Three candidates vying for circuit judgeship

Ryan Will

Sebrina Slack

Linda Gaustad

Linda Gaustad

Three Volusia County attorneys are in the race to replace a Circuit Court judge who retired.

Candidates in the Group 15 race are Linda Gaustad, who has a solo law practice in Orange City, Sebrina Slack, a managing attorney and shareholder in a prominent law firm in DeLand, and Ryan Will, an assistant state attorney based in Daytona Beach.

Gaustad and Slack unsuccessfully ran in separate judgeship races two years ago. Will, the son of a longtime, now-retired judge, is in his first campaign.

The contested race will appear on the ballot in the Tuesday, Aug. 28, primary election. If none of the three candidates gets more than 50 percent of the votes, a runoff between the top two will be held in the Tuesday, Nov. 6, general election.


Linda Gaustad

Gaustad said after 18 years of running a full-service, solo legal practice, she has helped thousands of clients in all areas of the law. She said that well-rounded experience would make her a good judge, and she would be honored to serve the community on the bench.

“Operating a business makes you multi-task and be committed to getting things done in a legal and business sense,” Gaustad told The Beacon. “That experience will be beneficial in a courtroom.”

Gaustad began her legal career as an assistant public defender in the appellate courts, than started her private practice in 2002. 

The advantage of being a sole practitioner, she said, is that an attorney can practice in any area of the law, not just in cases that are assigned to him or her.

Gaustad has been married for 29 years; she has two adult daughters and four grandchildren.

For more information, visit www.lindaforjudge.org.


Sebrina Slack

Slack has been an attorney for 18 years, 16 of which included trial work, with more than 100 cases going to trial. 

She also has experience as a felony prosecutor in the 7th Judicial Circuit and now is in private practice with the firm Landis Graham French, P.A., in DeLand, where she has handled many kinds of legal work.

In the early 2000s, Slack also worked for nearly two years with the state Department of Revenue’s Sales Tax Division in Tallahassee before returning to her roots in Volusia County. 

She said she has the most experience working in Circuit Court, and wants to serve her community.

“You need a judge who’s competent in all areas and can run a courtroom,” Slack said. “I know I can do the job.”

Slack and her husband have been married since 2009. They live in DeLeon Springs with their two dogs, and are avid outdoors enthusiasts.

For more information, visit www.sebrinaslackforjudge.com.


Ryan Will

Will is running for circuit judge because that has been a lifelong ambition. As a small boy, he told The Beacon, he always wanted to be a lawyer and, eventually, a judge.

“With my litigation experience, I think I will be a good one,” he said. 

Will worked for an oil and gas company for about a year before joining the State Attorney’s Office in 2006, and moving to its Homicide Investigations Unit in 2010. 

“I’ve always wanted to be in a courtroom, and taking a job with the State Attorney’s Office allowed me to do that,” he said.

In addition to prosecuting homicide cases, Will also has prosecuted sexual predators, drug dealers, repeat offenders, white-collar criminals, and those who prey on the elderly. 

Will, the son of retired Circuit Judge Joseph G. Will, is a native of Volusia County and a graduate of Seabreeze High School. He is married to Bryn McGuire Will. 

The couple are raising three young children in Daytona Beach.

For more information, visit www.electryanwill.com.


Eight judges keep seats

Eight of the nine nonpartisan races for circuit judge in the 7th Judicial Circuit were decided when qualifying ended at noon May 4. 

None of these eight incumbents drew challengers, so they retained their seats on the bench. The one contested race doesn’t have an incumbent because the sitting judge retired.

Getting new six-year terms, starting in January 2019, were Lee Smith in Group 1, Patti Ann Christensen in Group 2, Chris France in Group 8, Terence R. Perkins in Group 9, Mary G. Jolley in Group 12, Leah Case in Group 16, Elizabeth A. Blackburn in Group 21, and Clyde E. Wolfe in Group 27. 

Circuit judges are paid a state-mandated $160,688 per year and serve six-year terms before facing voters for re-election.

 

— Joe Crews, joe@beacononlinenews.com

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