PANAMA CITY — The 14th Judicial Circuit Nominating Commission has passed to Gov. Rick Scott the names of four local attorneys who are "highly qualified" candidates to replace 14th Judicial Circuit Judge James Fensom pending his retirement, according to a press release.

The four candidates are Maria Dykes, Robert Sombathy, Dustin Stephenson and Zachary Taylor.

Dykes is a former Assistant State Attorney for 16 years, as is Taylor, who currently works for the law firm Manuel & Thompson.  Sombathy is a current Assistant State Attorney while Stephenson is a criminal defense attorney based in Panama City.

The nominating commission initially received 12 applications, which was narrowed down to six individuals. Each of those six individuals were interviewed by the nominating commission, and the final list of four submitted to the governor.

The 14th Judicial Circuit covers Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson and Washington counties.