Gooding seemingly continues to trample the Code of Judicial Conduct - Where is the Judicial Ethics Committee? - The Supervisor of Elections?

An Editorial Opinion by R. F. Mariano

UPDATE: 09/09/02 - 7:30pm

This Email speaks loud and clear on its own.......

This came to me from Patty Welch, who is the sister-in-law of my friend Sybil Lazarus.




If any of you are undecided as to who you are voting for in the judicial section of the election on Tuesday I would like to give a little insight into David Gooding.  Our daughter, Kim, was his legal secretary for about four years and finally quit due to sexual innuendos and temper tantrums.  He once threw a Dictaphone speaker into the reception area in a fit of anger.  Do we want someone like that sitting on the bench?  I don't!
I hope I have not offended anyone, but wanted you to make an informed choice.
Bert Ralston should be ASHAMED of Himself!

UPDATE: 09/09/02  - 4:30pm

Gooding Sleaze in latest Campaign Flyer Mailed Only to the Northside.

Gooding Sleaze in latest Campaign Flyer Mailed ONLY to the Northside.

In a not so surprising move, David M. Gooding has targeted the Northside of Duval County for another insulting, Racially Motivated Assault in the form of a campaign flyer.  Honestly, in this reporter's opinion, only a bigoted fool would resort to such low-life tactics.  But then, if one stops to think about it, his entire campaign its been nothing but the hollering of ethnic slurs, racial innuendo and... sadly a thrust designed to appeal to the old, southern segregationist segments of our society.  Fortunately, these bigots number in the minority.  Many have been associated with a few larger institutions in the Duval area but this reporter finds that hard to believe.  After all, the entire premise of all God loving souls is to love one another regardless of race, creed or political preferences and I believe it is still God's wishes.  Gooding professes to be a fine upstanding Christian I find that extremely difficult to believe.  No true Christian would behave as he has been in this campaign. In fact, his behavior insults every God loving being in the county that he.... would dare.... compare himself to them.  Gooding should be ashamed of himself.

Sadly, Gooding has, in the last 72 hours, exhibited an extremist side no-one has seen before in this campaign.  Slander, Lying, backstabbing and outright defamation of character seem to come "second nature" to Gooding, a self proclaimed "professional, 8,900 case lawyer".  God help all of us if this garbage sways the popular vote as it would point out that Duval County hasn't learned a thing in the last fifty years.  He'll be "good for justice" alright by setting it back to the pre-Martin Luther King days of total racial injustice.

 Updated September 06, 2002- 4:56pm

This is a complete Fabrication

PLEASE.... Click on the picture to see a larger, clearer copy of this TRASH


Ed Austin (Republican) Endorses Gooding?

(from left) Ed Austin (R), Fred Tromberg (R), David Gooding (NOP?), Ted Hires (R) and Mark Tippens (R).

Circuit Court judicial candidate David Gooding hosted a campaign kickoff party last week, drawing about 250 people. Those attending included former mayor Ed Austin (R), Bill Gay Jr. mayoral candidates Ginger Soud (R), Eric Smith (D) and Keith Myers (D), State Rep. Steve Wise (R), attorney W.C. Gentry, City Council member Doyle Carter (R) and School Board member Linda Sparks. Gooding is running against attorney Dan Wilensky for the Group 13 judicial seat.

How many "powerhouse Republicans" and "ultra right wingers" are in this picture?

Oh, what a tangled web we weave when at first we begin to deceive......

Click for Video NewsCast

The postman brought me a wonderful present this afternoon.... a flyer from David M. Gooding (He's Good For Justice?).  Obviously he was made aware of the polls that find Dan Wilensky catching up to him and robustly passing him.  Mr. Gooding seems to have "lost it" altogether..

  • Has he a temper? 
  • Did he blow his cool?
  • Is this an example of the fine campaign management he has running the show for him? (atta-BOY Bert)  You all know the Candidates must "approve" everything offered to the public on behalf of the campaign.  This TRASH WAS approved by Gooding!!

Is this perhaps, more of his "ANYTHING GOES" attitude from a few months back.  When Gooding called himself JUDGE GOODING both on his website address and on his printed campaign material.  Obviously, Mr. Gooding feels he cannot come close to winning the election without resorting to smear and hate tactics.  Yup!!  We sure do want this loser on the bench.  NOT!

It becomes fairly obvious that if he'll do the "smear thing" to win the seat.... he'll do most anything.

In asking about the validity of the quotes.. we have been told that Folio is very unhappy about the misquote and out of context references derived by the Gooding camp. The Times Union is equally concerned. 

What ever.... became of TRUTH  in political campaigns?  Especially for Judge where a candidate is "supposed" to be:

  • POLITICALLY NEUTRAL (Isn't that what N.O.P. stands for?)


This is what IS called genuine, GOODING DOCUMENTED PUFFERY: (GOT MATH?)

  • David M. Gooding told voters he has tried between 120 and 140 cases. He said in speeches and pamphlets that he tried about 70 of those while at the State Attorney's Office from 1988 to 1989. But records from the State Attorney's Office show Gooding tried only 55 cases there, and Gooding could name only 21 other cases he has tried since leaving that office. (Florida Times Union 08-20-02.)
  • Now, in his most recent "Political Campaign Flyer" he claims 8,900 cases (Gooding Flyer 09/05/02) ... Here we go, "from the ridiculous to the sublime" in one fell swoop!  Do they really think the voters are THAT gullible?

"Tell the truth - offer the truth in concept, principle and spirit."

Updates will follow... Stay tuned, this political horror story is just unfolding.

Additionally, a number of voters have contacted STReport and made it quite clear, that as a result of this vicious mail-out, they'll NEVER vote for Gooding even if He was running for dog catcher! (several were highly shocked and disappointed Gooding supporters)

Now, if only some of the "old timers" of the area would come forward and tell the truth about the "interesting" times & events during Judge Marion Gooding's Tenure....... David M. Gooding was a little boy at the time!

Remember Folks, in those "wonderful" times We had:

  • Extreme Racial Segregation
  • Total Ethnic, Racial and Social Bigotry
  • Outrageous Racial Division
  • A "Hang 'Em High" Judiciary
  • A Double Standard Social Structure
  • The KKK
  • High Poverty Levels
  • Poor Educational System
  • Horribly Low Wages
  • Unfair Government
  • Biased Judges
  • Corruption at All levels of Local Government

Vote for Gooding and you'll get these "CONSERVATIVE" Values......  And a Judge with an un-controllable temper.

Judicial Candidates Hear Ethics Lesson

by Glenn Tschimpke Staff Writer, Jacksonville Daily Record - June 11, 2002

Last week, the four judicial candidates facing opposition in the 4th Circuit Court got a lesson in ethics at the Duval County Courthouse. Dan Wilensky and David Gooding, competing for Circuit Judge Alban Brooke’s seat and Gregg McCaulie and John Cascone, competing for McCaulie’s seat, were treated to an ethical forum of the do’s and don’ts of judicial races.

It was mostly a bunch of don’ts.

A typical campaign conjures thoughts of flag waving and fist pounding rhetoric from candidates. The campaign promises, the mudslinging, the partisanship, the television commercials, the last minute desperation jabs at opponents — it’s the kind of politicking Americans have come to accept as the norm. All of the above does not, or should not, apply to judicial races. Long a position where ethics and morals are expected to rule, those seeking a judgeship are restricted to little more than an informational campaign.

“A judge or candidate for judicial office shall refrain from inappropriate political activity,” reads Canon 7 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, the bible of judicial campaigns.

So what constitutes “inappropriate?” A comprehensive list of possible inappropriate activity would take more room than any newspaper could handle in a single issue. Most of the listed forbidden campaign practices revolve around the non-partisan nature of judicial races.

Those seeking judgeship must shun anything remotely related to politics and partisanship.

That means don’t:

  • be active in a political organization.
  • publicly endorse or publicly oppose another candidate for public office.
  • make speeches on behalf of a political organization.
  • attend political party functions.
  • solicit or contribute funds to a political organization or candidate.

The list goes on and on.

Candidates were given guide books for clarification packed with rules, frequently asked questions and selected opinions of the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee. So is it easy to slip up? “Not really, not at all,” said attorney Hank Coxe, who attended the forum as a member of the board of governors for The Florida Bar. “It’s not complicated. It’s as complicated as you want it to be as long as you try to skirt the rules.” North Florida judicial candidates have been traditionally well-behaved compared to their South Florida counterparts. While Coxe noted that the rules are not difficult, he pointed to a few important areas to remember.

“Two that come to mind that are prominent in a lot of people’s minds,” he said. “A candidate cannot align with a particular issue or side of an issue or political groups. That can manifest itself in many ways.” Candidates who agree to attend political luncheons to talk about their candidacy are asking for trouble. The strict rules come as no surprise to Fernandina Beach attorney John Cascone, who is running for Circuit Judge Gregg McCaulie’s seat. “What the canons say all along is that you can’t promise anything but to obey the law and treat everybody fair,” Cascone said. “The message is don’t get out there and introduce political issues in a non-partisan situation.” Cascone said he declined two invitations in the last week to attend political functions. “It’s not appropriate to show up as a candidate,” he said.

What applies for candidates also applies to campaign supporters. That includes zealous friends and family who want to get the word out where ever and whenever they can. While the intent is noble, it could get the candidate in hot water. For instance, if someone wanted to run for county court, supporters cannot pass out political flyers at a First Coast Liberated Republicans luncheon. Nor can they solicit funds for the campaign at other political functions. Basically, the supporters have to campaign in the same manner as the candidate, who must vigorously encourage them to do so. Playing dumb is not a valid excuse. “You can’t play ostrich and bury your head in the sand,” said Coxe.

Judicial candidates can, however, receive endorsements from individual political groups. What they do with the endorsements is critical. If the Fraternal Order of Police endorses a candidate because they think that is the best candidate based on experience and credentials, that’s OK. If the candidate takes the endorsement and runs with it by printing 10,000 flyers, touting the endorsement that’s a no-no. “It’s how you yourself project your candidacy,” said Coxe.


Will Gooding EVER obey the rules?
(click for larger image)

So what is an example of proper campaigning for judicial candidates? It’s pretty straightforward. Candidates can say who they are and what they’ve done. For example, Gooding and Wilensky have printed similar campaign cards. Gooding’s reads, “David M. Gooding for Circuit Court Judge. Good for justice!” The card describes his personal and professional background and his civic affiliations. Wilensky’s card has a noncommittal slogan: “Experienced. Committed. Trusted.” Equipped with a family portrait, the card lists past achievements and a brief family history.

Gooding recently flirted with trouble over the name of his campaign website,, which raised a few eyebrows. The misleading name could have tricked supporters to assume he was an incumbent. Gooding has since changed the name to

What difference does it make anyway? Politicians make empty campaign promises all the time. What’s wrong with a little innocent judicial partisan politics to get ahead? Despite the rules and regulations about how judicial candidates must conduct themselves, there is no formal active watchdog. But that doesn’t mean a careless candidate won’t get bitten. If a judicial race gets dirty, the loser does have recourse.

Complaints can be addressed to the Judicial Qualification Commission, which investigates questionable conduct of candidates. The findings are forwarded to the Florida Supreme Court. If the charges are egregious enough, it can remove a sitting judge from the bench as a result of campaign misconduct. If that’s not bad enough, The Florida Bar will be waiting for the deposed judge. Because the Bar cannot discipline anyone while on the bench, it can disbar the individual after the Florida Supreme Court escorts him out of his chambers and into the street.

Despite the possible gloom and doom scenario, the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee realizes the difference between the real world and the vacuum-sealed world of rules in the following concession: “The Committee’s experience during the past several years has demonstrated that literal obedience to Canon 7 is at times difficult and cannot be accomplished through adherence to formulated principles. Indeed, the Committee members occasionally express divergent views about the Canon’s application. Their disagreement results from factual settings which present circumstances not readily susceptible of determination through a ‘bright-line’ doctrine.”