate, respectful, but business like. However, seems one dimensional.
Naive in many ways.
Very polite and articulate. Will train up well when she learns that each case has two sides.
Makes good faith attempt at fairness.
Bright and authoritative. Not afraid to rule.
Very pleasant to lawyer and litigants alike but needs to be better educated about the law.
Too prosecution minded. Works in legal legal activities.
No nonsense, all business when necessary and caring when she needs to be.
Tough but fair. Very pleasant.
By Bill Rufty
Circuit Judge Angela Cowden was tied for eighth place among 28 circuit judges on The Ledger's survey of lawyers, though she only joined the upper bench in 2008.
Her overall ranking of 7.9, the same as Judge J. Michael Hunter.
In 2008 as a county judge, she ranked fourth out of the 10 on the county bench, and she was rated 7.72.
Cowden's highest individual rating in the 2010 survey was 8.56 for professional conduct and activities.
A majority of the 33 comments made by lawyers evaluating her were in this vein: "Judge Cowden is very active in the local Bar Association and helping with Teen Court," one lawyer in the survey wrote. "(She) makes everyone feel welcome and is eager to help get the ball rolling or make it run smoother."
There were only a few negative comments.
"She's a very nice, gentle woman. As a judge, it's very hard for her to relate to defendants because she just doesn't have a lot of 'life experience,'" said one lawyer.
At 43, with 9 1/2 years as a prosecutor, five years as a county judge and 22 months on the circuit bench, Cowden said she finds it difficult to understand where the lack of "life experience" is coming from.
"I listen to both sides fairly, and I do make firm decision but must decide on the rule of law," she said.
Cowden received a chemistry degree from Florida Southern College and worked as a chemist before going to Stetson University College of Law.
She is up for election this year.
She is single and lives in Lakeland.