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Manatee County Court Judge: Kristy Zinna

Meet the candidate.

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  • | 11:00 a.m. September 24, 2020
  • East County
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These questionnaire responses were originally published in July for the primary election.

Name: Kristy Zinna

Age: 46

Family: Widowed (from Rory Zinna) with two daughters


I am a Florida native and long-time Manatee County resident. I am invested in my community. Manatee County is where I live and where I grew up. I know many, many people here. I have family and loved ones here. I care about all of them. What happens in and to this county matters to me. 

I have a very strong background in both management and the organized and efficient control of a large and busy county court caseload. I have tremendous experience in the very courtroom for which I seek election. I have personally first-chaired thousands of cases in County Court of Manatee County. 

Why are you running for this judgeship?/Describe your courtroom trial experience — how many years, types of lawsuits you have prosecuted/defended?

I possess the diverse legal background important and necessary for a judge. I have been both a prosecutor and an assistant public defender, both here in Manatee County. This is a very rare combination to have on a legal resume. When I was offered a position in a private firm, I felt it was a wise choice to leave government employment and learn the private practice aspects of criminal law and to begin civil law. I have then practiced civil law nearly exclusively since 2013. Each step I have taken in my career was to learn and become experienced in a field of practice that would lead to this very point. I have an incredibly diverse legal background, carefully cultivated to make me a better attorney in court and a better candidate for county court judge. Virtually every legal case or situation that can happen before a County Court judge, I have personally experienced and handled, both criminal and civil. I am quite familiar with not only the rules of criminal procedure, but the rules of civil procedure. I believe my diverse legal background makes me a better candidate for election. 

What qualifies you to be a county judge more than your opponent?/What do you consider to be essential characteristics of a good judge?

More than the typical candidate, I bring a great respect and empathy for each person standing before the court. These, along with possessing strong organizational skills and knowledge are the essential characteristics of a good judge. The early loss of my husband after a protracted and very public battle with cancer has created within me a deep empathy for the unique problems every person possesses in his or her life. I understand that every individual standing before the court is likely scared and anxious. Because of this, I have developed a patient demeanor and response while dealing with others. I was, and continue to be, known for a calming presence in court. I anticipate that I will exemplify those same traits in my judicial demeanor. 

County court is my final career destination and end goal. If elected, then this is where I intend of staying until the day I retire. This is the culmination of a lifetime of hard work for me. I want nothing more than to use my experiences for the greater service and good of my legal community and to personally contribute as much as I can to the improvement of Manatee County. I am invested in my community, and I have the legal experience and diversity to make a transition from practicing law to the bench be an efficient and easy process.


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