Judge Tommy Thompson, Marion County Court Judge, Group 3

            In 2012, the people of Marion County elected Tommy Thompson to the County Court bench, Group 3, where he has served the citizens on both the Criminal and Civil docket. Tommy also presides over the Marion County Mental Health Court (MCMHC), which oversees the administration of treatment and counseling services for individuals charged with misdemeanor criminal offenses and suffering from a diagnosed mental illness. As presiding judge of the MCMHC, he also volunteers as a member of the Board of Directors for The Centers, which is Marion County’s primary mental health treatment and services provider.

Soon after his election, Tommy was asked and agreed to serve on the Conference of County Court Judges of Florida as a Circuit Representative for the Fifth Judicial Circuit. The Conference is an organization composed of Florida’s 322 County Court Judges and is responsible for providing continuing judicial education for Florida’s County Judges, as well as serving as the leadership body to address policy and procedure matters involving the court and provide the court assistance. In 2016, Tommy was appointed to serve as Conference Parliamentarian, and was elected by his fellow judges to serve as one of five DCA Vice Presidents of the Conference of County Court Judges, which involves service on the conference executive committee and oversight and coordination efforts on behalf of all county court judges serving within the geographical boundaries of the 5th District Court of Appeal, an area encompassing 13 counties across Central Florida, including Orange County.

For more than a decade prior to taking the bench, Tommy practiced as both a criminal and civil attorney, handling numerous cases spanning multiple legal disciplines. Importantly, Tommy’s career has always encompassed being an involved member of his local community. Tommy currently serves as the Marion County coordinator for the Florida Supreme Court’s Justice Teaching Institute (JTI). JTI was created to provide much-needed civics instruction in the public school system. JTI places volunteer lawyers and judges in public school throughout the County and these volunteers present material designed to foster understanding of government and to enhance good citizenship. Tommy has personally volunteered at several local schools, including Fort King Middle School, Dunnellon Middle School, and the Marion Regional Juvenile Detention Center, speaking to students several times during the school year, most often for the entire length of the school day, regarding the Articles of Confederation, the United States Constitution, and their roots in the experiences of the American Revolutionary period.

Tommy has been a member of the Ocala Lions Club since 2009, Marion County’s largest Lions Club. Tommy is also an alumnus of Leadership Ocala/Marion, graduating with Class XXI in 2007; the mission of Leadership Ocala/Marion is to educate, develop, and motivate emerging leaders to be involved and committed to meeting the challenges facing our community. Additionally, Tommy was the founder and first President of the Marion County Young Lawyers Section in 2004; Tommy formed this organization to provide young attorneys with an opportunity for volunteerism, leadership, and comradery. As President, Tommy also founded the Marion County Great Debate Tournament, which is open to all public and private high school students, has served as Marion County’s only organized high school debate tournament, and recently held its 15th annual competition. He has further served the educational needs of local high school students by volunteering as a coach for the Lake Weir High School Mock Trial Team, and also as a judge for moot court competitions and “We the People” mock Congressional Hearings on both the elementary and high school levels.

As a lawyer, Tommy served as a member, and later as Chairperson, of the Florida Bar Fifth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee “B” – which serves to investigate and review cases where attorneys are accused of ethical violations and to recommend appropriate punishment where violations are found to have occurred. Finally, Tommy is a former President of the Marion County D.R. Smith American Inn of Court; The D.R. Smith Inn serves the legal community as a professional organization of judges and lawyers who meet monthly for fellowship and to present professionalism and legal education programming. Under his leadership as President, the Inn was recognized nationally with a “Circle of Excellence” award, the first time ever in the history of the D.R. Smith Inn. This award recognized the D.R. Smith Inn for being in the top 20 of more than 350 Inns in the United States. Tommy will be on the August 28th primary ballot. my