Gov. Rick Scott appoints new local judge

Gov. Rick Scott has appointed a top prosecutor to fill a vacancy on the 12th Judicial Circuit Court, according to a news release from his office.

Lon Arend, 46, currently the chief assistant state attorney in the 12th District, will replace Judge Scott M. Brownell, who in April announced he would resign effective Dec. 28.

Brownell’s timing of his resignation taking effect before Jan. 2, when an elected judge would have been sworn in, allowed Scott to name Brownell’s replacement, instead of leaving it to the voters in the Nov. 8 general election.

Private attorney Elizabeth Boyle, who had already announced her candidacy, unsuccessfully challenged the decision to cancel the election. Boyle is the wife of former Bradenton police chief Michael Radzilowski.

"The Governor's power to appoint judges to fill vacancies on the bench is not intended to supplant the democratic elective process," Boyle wrote to Scott after Brownell announced his resignation. "The appointment power was created to be used in situations where there would be a large gap in service, akin to an emergency, to prevent a large interruption in the provision of judicial services to the public, until the next available election."

During his tenure at the state attorney’s office, Arend has served in numerous capacities, including as deputy chief assistant state attorney, Homicide Division chief and Felony Division chief.

Arend received his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, and his law degree from the University of Florida.

The 12th Judicial Circuit encompasses Manatee, Sarasota and DeSoto counties.