Skip to Main Content
background image Graphical Banner Highlighting Previous Court News Stories

Posted September 23, 2009

flu logo The Court Prepares for H1N1.

Posted June 30, 2009

The Summer issue of the Full Court Press Newsletter is online now!

Posted May 28, 2009

Chief Justice Quince congratulates drug court graduatesDrug Courts in Florida Celebrate 20-Year Anniversary

Chief Justice Peggy A. Quince addressed Florida’s newest drug court graduates at the 10th Annual Statewide Drug Court Graduation. This was the 20th anniversary of drug courts ceremony. The event took place May 15 in Miami, Florida, where the first drug court was born in 1989.

In addition to Chief Justice Quince, speakers included retired General Barry McCaffrey, former director of the National Office of Drug Control Policy; Bill Janes, director of the Florida Office of Drug Control; Judge Gisele Pollack, Chair of the Florida Association of Drug Court Professionals; and West Huddleston, CEO of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. Retired Judge Jeffrey Rosinek and Circuit Judge Deborah White-Labora presided over the graduation.

There were 265 statewide drug court participants who graduated from drug court programs in Escambia, Okaloosa, Leon, Marion, Baker, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough, Bay, Palm Beach, Monroe, Broward, Brevard and Miami-Dade Counties. Most of the participating jurisdictions hosted their own graduation ceremonies simultaneously (available through a live Webcast). The 10th Annual Statewide Graduation is part of Florida’s celebration of National Drug Court Month and May 15th was National Drug Court Commencement Day.

Since the first drug court in the country was created in Miami 20 years ago, tens of thousands of Floridians have graduated from drug courts statewide.

To watch the National Drug Court Commencement Day video, go to the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida and follow the link in the center of their page.

Go to the Florida Courts Drug Court Program pages for more information.

Story and photo credit, Aaron Gerson, Senior Court Analyst II.


Posted May 4, 2009

flu logo Florida State Courts are preparing for influenza through detailed planning materials. Go to the Court Site.

Posted April 6, 2009

Chief Justice Peggy QuinceChief Justice Peggy Quince Proclaims April, 2009, as a Month to Commemorate 30 Years of Allowing Cameras in the Court

On March 31, 2009, Chief Justice Peggy Quince issued a proclamation stating that April, 2009, should be declared a month to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the state Supreme Court's adoption of the nation's broadest rule allowing cameras into the courts. photo of cameras set up in the courtroom

“The Florida state courts showed remarkable wisdom, foresight and courage 30 years ago,” said Quince, “by breaking away from the conventional thinking that had barred cameras from courtrooms across the country for more than four decades.”

The adoption date was April 12, 1979 in an opinion written by the late Justice Alan Sundberg. With his words, Florida began a national movement that now has brought cameras into most state court systems in the nation and even a few federal courts, with the notable exception of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Go to Previous News to see earlier Court News stories


Posted March 24, 2009

The Spring issue of the Full Court Press Newsletter is online now!

Posted March 2, 2009

justice charles t. wellsThe Court Says Good-Bye to
Justice Charles T. Wellsjustice stephen grimes

Monday, March 2, officially marks Justice Charles T. Wells' last day of service on the Florida Supreme Court. He has served the Court for nearly 15 years, assuming his duties as Justice on June 16, 1994. During this span of time, he served as Chief Justice from July 1, 2000 - June 30, 2002.

Justice Wells is a native Floridian who was born in Orlando. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida in 1961 and his juris doctor degree at Florida in 1964. He is a proud Gator!

After graduation, Justice Wells served in private practice in Orlando through 1976, with a brief one-year interruption as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington D.C. in 1969. In total, he practiced law privately for 28 years leading up to his work at the Supreme Court.

Justice Wells served as Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court during the national prejustice charles t. wellssidential election cases which came to the Florida Supreme Court late in 2000. In addition, he served on the Board of Directors of the Conference of Chief Justices and as a member of several of the justice charles t. wellsConference’s committees. He was also a member of the Federal Judicial Conference Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure from 2000 - 2006.

On February 6, 2009, Justice Wells was recognized by many friends, family and colleagues during a retirement ceremony held at the Supreme Court.  Chief Justice Peggy Quince presided over the ceremony. 

Read Justice Charles T. Wells entire biography.

Posted February 10, 2009

The Investiture of the Honorable
Ricky PolstonPhoto of Justice Ricky Polston being sworn in by Judge Edwin Browning

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Justice Ricky Polston was invested as the 83rd justice of the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday, January 27. During the investiture proceedings presided over by Chief Justice Peggy Quince, Justice Polston took the oath of office (administered by First DCA Judge Edwin B. Browning, Jr.) before the full court and a large courtroom audience. Justice Polston took the oath with his children present, along with his wife, Deborah.

Justice Polston replaces Justice Kenneth B. Bell, who resigned late in 2008.
Justice Polston received his J.D. from the FSU College of Law in 1986. He most recently served on the First District Court of Appeal since 2001. Prior to that, he practiced law privately from 1987-2000. In addition, Justice Polston has served as an Adjunct Law Professor at the FSU College of Law since 2003.

Go to the Florida Supreme Court web site to read Justice Polston's entire biography.

Posted January 8, 2009

Judge Fred LautenNew Judges Complete Phase I Training

Nearly sixty new Florida judges will finish a week-long Florida Judicial College Phase I training on Friday, January 9. A second phase of training in March is required for these college participants who have been appointed to the bench.

Although required to take judicial education courses only since 1988, Florida judges have had the option to take them since the late ‘70s.  Former Justice Ben F. Overton, often referred to as “The Father of Court Education,” was instrumental in setting up a mechanism for providing judges and certain court personnel with education and training programs that deepen their knowledge, skills, and expertise and that ready them to administer justice fairly, effectively, professionally, and competently. Over the years, Florida’s award-Judge Meg Steinbeckwinning court education program has become a model for other states’ programs.

A portion of this week’s program was devoted to helping the new judges recognize and develop personal qualities and professional attributes necessary to be effective judges. Other sessions addressed listening and communication, and participants discussed how judicial behavior and demeanor affects the public’s perception of fairness and impartiality.

Procedural issues were also considered during the various training sessions.  New judges learned how to analyze objections and motions, issue proper jury instructions, maintain order and ensure safety in the courtroom, curtail inappropriate behavior, as well as handle other situational courtroom problems.