Spread the Word! Amir Ladan Runs for County Judge in Florida. News and Q&A
April 19, 2010, Florida – A former Assistant State Attorney, husband, father, and dedicated member of his community, Amir Ladan is running for Seminole County court judge in Florida. If successful, he will become the first Iranian American elected to the Florida State Court.
Ladan is a long time resident of Seminole County where he graduated from Lake Howell High School before attending Rollins College. While attending Rollins College, Ladan majored in politics and was named an Algernon Sydney Sullivan Scholar. He then received his Juris Doctor from the University of Miami in December of 1997 and was admitted to the Florida Bar in the April of 1998.
From 1998 until 2001, Ladan served as an Assistant State Attorney for Lawson Lamar, State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit (Orange and Osceola Counties). During this period, he prosecuted thousands of cases ranging from low level misdemeanors to life felonies in both adult and juvenile court. In 2001, Ladan, along with his trial partner Keith Carsten, co-founded Carsten & Ladan, P.A. The firm focuses on criminal cases throughout Central Florida and is comprised of four attorneys working out of their Orlando and Kissimmee offices.
To be eligible for the office of county judge in Florida, a person must be an elector of the county and must have been a member of The Florida Bar for five years. County judges serve six-year terms and the jurisdiction of their courts extends to civil disputes involving $15,000 or less. The majority of non-jury trials in Florida take place before the County Courts.
The election for Seminole County court judge will be held on August 24th of this year. Ladan’s competitors include former Seminole County Attorney Greg Hass, workers compensation specialist Fred Schott, and current Seminole County Judge Ralph Eriksson.
Ladan has received endorsements from over twenty-five attorneys and business leaders. On March 22nd, he received the support of Lawson Lamar, State Attorney for the 9th Judicial Circuit of Florida. “In my opinion, you posses the experience, character and respect for the rule of law that a proper judicial temperament requires,” explained Lamar in an endorsement letter. “I am honored to endorse your candidacy for Seminole County Court Judge.”
Click here to learn more about Amir Ladan’s campaign.
Recently, PAAIA and its connected PAC, the Iranian American Political Action Committee, had the opportunity to sit down with Amir Ladan and discuss his campaign for Seminole County Court Judge.
PAAIA/IAPAC: What motivated you to run for public office?
Ladan: I have been an attorney since 1998 and have spent the past twelve years practicing criminal law throughout Central Florida. I had the privilege of beginning my legal career as a prosecutor in Orlando. That experience not only taught me a great deal about how to be a trial attorney, but it made me proud to serve the community in such a meaningful and personal capacity. After leaving the State Attorney’s Office, I founded Carsten & Ladan, P.A. and have enjoyed the fruits of my labor. My partner and I have built a successful criminal defense practice that is well regarded in the community, by both our peers and our courtroom adversaries, for the quality of our work and the ethics of our conduct. While building a successful business has many rewards, I wish to serve my community in a greater capacity. It is in that vein and with that commitment to service that I wish to be elected to the bench.
PAAIA/IAPAC: What are some of the challenges you believe your campaign committee must overcome to mount a successful campaign?
Ladan: One of the largest challenges in a judicial campaign is overcoming voter apathy. This apathy is a by-product of several factors, which include the strict restrictions on what a judicial candidate is permitted to say (which is very little), the lack of substantive information on the candidates running for office and the general public’s lack of appreciation for how a judge may impact their lives. As such, it is incumbent on the candidates to inform the public about their campaign while adhering to the standards required of the position. In the end, name recognition is key to success in these campaigns.
PAAIA/IAPAC: What are the fundraising goals of your committee?
Ladan: We expect the campaign to actually be two campaigns in one, in that it is a near certainty that there will be a primary followed by a runoff to determine the ultimate winner. As such, our goal is to raise sufficient funds to cover both aspects of the race. The campaign expects to spend $150,000.00. Fundraising in a judicial campaign is complicated, as the candidates are not permitted to directly solicit funds in any form or fashion, so those efforts fall on the shoulders of the campaign committee.
PAAIA/IAPAC: What are some of the critical issues facing the Seminole County Court?
Ladan: There are a number of issues that are relevant to the voters of Seminole County, but I see two in particular that stand out. First, there is the integrity of the judiciary. When the judiciary fails to conduct itself in a way that honors the law and respects those that appear before it, it does more than impugn the institution of law, it violates the public trust. Judges hold a place of special esteem in our society. They are the embodiment of the checks and balances inherent in our government which safeguard and ensure that no branch of government overstep its bounds. I pledge to uphold the integrity of the court and the letter of the law. Secondly, there is the issue that is impacting government at all levels – inadequate funding. When the judicial process is under funded, the citizenry suffers in a number of ways. Cases are backlogged, delaying and in some cases impeding justice for victims. Parties to these cases are often indirectly and inadvertently imposed on by a system that is overburdened with cases and incapable of dealing with them effectively and efficiently. I pledge to make every effort to ensure that each case is afforded the time and attention it deserves, while improving on the efficiency in which they are handled.
PAAIA/IAPAC What role do you think Iranian Americans can play in your campaign and what do you expect from the community?
Ladan: I have been overwhelmed with the support of the Iranian American community. I appreciate their interest in promoting the campaign and my candidacy and I am inspired to live up to their expectations. As a relatively new segment of the American melting pot, the Iranian American community is underrepresented in our government. I hope that with their support, we will continue to demonstrate our value and ensure our place as active participants in our democratic process. Through these combined efforts, I hope to play a small role in making an impact on not only how our people are viewed by society, but on how we can incorporate our heritage and culture to the forefront.
PAAIA/IAPAC: What role can organizations like PAAIA / IAPAC play in assisting your campaign?
Ladan: Spread the word! A successful campaign for a county court judge position is won or lost on name recognition. This can be achieved in a variety of ways and PAAIA / IAPAC is well equipped to participate in that process.
Thank you for affording me the opportunity to speak to the Iranian American community through your organizations. I truly appreciate the opportunity to be heard!