MANATEE -- Circuit Judge Diana Moreland is one more step closer to her dream job.
Moreland, 53, is one of 11 judges nominated to the governor to vie for two available seats on the Second District Court of Appeals.
On Tuesday, 20 candidates chosen from 33 applicants sat before Second District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission.
One commission member asked Moreland whether she would miss trial court.
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"You can't be so caught up in something you love now to give up something you may love equally in the future," Moreland recalled telling the commission.
After more than 20 years in private practice following a stint at the public defender's office, Moreland has served on the circuit court bench since 2005.
Judicial life involves earning the respect of the citizens you serve, she said, while working at career goals. Moreland said this appointment would be her ultimate goal.
Gov. Rick Scott has 60 days to fill the two seats from the 11 judges nominated by the Judicial Nominating Commission, according to Lara J. Tibbals, chairwoman of the Second District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission.
"We have some very qualified individuals," Tibbals said. "We are very pleased with the qualifications of those we nominated to the governor."
The Second District Court of Appeals in Lakeland serves more than 3.8 million residents in Pasco, Pinellas, Hardee, Highlands, Polk, DeSoto, Manatee, Sarasota, Hillsborough, Charlotte, Glades, Collier, Hendry and Lee counties.
This is Moreland's second attempt at a DCA appointment. In 2012, she applied and rose into the top three candidates.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.