CONTACT US
SEARCH

Notable Achievements

Late Summer 2016

Judge Scott M. Bernstein, Eleventh Circuit, was presented with a plaque from Chief Justice Labarga in grateful appreciation for his “outstanding leadership as chair of the Standing Committee on Fairness and Diversity” from July 2007 through June 2016.  The plaque reads, “Your strong commitment to the value and practice of fairness and diversity throughout Florida’s State Courts System is well respected, and your tireless efforts to eliminate bias from court operations have helped ensure justice for all Floridians.”

Judge Stanford Blake, Eleventh Judicial Circuit, was presented with a Chief Justice Award for Judicial Excellence, which recognizes one county court judge and one circuit court judge who personify judicial excellence and demonstrate exceptional commitment to the judicial branch.  Judge Blake was appointed to the Eleventh Circuit Bench in 1995.  Letters supporting his nomination for this award praise him for his “fairness and efficiency” and for his “genuine compassion for the people and parties that appear before him.” They commend his “rare mix of humor, intelligence, courage and diplomacy” and call him “a man of stature, a man of compassion, of a strong ethical and moral compass and one who has a unique understanding of the human condition.” And they appreciate him for having “improved our court system, our com­munity and our world.” Judge Blake is widely acclaimed both for his efforts to “advance the highest ideals of justice” and for his service outside the justice system, “as a member of the larger community.” 

Judge Tyrie Boyer, Fourth Circuit, was honored with the Jurist of the Year Award from the Florida chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates.

The Florida Dispute Resolution Center (DRC) proudly announces the award recipients recognized at this summer’s 24th annual conference.  Kathleen O. Reuter received the Sharon Press Excellence in Alternative Dispute Resolution Award for her visionary leadership, professional integrity, and unwavering devotion to the field of alternative dispute resolution; Ms. Reuter was honored for having been one of two mediators selected to serve in a supreme court workgroup established to develop recommendations for an operational plan for ADR programs in Florida’s trial courts, and for having led the effort to base mediator certification on points rather than strictly on educational degrees or Florida Bar membership.  Beth Greenfield-Mandler, Esquire, received the DRC’s Award of Appreciation for her eight years of service to the Mediation Ethics Advisory Committee; in addition, Ms Greenfield-Mandler was recognized for having been one the three chairpersons the committee has had in its 22-year existence.  Also, Mike Nichols, a county mediator from the Northern Division, received the DRC’s Award of Appreciation for his eight years of service to the Mediation Ethics Advisory Committee and for his continued commitment to the tenets of alternative dispute resolution.

Judge Mark W. Klingensmith, Fourth DCA, earned a Master of Laws degree (LLM) in Judicial Studies from Duke University School of Law.

Judge Robert Lee, Broward County, was presented with a Chief Justice Award for Judicial Excellence, which recognizes one county court judge and one circuit court judge who personify judicial excellence and demonstrate exceptional commitment to the judicial branch.  Appointed to the Broward County bench in 1997, Judge Lee is called “a dedicated individual who has worked tirelessly towards improving our legal system and educating the public that he serves.” Judge Lee’s accom­plishments are far-ranging, but his achievements in two areas especially stand out: he has authored numerous informational and educational guides to support the work of his fellow judicial and quasi-judicial officers, and he has created several innovative court programs and initiatives to improve the administration of justice.

Justice R. Fred Lewis, Florida Supreme Court, was inducted in the 2016 inaugural class of the US Army ROTC Hall of Fame.  “Hall of Fame induction is awarded to alumni whose character and distinguished service epitomize the qualities of Army ROTC embodies”; Justice Lewis was selected because his “achievements exemplify Leadership Excellence.”

Judge Robert Morris, Second DCA, earned a Master of Laws degree (LLM) in Judicial Studies from Duke University School of Law.

Judge Virginia Baker Norton, Fourth Circuit, earned a Master of Laws degree (LLM) in Judicial Studies from Duke University School of Law.

Judge Vance E. Salter, Third DCA, was selected by the Dade County Bar Association as the recipient of the Justice Joseph Story Award.  This award recognizes Judge Salter’s work with law students and practitioners to improve legal assistance to those unable to afford private counsel: for instance, he co-chaired The Florida Bar’s Pro Bono Legal Services and served on the Access to and Delivery of Legal Services Subcommittee of the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice.  In addition, he is a member of the board of directors of The Learning Experience School, a non-profit school for children and young adults with disabilities.

When judges and court personnel receive honors or acclaim
for their contributions to the branch,
please share that information with OSCA Publications

Early Summer 2016

Judge Alice L. Blackwell, Ninth Judicial Circuit, was honored with the James G. Glazebrook Professionalism and Service Award from The George C. Young American Inn of Court; the award honors a current or former Inn member (including lawyers and judges) whose combination of service to the Inn and professionalism and integrity in practice display a course of excellence.

Judge Shawn Crane, Sixth Circuit, was the recipient of the annual Judicial Professionalism Award granted by the Pasco chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.  The award recognizes a local judge who best exemplifies service to the community, profession, and legal system and who has demonstrated diligence in inspiring others to the mission of legal professionalism.

Judge Jack Day, Sixth Circuit, received the Judicial Appreciation Award, conferred by the St. Petersburg Bar Association.  Among the factors the association considers are the nominee’s courtroom demeanor, his or her judicial experience, helpfulness to lawyers and litigants, and activities off the bench that promote the administration of justice and civic participation.

Judge Renee Goldenberg, Seventeenth Circuit, was presented with the Florida Association of Women Lawyers 2016 Jurist of the Year Award; this award, established in 2015, recognizes jurists who have “consistently, fearlessly, and impartially promoted the rule of law respecting the equal rights of all” who come before them.

Judge Jack Helinger, Sixth Circuit, was recently awarded the 2015 Canakaris Award for Judicial Excellence in Family Law.  The award is presented by the Canakaris Inn of the Court, a group of area lawyers and judges whose mission is to promote professionalism and legal excellence in the practice of family law.

Judge Nicholas Lopane, Seventeenth Circuit, was honored with a 2016 EPIC Award, sponsored by the Mental Health Association of Southeast Florida.  Exceptional People Impacting the Community (EPIC) honorees are chosen by the organization each year for their advocacy in mental health and its impact on the community, and Judge Lopane was selected for his “ability to recognize patterns of behavior and his understanding of how best to structure his courtroom to manage communications with individuals who have mental health issues.”   

Retired Judge Raymond McNeal, Fifth Judicial Circuit, was honored with the Richard D. Custureri Pro Bono Service Award from Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida.  Conferred upon a local Florida Bar member for outstanding pro bono outreach, this award recognizes Judge McNeal’s service to the organization and to his church’s homeless program; currently blending these two interests, he is now working with Community Legal Services to establish a homeless legal advice clinic. 

Judge Edward Nicholas, Twelfth Circuit, received the 2016 Manatee County Bar Association’s Community Service Leader Award; this award honors members of the bar association who provide service to the community through participation in organizations and activities beyond the scope of the bench.  

Retired Judge Frank A. Orlando, Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, was selected for induction into the University of Florida’s College of Health and Human Performance Alumni Hall of Fame.  He is being honored for a host of accomplishments; among them, since retiring from the bench, he has been instrumental in introducing juvenile detention reforms in Florida; has coordinated technical assistance for the Annie E. Casey Foundation for Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative; and has served as the director of the Center for the Study of Youth Policy at Nova Southeastern University School of Law. 

Judge James Pierce, Pinellas County, was honored by Fresh Start Innovative Mentoring, a non-profit organization that matches mentors with teens and adults on probation, for “exemplifying extraordinary service to the community.”  Among other accomplishments, he was recognized for starting Boys Court: an effort to steer wayward youth to productive lives through the use of motivational speakers, mentors, journaling, community service, and close monitoring.

Judge Steven Rogers, Fifth Circuit, was recognized as the 2016 Justice Teaching Select Committee Judge of the Year by Justice Teaching, the statewide law-related education initiative established by Justice R. Fred Lewis in 2006 that aims to partner a legal professional with every elementary, middle, and high school in the state.

Judge John Schaefer, Sixth Circuit, was selected for the John U. Bird Judicial Excellence Award by the Clearwater Bar Association; the award was created to recognize a local judge for his or her honor, high ideals, personal character, judicial competence, and service.

Spring 2016

Judge Nina Ashenafi-Richardson, Leon County, received the Tallahassee Bar Association’s inaugural Martha Barnett Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, which was established to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of women lawyers from the Second Judicial Circuit.

Amy Borman, General Counsel with the Fifteenth Circuit, is the 2016 recipient of the annual Palm Beach County Bar Association’s Sidney A. Stubbs Professionalism Award—the highest honor for professionalism bestowed within the circuit.

Judge James McGarity, Collier County, was inducted into the US Army Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame at the National Infantry Museum in Fort Benning, Georgia on April 25, 2016.

Judge Robert Morris, Second DCA, was recently named editor-in-chief of Judicature, the scholarly journal for judges published by the Duke Law Center for Judicial Studies.

Retired Judge Frank A. Orlando, Seventeenth Judicial Circuit from 1968 – 1988, was selected for induction into the University of Florida’s College of Health and Human Performance Alumni Hall of Fame.  He is being honored for a host of accomplishments, among them, since retiring from the bench, he has been instrumental in introducing juvenile detention reforms in Florida; has coordinated technical assistance for the Annie E. Casey Foundation for Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative; and has served as the director of the Center for the Study of Youth Policy at Nova Southeastern University School of Law. 

Judge Lee A. Schreiber, Twentieth Circuit, was named the Elected Official of the Year for Southwest Florida by the National Association of Social Workers Florida Chapter, Southwest Florida Unit.  She is being recognized for her support “of the professionals who serve within the child welfare system” and for trying “her hardest to ensure that the best interest of the child is [of] the utmost importance when making decisions.”

Fall 2015/Winter 2016

Magistrate Deborah Bailey, Twelfth Circuit, received the C.L. McKaig Award from the Sarasota County Bar Association; this award recognizes her for her “extraordinary service to the Sarasota County Bar Association through [her] efforts promoting, improving, and encouraging a high level of professionalism in all aspects of the legal practice.”

Judge Cynthia L. Cox, Nineteenth Circuit, received the 2016 Distinguished Judicial Service Award.  This award honors outstanding and sustained service to the public, especially as it relates to the support of pro bono legal services.

Judge Charles Francis, Second Circuit, received the Tallahassee Bar Association’s inaugural Lifetime Professionalism Award; the association’s highest honor, this award is presented to a lawyer, judge, or law professor who has exercised professionalism and staunch dedication to the legal profession for 25 years or more.

General Magistrate Susan Keith, Marion County, was presented with the Visionary Award by The Florida Bar’s Family Law Section; this award recognizes her “outstanding service and invaluable contributions to the practice of family law through the State of Florida.” 

Judge Ginger Lerner-Wren, Seventeenth Circuit, who presides over Broward County’s misdemeanor mental health court, has been appointed to serve on the Executive Committee of The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.  Established in 2010, this alliance is a public-private partnership advancing the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention; the organization aims to influence systems changes and target certain vulnerable populations who are at higher risk.  The only judicial representative on a national committee comprising industry CEOs, members of congress, and federal agencies, Judge Lerner-Wren will help lead and advance suicide prevention awareness and promote evidence-based strategies to improve mental health and wellness throughout our nation’s court systems.

Recently retired Judge Walter Logan, Sixth Circuit, was honored with the St Petersburg Bar Association’s 2015 Judicial Appreciation Award.  Among the factors considered for this award are a nominee’s courtroom demeanor, judicial experience, helpfulness to lawyers and litigants, and activities off the bench that promote the administration of justice and civic participation.

Judge T. Patt Maney, Okaloosa County, received the highest honor bestowed by the Brain Injury Association of Florida on behalf of thousands of brain injury survivors and their families.  The Valiant Heart recognizes Judge Maney’s strength, courage, and leadership—evident in the way he confronted his own personal challenges as a survivor of traumatic brain injury and in his tireless advocacy for Veterans Treatment Courts in Okaloosa County and throughout the state. 

Judge J. Thomas McGrady, Sixth Circuit, was presented with the Clearwater Bar Association’s John U. Bird Judicial Excellence Award, which was established to recognize the recipient’s honor, high ideals, personal character, judicial competence, and service.

Senior Judge Daniel R. Monaco, Twentieth Circuit, and Ms Deborah Mravic, Civil/Family Division Director in Collier County, were recognized for their exemplary service in the administration of Collier County’s residential foreclosure docket by the Thomas S. Biggs Chapter of the American Inns of Court of Collier County.  The Inns of Court is a national organization of attorneys and judges committed to a shared national purpose of improving professionalism, ethics, civility, and excellence within the legal profession.

Senior Judge Daniel R. Monaco, Twentieth Circuit, and Ms Deborah Mravic, Civil/Family Division Director in Collier County, were recognized for their exemplary service in the administration of Collier County’s residential foreclosure docket by the Thomas S. Biggs Chapter of the American Inns of Court of Collier County.  The Inns of Court is a national organization of attorneys and judges committed to a shared national purpose of improving professionalism, ethics, civility, and excellence within the legal profession.

Judge Edward Nicholas, Twelfth Circuit, was presented with the Bradenton Kiwanis Club’s Ralph Davis Fellow Award in recognition of his leadership and of his service to the Bradenton Kiwanis Club and the community.

Ms Rose Patterson, chief of OSCA’s Office of Court Improvement, was honored with the President’s Award from the Florida Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts for her service to the organization.

Judge Mary Rudd Robinson, Broward County, was selected to serve as a trustee of the Florida Supreme Court Historical Society for a three-year term that began July 2015.  The organization, which has nearly 1,000 members statewide, aims to apprise people of the importance of an independent judiciary and to preserve the history of the Florida state courts system.

Judge Daniel H. Sleet, Second DCA, received the Jurist of the Year Award from the Tampa Bay Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates.Criteria for this award include a commitment to preserving and improving the jury trial system; being knowledgeable, prepared and ruling in a timely manner; following the rules of law and applying them evenhandedly; demanding professionalism from all lawyers; and maintaining an open and accessible working relationship with the trial bar.

Judge Gilbert Smith, Jr., Twelfth Circuit, received the Bradenton Kiwanis Club’s George E. Hixson Fellow Award in recognition of his service to the Bradenton Kiwanis Club and to the community.

Judge Jack Tuter, Seventeenth Circuit, was named the civil trial judge of the year by the Fort Lauderdale Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).  ​ABOTA’s mission is to uphold the jury system by educating the American public about the history and value of the right to trial by jury.​

Judge William R. Webb, Sixth Circuit, received the inaugural Judicial Professionalism Award from the Pasco County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.  This award recognizes a local judge who best exemplifies service to the community, profession, and legal system and who has worked to inspire others to pursue a career in the legal profession.

Summer 2015

Mrs. Pam Jordan Anderson, senior attorney with OSCA’s Court Education Section, was honored by the Conference of County Court Judges of Florida with its Non-Judicial Award, which is given to someone who goes above and beyond in serving the conference and the judicial system; the award to Mrs. Anderson reads, “In recognition of your exceptional service.” 

Judge Lauren L. Brodie, Twentieth Judicial Circuit, was named Woman Lawyer of the Year by the Collier County Women’s Bar Association.

Ms Beverly Brown, court education program coordinator with OSCA’s Court Education Section, was honored by the Conference of County Court Judges of Florida for her many years of service working on the conference; the award to Ms Brown reads, “In appreciation upon your retirement from your over 28 years of service to the Florida Court System and the Florida Conference of County Court Judges.”

The Florida Dispute Resolution Center (DRC) proudly announces the award recipients recognized at this summer’s 23rd annual conference.  Lawrence M. Watson, Esquire, received the Sharon Press Excellence in Alternative Dispute Resolution Award for 25 years of visionary leadership, professional integrity and unwavering devotion to the field of alternative dispute resolution.  Mr. Watson served as chairman, Supreme Court Committee on Mediation and Arbitration Rules, 1989 – 2001; member, Supreme Court Committee on ADR Rules, 2001 – 2003; and member, Supreme Court Committee on ADR Rules & Policy, 2003 – 2014.  Yale T. Freeman, Esquire, received the DRC’s Award of Appreciation for his hundreds of volunteer hours over four years as an expert advisor and drafter of Part III, Discipline, Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators.  And Irv J. Lamel, Esquire, received the DRC’s Award of Appreciation for his hundreds of volunteer hours over four years as an expert advisor and drafter of Part III, Discipline, Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators.

Retired Judge Charles D. Edelstein, Miami-Dade County, was presented with the 2015 Selig Goldin Award, an honor bestowed annually by Criminal Law Section of The Florida Bar.  He was recognized for his long career (more than 50 years) as a lawyer and judge, during which time, he “touched—and improved—nearly every facet of the state’s criminal justice system.”  In particular, he was singled out for his leadership in remedying the caseload backlog paralyzing court systems around the country, for spearheading reforms in caseload management practices, and for developing solutions to help alleviate prison overcrowding.

Judge Ronald A. Flury, Second Circuit, was honored with the Conference of the County Court Judges of Florida 2015 Judge Harvey Ford Award; the highest honor presented by the conference, this annual award recognizes one county court judge for his/her dedication of service to the community, the legal profession, and the conference itself.  

Judge Charles A. Francis, Second Judicial Circuit, received the Jack McLean Champion for Legal Services Award; the award recognizes an individual, business, firm, governmental entity, or organization that has fulfilled the mission of Legal Services of North Florida by enhancing the provision of services and/or strengthening the ability of Legal Services to provide services.

Judge Lee Haworth, Twelfth Judicial Circuit, was presented with a newly-established Chief Justice Award for Judicial Excellence, which recognizes one county court judge and one circuit court judge who personify judicial excellence and demonstrate exceptional commitment to the judicial branch.  Judge Haworth was selected in part because of his leadership and innovation when the foreclosure crisis began to overwhelm Florida’s courts; his efforts to improve the lives of abused and neglected children who come in contact with the courts; his contributions to equal and fair funding of Florida’s court system; his work on adapting technological advances to the courtroom needs of judges; and his focus on meeting the needs of veterans struggling to find their bearings after their service to their country is over.

Judge Nelly Khouzam, Second District Court of Appeal, was recently “tapped into” the Florida Blue Key Honor Fraternity, the oldest and most prestigious leadership honorary society in the state, as a member of the Spring 2015 Honorary Tapping class; her selection recognizes her outstanding ability, leadership, and service to the University of Florida and to the state of Florida.

Judge Steven Leifman, Miami-Dade County, was presented with a newly-established Chief Justice Award for Judicial Excellence, which recognizes one county court judge and one circuit court judge who personify judicial excellence and demonstrate exceptional commitment to the judicial branch.  Judge Leifman was selected in part because of his creation, in 2000, of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Mental Health Project, which diverts people with mental illnesses who do not pose significant public safety risks into community-based treatment and support programs and because of his involvement in developing the nation’s largest Crisis Intervention Team Training Program, which has trained more than 4,400 law enforcement officers to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses and to respond more effectively and appropriately to people in psychiatric crisis.  

Judge Steven Leifman, Miami-Dade County, is the recipient of the 2015 William H. Rehnquist Award.  Bestowed annually by the National Center for State Courts, this prestigious award is one of the country’s highest judicial honors; it recognizes “a state court judge who demonstrates the outstanding qualities of judicial excellence, including integrity, fairness, open-mindedness, knowledge of the law, professional ethics, creativity, sound judgment, intellectual courage, and decisiveness.”  Judge Leifman was selected for his work helping people with mental illnesses who are in the criminal justice system or are at risk of incarceration: “Judge Leifman has built a national reputation for his pragmatic, collaborative, and focused approach to finding long-term solutions that improve people’s lives and the health of the community and the courts,” said NCSC President Mary McQueen.  John G. Roberts, Jr., US Supreme Court chief justice, will present the award to Judge Leifman during a ceremony at the nation’s highest federal court on November 19.  This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the Rehnquist Award, and Judge Leifman is the first Florida judge on whom the honor has been conferred.

Judge Janeice Martin, Collier County, was honored with a 2015 Class of Leaders in the Law Award by the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.  This award recognizes “women who have made meaningful contributions in their communities through their legal service or volunteer activities and who have provided a positive role model for FAWL members.”

The Ninth Judicial Circuit Court website was honored with a “Top 10 Court Websites Award” bestowed by the National Association for Court Management.  This award is given to courts that utilize technology to create easy-to-use, interactive websites that facilitate users’ ability to access public records and information on court services and programs.  The Ninth Circuit recently updated its website to make information as easy to access as possible; updates include the provision of streamlined navigation for people using mobile phone platforms as well as a navigation redesign that enables users to find most of the information they are seeking within two clicks of the homepage.

Judge John Phillips, Palm Beach County, was named the Justice Teaching Select Committee Judge of the Year. Since 2010, Judge Phillips has regularly visited Royal Palm School to share civics education with students with some of the most of severe disabilities in Palm Beach County; most of the students struggle with communicating, so he has created lesson plans and presentations that enable the children and teachers to interact with him. As a result of his work, the students have learned about Florida's justice system and laws and have developed their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, something that no other Justice Teaching partner has attempted to do with severely disabled children.

Judge Vance E. Salter, Third District Court of Appeal, has been named one of the honorees in History Miami’s “50 Years, 50 Voices,” celebrating the 50-year history of Legal Services of Greater Miami and honoring outstanding community leader who helped shape that organization.

Judge Margaret H. Schreiber, Ninth Judicial Circuit, was honored with the CFAWL Legacy Award from the Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers (CFAWL); this award is presented to a current member of CFAWL who has been a member for more than 15 years and who has demonstrated the highest levels of integrity, leadership, and service to CFAWL, the legal profession, and the community.

Colonel Grant Slayden, Trial Court Administrator, Second Judicial Circuit, was most recently deployed in Washington, DC, where he served as US Army Commander of Task Force Artemis from April 2013 to April 2014.  He commanded the ground-based air defense of the National Capital Region, responsible for over 300 personnel and accountable for equipment valued at over $47 million.  Promoted and recognized for his service on August 7, 2015, Colonel Slayden will be taking over the 164th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.

Judge Lisa Walsh, Eleventh Judicial Circuit, will take on a national leadership role this October, when she will be sworn in as the new president of the National Association of Women Judges.

Spring 2015

Marshal Veronica Antonoff, Third DCA, recently graduated from the Basic Law Enforcement Academy, housed in the Miami-Dade College School of Justice.  This demanding, nine-month training program includes both classroom and physical abilities components.

Judge Mark Blechman, Ninth Judicial Circuit, received the Citizen of the Year award from the Osceola County Veterans Council, which annually recognizes people whose innovative contributions to the community create awareness of and present solutions to a problem plaguing Central Florida residents; Judge Blechman was honored for spearheading the development and implementation of Veterans Court in Osceola County.

Judge Kevin Emas, Third DCA, was elected to membership in the American Law Institute, which comprises 4,000 lawyers, judges, and law professors of the highest qualifications from 28 states and the District of Columbia.  The institute drafts, discusses, revises, and publishes Restatements of the Law, model statutes, and principles of law that are highly influential in the courts and legislatures, as well as in legal scholarship and education.

Retired Judge William A. Van Nortwick, Jr., formerly on the bench of the First DCA, received The Florida Bar Foundation’s 2015 Medal of Honor Award; the foundation’s highest award is presented annually to a Florida Bar member who has demonstrated his or her dedication to the bar association’s objectives: “to inculcate in its members the principles of duty and service to the public, to improve the administration of justice, and to advance the science of jurisprudence.”

Judge John L. Woodard III, Seminole County, was named the Elected Official of the Year by the Central Florida Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers “for his tireless efforts on behalf of Seminole County’s Drug and Veterans Courts” and for “his commitment to providing better, more effective solutions for non-violent offenders in the justice system.”