Judges Survey 

John Kirkland

John Kirkland
John Kirkland

District: County Judge

2010 Overall Legal Ability Communication Ability Written Decisions Professional Conduct
7.37 7.34 7.48 7.10 7.56

Comments
Likeable; fair.

One of our best county judges.

Doing good job.

Righteous religious in your face judge.

What were you people thinking?

Very good. Will make a great circuit judge one day.

Likes himself too much.

Very courteous.

Tries to sound a lot smarter than he really is.

As a judge I wish he wouldn't lean so much on the Bible. An awesome judge, though, despite that.

Good job so far.

Very friendly. Treats everybody with respect. Very thorough and explains things well to Defendents. Fair in sentencing. One downfall - very state oriented in decisions. Will find against state or defense XXXX and find case law supporting his position to d

OK, but too much ego.

Jury's out but seems to be disappointing in many respects. He tries hard.

The model of integrity and character. Brilliant and professional. No other judge can touch his intellect and enthusiasm.

Works hard. A bit of a "know-it-all."

The personification of professionalism. Embodiment of competence. Judge Kirkland has no equal.

Really nice man. Sometimes too nice. Often gives benefit of doubt where he shouldn't. Needs to be more authoritative.

Talks too much on each case.

So-so.


Article
By ERIC PERA
THE LEDGER

John Kirkland's ranking moved up this year in the latest Ledger survey of lawyers.

He jumped to sixth among the 10 Polk County judges this year, with an overall rating of 7.37 out of 10. He placed seventh in The Ledger's 2008 bar survey.

Once again, he scored highest in the professional conduct category, with 7.56. His low score of 7.10 was for written decisions.

Respondents praised Kirkland's work ethic and courtroom demeanor.

'The personification of professionalism,' one lawyer said. 'Judge Kirkland has no equal.'

Another lawyer said he's 'the model of integrity and character, brilliant and professional.'

Some lawyers criticized Kirkland for what they characterized as his 'know-it-all' attitude.

One lawyer said he is 'OK, but too much ego.'

Kirkland scoffed at the notion he's any more knowledgeable than other judges.

'I've got a lot more to know,' he said.

One lawyer praised Kirkland for being respectful and fair but criticized the judge for being 'very state-oriented in decisions.'

'I guess that means I rarely grant motions to suppress,' Kirkland said. 'Needless to say, that's not true. I consider the facts, and if the case law is in support of their motion, then I should grant it. And if it's not, then I should deny it.'

Kirkland, 58, is a former prosecutor and assistant public defender. He grew up in Winter Haven and majored in education at the University of South Florida. He graduated from Stetson University College of Law in 1978.

In 2006, Kirkland won a three-way race for county judge and began his judicial career in small-claims court.

He lives in Lakeland with his wife of 21 years, Elizabeth. He has two grown children and four grandchildren.
District: County Judge

2008 Overall Legal Ability Communication Ability Written Decisions Professional Conduct
7.17 7.01 7.37 6.89 7.40

Comments
John Kirkland

A very experienced attorney who has the makings of a fine judge.

A welcome addition; very polite.

Bit of a stuffed shirt at times.

Civil law; was a good trial attorney; good grasp on rules.

Excellent knowledge of the law.

Experienced before bench, does very well.

He loves his job and it shows; great rapport with clients; fair hardworking .

Learning the job; a little slow, but should catch on.

One of the truly outstanding people you'll meet in life; has brought fairness and impartiality to its apogee in Polk

County.

Very preachy.


Article
By SHOSHANA WALTER

The Ledger

John Kirkland ranked seventh among the 10 Polk County judges in The Ledger's 2008 survey with an overall rating of 7.17 out of 10.

His highest score was 7.4 for professional conduct, and his lowest, 6.89, was for written decisions. Kirkland, 56, was appointed to the bench in 2006 and wasn't rated in The Ledger's previous survey.

"A very experienced attorney who has the makings of a fine judge," wrote one respondent, while another said Kirkland was still learning: "A little slow but should catch on."

Kirkland, a former prosecutor and assistant public defender, was described as fair and knowledgeable about the law, which a few noted stemmed from years of experience. There were a few criticisms. One called him "preachy.''

He's still new to the job, but Kirkland said he has felt right at home.

"I love it. I'm in a really good place for me," he said.

Kirkland said the job takes patience, but he enjoys dealing with people who are not as knowledgeable about the law.

"I'm pleased that my highest rating (for professional conduct) was in the area I personally consider most important," Kirkland said. "There's always room for improvement. Since this is a new thing for me, I'll try to do better as I go."

Kirkland, 58, grew up in Winter Haven and attended Polk Community College before transferring to the University of South Florida, where he majored in education. He graduated from Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg in 1978.

After working as an assistant public defender in Bartow for about a year, Kirkland moved to the State Attorney's Office where he served as a prosecutor for 14 years. In 2006, Kirkland won a three-way race for county judge and in January 2007 began his judicial career in small claims court. His term expires in 2012.

Kirkland lives in Lakeland with his wife of 19 years, Elizabeth, a dental hygienist. His two grown children live in Auburndale and San Francisco.


 
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