Judges wrap up West Pittman political series


Political candidates for Circuit Judge 14th Judicial Circuit Jim Fenson, Shalene Grover and Gerard M. Virga, Jr. wrapped up the political forum series at West Pittman Baptist Church on Saturday.

Cecilia Spears
Published: Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 06:03 PM.

WESTVILLE - Political candidates for Circuit Judge 14th Judicial Circuit Jim Fenson, Shalene Grover and Gerard M. Virga, Jr. were the last to speak in a three part series of political forums at West Pittman Baptist Church in Westville on Aug. 16.

Opening the forum, all of the candidates were asked to introduce themselves and provide a little background.

Fenson began the introductions, saying that he was born and raised in Port St. Joe, attended the Auburn University where he met his wife and then went to law school. During the second year of law school he married and after graduating he became a legislative assistant. He then became a prosecutor then worked for a law firm.

"I've had a broad variety of experience as I've had over 100 jury trials," said Fenson. "I've taken that knowledge in practicing law and the knowledge from growing up in a small town from your teachers, your preachers, your coaches. I've taken all that I've learned practicing law and as a judge to help me administer the court system."

Grover followed by introducing herself as a resident of Blountstown, married with two sons, with a practice in Marianna focusing on family law, been the county attorney for Leon County for 13 years and has experience in a large variety of law.

"Experience is important but what I think is the most important criteria in selecting a judge is the person's temperament and what sort of temperament they have," said Grover. "I believe someone must have the ability to process cases effectively, efficiently and professionally and give people the courtesy and dignity that they deserve."

Virga was next, informing everyone he grew up in Panama City Beach, he still lives there with his wife and two children and explained that he had a unique reason for becoming a lawyer. He said he started off as a school teacher for delinquent children and one of the children was there because the child didn't want his father to go to jail for being a "drug mule."

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