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Retiring judge asks court to force Crist to fill job

A retiring appellate court judge has asked the Florida Supreme Court to force Gov. Charlie Crist to appoint his replacement.

Judge Robert J. Pleus has continued to serve at the Fifth District Court of Appeal while waiting for Crist and the Judicial Nominating Committee that selected nominees for the job squabble over who should get the job.

The committee reviewed 28 applicants for the job last year and submitted six nominees to the governor. Crist asked the JNC to reconvene and submit a new list, saying he wanted more diversity. The JNC contends it is without authority to reconvene and come up with a new list.

The Constitution gives the governor 60 days after receiving a list of nominees to make the appointment, a deadline that elapsed on Jan. 5.

The petition to the state’s highest court was filed by Tallahassee lawyer Talbot “Sandy’’ D’Alemberte. Crist’s office had no immediate comment.
Lucy Morgan, Times senior correspondent