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Lawyer group blasts JNC's Jimenez pick

The Judicial Nominating Commission ''ran afoul of Florida law'' and appeared to bow to political pressure when it nominated Miami lawyer Frank Jimenez for the Florida Supreme Court, a group of high-powered lawyers complained in a strongly worded letter Monday.

Jimenez, a politically connected attorney who is currently the U.S. Navy's general counsel, was nominated for the seat Wednesday after a long and contentious JNC meeting called in response to Gov. Charlie Crist's request for more ''diversity'' in the list of prospective justices. Amid frequent 5-4 votes, the commission suspended its rules at times as some members questioned what they were doing and what Crist's motives were.

''We are very concerned that the integrity of the process with respect to the nomination and selection of justices and judges may be tainted in the eyes of the public,'' said the letter to JNC chairman Robert Hackleman.

It was signed by 17 attorneys, including former Florida Bar President Kelly Overstreet-Johnson, Wayne Hogan, two former Fifth District Court of Appeal judges and state Sen. Alex Villalobos, R-Miami, and his father, José.

Yesterday's story here

Download hackleman_concerns_re_jnc_procedures.doc