Every two years, The Florida Bar provides biographies of District Court of Appeal (DCA) judges and Florida Supreme Court justices in merit retention elections. This year, one Supreme Court justice and 24 District Court of Appeal judges will be on the Nov. 3 General Election ballot in merit retention elections. Click on the map to see which counties are in which districts.
Justice Carlos G. Muñiz
Muñiz was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court by Gov. Ron DeSantis in January 2019. Before joining the Court, he served on the staff of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as the presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed general counsel of the U.S. Department of Education. In addition to working as an attorney in the federal government and in private practice, Justice Muñiz had an extensive career in Florida state government. He served as the deputy attorney general and chief of staff to Attorney General Pam Bondi; as deputy chief of staff and counsel in the Office of the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives; as general counsel of the Department of Financial Services; and as deputy general counsel to Gov. Jeb Bush. Justice Muñiz is a graduate of the University of Virginia and of Yale Law School. After law school, he clerked for Judge José A. Cabranes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for Judge Thomas A. Flannery of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
JUDGE JOSEPH LEWIS, JR.
Judge Lewis was appointed to the First District Court of Appeal by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2001. He served as chief judge from 2013 to 2015. Before becoming a judge, he served as Bureau Chief for the Employment Litigation/Civil Rights Section from 1995 to 2000, and also senior attorney of the General Civil Litigation Section from 1981 to 1995, both at the Office of the Attorney General. From 1978 to 1981, Judge Lewis served as an assistant public defender for the Second Judicial Circuit. Judge Lewis currently sits on the Appellate Court Rules Committee of The Florida Bar and is a member of the Tallahassee Bar Association, Government Bar Association, Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter, National Bar Association and Tallahassee Barristers Association. He graduated from the University of Montana before earning his Juris Doctor from Florida State University College of Law in 1977.
Judt Scott Makar
Judge Makar was appointed to the First District Court of Appeal by Gov. Rick Scott in 2012. Before that, he was appointed by Attorney General Bill McCollum and then by Attorney General Pam Bondi to serve as solicitor general of the State of Florida from 2007 to 2012. After leaving private practice with Holland & Knight in 2001, Judge Makar became chief of the Appellate Division of the Office of General Counsel for the Consolidated City of Jacksonville until 2007. He is a member of the American Law Institute, The Florida Bar, Master Lawyer & Alumnus, William H. Stafford American Inn of Court (Tallahassee), Master Lawyer, First District Appellate Inn of Court (Tallahassee) 2008 to present, and a founding member of the Jacksonville Bar Association. Judge Makar received his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida College of Law, 1987, and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Florida in 1993.
Judge Rachel E. Nordby
Judge Nordby was appointed to the First District Court of Appeal in October 2019 by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Before her appointment, she was a partner in the Shutts & Bowen law firm in Tallahassee. Previously she had served as senior deputy solicitor general under Attorney General Pam Bondi and was a law clerk at the First DCA for Judge Bradford Thomas. Judge Nordby graduated with her Juris Doctor from the Florida State University College of Law in 2008. While there, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Florida State University Law Review and participated in the Florida Supreme Court Internship program for Distinguished Florida Law Students. She currently serves on The Florida Bar’s Appellate Court Rules Committee.
Judge Timothy D. Osterhaus
Judge Osterhaus was appointed to the First District Court of Appeal by Gov. Rick Scott in May 2013. Before his appointment, Judge Osterhaus served as the solicitor general of Florida. As Florida’s solicitor general, and as deputy solicitor general before that, he handled appeals on behalf of the state and its agencies in Florida’s District Courts of Appeal and in the Florida Supreme Court, as well in the federal courts, including in the U.S. Supreme Court. He also worked as counsel at the Florida Department of Education; worked in private practice in Washington, D.C.; and served as a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Ryskamp in West Palm Beach. Judge Osterhaus received his bachelor’s degree with highest honors from King College (Bristol, Tenn.) in 1993, and his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1997.
Judge L. Clayton Roberts
Judge Roberts was appointed to the First District Court of Appeal in 2007 by Gov. Charlie Crist. Before his appointment, Judge Roberts served as deputy attorney general, 2006 to 2007; executive deputy attorney general, 2003 to 2006; general counsel, Florida Department of State, 2002 to 2003; director, Florida Division of Elections, 1999 to 2002; council attorney, Public Responsibility Council, Florida House of Representatives, 1998 to 1999; staff director, Committee on Election Reform, Florida House of Representatives, 1997 to 1998; and staff attorney, Committee on Executive Business, Ethics & Elections, The Florida Senate, 1995 to 1997. As an adjunct professor of law, he has taught courses at Florida State University and St. Thomas University. Judge Roberts earned his Bachelor of Science with concentration in Military History at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York, in 1987, and his Juris Doctor at the Florida State University, College of Law, in 1991.
JUDGE ADAM S. TANENBAUM
Judge Tanenbaum was appointed to the First District Court of Appeal on Oct. 16, 2019, by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Before his appointment, Judge Tanenbaum served as general counsel for the Florida House of Representatives (2016 to 2019) where he provided legal advice and counsel to the speaker of the House and to House members and staff regarding matters of legislative interest. Before that, he served as general counsel for the Florida Department of State (2015 to 2016) and chief deputy solicitor general at the Florida Department of Legal Affairs (2014 to 2015). In 1993, Judge Tanenbaum earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (major in political science and minor in economics), with honors, from the University of Florida. He graduated cum laude with a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1996. He started his legal career as a law clerk to then-U.S. District Judge Stanley Marcus in the Southern District of Florida.
JUDGE J. ANDREW “DREW” ATKINSON
Judge Atkinson was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to the Second District Court of Appeal in 2018. He began his legal career at the Florida Office of the Attorney General, working in the Criminal Appeals Division before serving as a deputy solicitor general. After clerking for the Hon. Melanie G. May of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, he served as assistant general counsel to the governor before entering private practice at a statewide law firm. He later served as general counsel for both the Florida Department of State and the Florida Department of Management Services. Judge Atkinson was born in Gainesville and raised in Bradenton, where he graduated from Manatee High School. He received a B.A. from Florida State University and a J.D. with honors from Nova Southeastern University. Judge Atkinson is a veteran of the U.S. Army. He is also a member of the William Reece Smith, Jr., Litigation Inn of Court.
JUDGE MORRIS SILBERMAN
Judge Silberman was appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush to the Second District Court of Appeal for a term beginning in January 2001. He is secretary/treasurer of the Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal and also serves as chairman of the Finance Committee and the Strategic Planning and Evaluation Committee; he is an elected member of the American Law Institute; and he is an elected member of the University of Florida Law Center Association, Inc., Board of Trustees. Judge Silberman served on the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission from 2003 to 2012, including a term as chairman. He was a member of The Florida Bar Board of Governors from 1996 to 2000 and served two terms on the Executive Committee. Judge Silberman has taught at Florida’s Advanced Judicial College and at the Conferences of Florida’s Appellate, Circuit, and County Court Judges. He received his undergraduate degree from Tulane University, majoring in philosophy and political science. He received his J.D. degree from the University of Florida College of Law in 1982.
JUDGE ANDREA TEVES SMITH
Judge Smith was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to the Second District Court of Appeal in January 2019. She served more than five years as a Tenth Judicial Circuit judge in the Felony, Family and Civil divisions. As a circuit judge, Judge Smith held several leadership positions including administrative judge of the Civil Division for two years and chair of the Tenth Circuit Fairness & Diversity Team. Judge Smith is a member of the Lakeland Bar Association, Polk Association of Women Lawyers and Willson American Inn of Court. She served on The Florida Bar Standing Committee on Professionalism and the Committee on Relations with CPAs. She was also a member of the Federal Bar Association. She grew up in Bradenton and received her B.S. degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida in 1991. In 1994, she earned her J.D. from Stetson University College of Law. Upon graduating law school, she entered private practice in Lakeland, joining the law firm of Peterson & Myers, P.A., for 19 years.
JUDGE DANIEL H. SLEET
Judge Sleet was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to the Second District Court of Appeal in 2012. Before that, he practiced law for 19 years and served as an assistant state attorney for Hillsborough County. He was appointed to the 13th Judicial Circuit Court in 2005 by Gov. Jeb Bush. Judge Sleet has authored articles for The Florida Bar, Family Law Commentator and conducted numerous seminars for the Hillsborough County Bar Association. He served as the Criminal Justice chair of the Florida Conference of Circuit Judges in 2012 and served on the 13th Judicial Circuit Budget and Security Committee. Judge Sleet has been a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates since 2003. In 2015, he was selected Jurist of the Year by the Tampa Bay ABOTA Chapter. Judge Sleet earned a B.A. degree in History from Furman University, which he attended on a full football scholarship, in 1984. He received his J.D. degree from Cumberland School of Law in 1987. During his last two years of law school, he served as a magistrate for the city of Birmingham, Ala.
JUDGE MONICA GORDO
Judge Gordo was appointed to the Third District Court of Appeal in April 2019 by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Before that, she served as a Circuit Court judge for more than eight years presiding in the Criminal, Civil and Family trial court divisions. Judge Gordo also served as associate administrative judge of the Circuit Court Appellate Division in Miami-Dade County. Judge Gordo is a member of the Education Committee of the Florida Conference of Circuit Court Judges and has taught numerous courses in judicial education. Her past credits include: serving as an assistant state attorney for more than 11 years where she was a division chief responsible for supervising a Felony Division; teaching as an adjunct professor at the University of Miami School of Law on trial skills; and mentoring students as a volunteer for moot court competitions and mock trials for college students. Judge Gordo received her Juris Doctorate degree cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law. She currently serves as a member of the Law School Alumni Board of Directors.
JUDGE ERIC WM. HENDON
Judge Hendon was appointed to the Third District Court of Appeal by Gov. Rick Scott in 2018. Before that, he served as an attorney for nearly two decades working in the offices of Public Defender, State Attorney and Attorney General. He also served as a director of Legal Service and in private practice. As trial counsel, Judge Hendon had more than 90 jury trials and hundreds of bench trials over 20 years of practice. In the early 1980s at the James E. Scott Community Association, he supervised a staff of attorneys, paralegals and clerical employees providing legal representation to residents of low-income housing projects throughout Miami-Dade County. He began numerous judgeship positions starting in 1999 including two periods as a County Court judge and one period as a Circuit Court judge, working in both the Civil and Criminal divisions. Judge Hendon attended the University of Florida, where he received his B.A. degree in English in 1976. He received his J.D. degree from the University of Florida, College of Law, in December 1978.
JUDGE FLEUR J. LOBREE
Judge Lobree was appointed to the Third District Court of Appeal by Gov. Ron DeSantis in April 2019. She previously served as an 11th Judicial Circuit Court judge in the Criminal Division from February 2013 through January 2015, and as a Miami Dade County Court judge in the Criminal and Civil Divisions from April 2011 through January 2013. Previously, Judge Lobree was an assistant state attorney, an associate with Hicks, Anderson and Kneale, a career law clerk for the Hon. Rodolfo Sorondo, Jr., and an assistant attorney general. Judge Lobree spent six years as a member of The Florida Bar Criminal Procedure Rules Committee, including serving as its chair and liaison to the Appellate Court Rules and Rules of Judicial Administration committees. She also volunteered on a Florida Bar Grievance committee. Judge Lobree has trained attorneys and law enforcement officers on various topics. In 2014, she received the Dade County Bar Association Alan R. Schwartz Judicial Excellence Award. Judge Lobree is a 1992 graduate of the University of Miami School of Law.
JUDGE THOMAS LOGUE
Judge Logue was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to the Third District Court of Appeal in July 2012. Before that, Judge Logue served as an assistant county attorney for Miami-Dade County from 1982 to 2012. In that capacity, he litigated hundreds of state and federal cases. In addition to litigation in the courts, his legal practice included advocating before many administrative bodies, including the Florida Cabinet. Judge Logue has been active in professional and civic groups. He served on the Board of Directors of the Dade County Bar Association and chaired various Bar committees. He was a member of the Governor’s Ad Valorem Tax Task Force and vice-chair of the Coral Gables Charter Review Committee. He is a trustee and founding member of the 11th Judicial Circuit of the State of Florida Historical Society. Judge Logue taught Florida Constitutional Law as an adjunct professor at two universities. He received a B.A. in English Literature, cum laude, from Dickinson College, and a J.D. from Duke University.
JUDGE BRONWYN C. MILLER
Judge Miller was appointed to the Third District Court of Appeal by Gov. Rick Scott in 2018. She has also been appointed and worked on the County Court and Circuit Court benches. Judge Miller has served as a faculty member at Florida’s Conference of County Judges, Florida’s Conference of Circuit Judges, Florida Judicial College, and the College of Advanced Judicial Studies. She is an adviser to the Civil Jury Project at New York University School of Law and a member of the Appellate Rules Committee of The Florida Bar. Among many awards, Judge Miller received the Alan R. Schwartz Professional Excellence Award, the Judge Steve Levine Award and the Miami-Dade Commission on the Status of Women in the Company of Women “Outstanding Woman in Government” Award. Judge Miller was a prosecutor at the Miami-Dade County Office of the State Attorney from 1997 to 2005 and served as an adjunct professor at Florida International University. Judge Miller received her J.D. cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law and B.A from Barnard College at Columbia University.
JUDGE ALAN O. FORST
Judge Forst was appointed to the Fourth District Court of Appeal by Gov. Rick Scott in 2013. Before that, he was chairman of the Florida Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission/Unemployment Appeals Commission beginning in July 2001. Before beginning his judgeship, Judge Forst was an associate and partner at the Stuart law firm of Crary Buchanan. Earlier in his career, Judge Forst spent more than two decades in Washington, D.C., serving under Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton at the Departments of Justice and Labor, as counsel to the vice chair/member of the Merit Systems Protection Board, and as special assistant/counsel to the chairman at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Judge Forst also worked at the Department of Commerce, two Senate offices, the National Legal Center for the Public Interest, the Commission on Civil Rights, Legal Services Corp., and Northern Virginia Law School. He is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and the Columbus School of Law of the Catholic University of America.
JUDGE MARK W. KLINGENSMITH
Judge Klingensmith was appointed to the Fourth District of Appeal by Gov. Rick Scott in 2013. Previously, he had been appointed to the Circuit Court in the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit in July 2011. Judge Klingensmith has served on The Florida Bar’s Rules of Judicial Administration Committee, Rules of Civil Procedure Committee and Grievance Committee for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit. Currently he serves on The Florida Bar Publication’s Steering Committee of Florida Civil Trial Practice. He is Florida Bar Board Certified in Civil Trial Law, a four-time chosen Florida Super Lawyers, and has been an adjunct professor at Nova Southeastern University. Judge Klingensmith received his B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Florida, where he is on the Law School Board of Trustees. Previously, he was a member of the Florida Conference of Circuit Judges. Currently he is a member of the Florida Conference of District Court Judges, and the Martin County and St. Lucie County bar associations. He served as a commissioner, vice-mayor and mayor for the city of Sewall’s Point.
JUDGE MARTHA C. WARNER
Judge Warner was appointed to the Fourth District Court of Appeal by Gov. Bob Martinez in 1989. Before that, she was a 19th Judicial Circuit judge for two years. Her legal memberships have included: chair of the Appellate Judges Conference of the American Bar Association; member of the ABA Standing Committee on Continuing Education; lecturer at the ABA Conference of Chief Judges of Intermediate Appellate Courts; president of the Florida Conference of District Court of Appeal Judges; and a member of the Florida Bar Commission on the Legal Needs of Children, among many others. Judge Warner has received the Supreme Court of Florida’s Chief Justice’s Award of Excellence, the Outstanding Jurist of 1992 from the Young Lawyers Division of The Florida Bar, and The Florida Bar Appellate Practice Section’s James C. Adkins Award for Outstanding Contributions to Field of Appellate Practice in 2010. Judge Warner received her B.A., magna cum laude, from The Colorado College, and her J.D. with high honors from the University of Florida School of Law. She was an attorney in private practice for 11 years before becoming a judge.
CHIEF JUDGE KERRY I. EVANDER
Judge Evander was appointed to the Fifth District Court of Appeal by Gov. Jeb Bush in July 2006. His past judicial experience includes circuit judge, Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, January 1993 to June 2006 (chief judge from July 2005 to 2006); and county judge, Brevard County, May 1989 to January 1993. Before that, Judge Evander was in private practice with Gleason, Barlow, & Evander, P.A., 1988 to 1989; and Reinman, Harrell, March 1980 to August 1986 and May 1987 to January 1988. He is a member of the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission. Judge Evander earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Florida in 1976, with Honors, and his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida in 1980, with Honors.
JUDGE JAMIE R. GROSSHANS
Judge Grosshans was appointed to the Fifth District Court of Appeal in 2018 by Gov. Rick Scott. Before her appointment, she served as an Orange County Court judge in the Ninth Judicial Circuit. Following admittance to The Florida Bar, she served as an assistant state attorney for Orange County, in both the Misdemeanor and Felony divisions. Judge Grosshans graduated cum laude from the University of Mississippi School of Law. During law school, she clerked for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Mississippi. After graduation, Judge Grosshans entered private practice and founded her own law firm, where she focused on family law and criminal defense matters for nearly 10 years.
JUDGE JOHN M. HARRIS
Judge Harris was appointed to the Fifth District Court of Appeal by Gov. Rick Scott in July 2018. Before his appointment to the appellate court, Judge Harris served 16 years as a trial court judge in the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit. He served as administrative judge of the Criminal, Civil, Probate and Appellate divisions of the circuit court, and was twice elected to serve as chief judge of the Eighteenth Circuit, first in 2013 and then in 2017. Judge Harris was appointed to the County Court bench by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2002, and then to the Circuit Court bench in 2006. Judge Harris graduated from Oklahoma University with a degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice in 1988. He obtained his J.D. degree from Florida State University College of Law in 1991.
JUDGE RICHARD B. ORFINGER
Judge Orfinger was appointed to the Fifth District Court of Appeal by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2000 and served as the Court’s chief judge from 2011 to 2013. While a circuit judge for the Seventh Judicial Circuit from 1991 to 2000, he served as chief judge from 1996 to 1999. Judge Orfinger worked as an assistant state attorney in the Seventh Judicial Circuit from 1976 to 1978. He has served on numerous court committees and workgroups including the District Court Budget Commission from 2009 to 2013; the State Court Administrator Selection Committee in 2013; and the Court System/Clerk of Court Revenue Stabilization Workgroup in 2011. Judge Orfinger received a B.A. from Tulane University in 1974 and was awarded his Juris Doctor with honors from the University of Florida College of Law in 1976.
JUDGE MEREDITH L. SASSO
Judge Sasso was appointed to the Fifth District Court of Appeal in January 2019 by Gov. Rick Scott. Judge Sasso began her career in private practice, representing clients in large loss general liability, auto negligence and complex commercial claims in state and federal courts at trial and on appeal. In August 2016, Judge Sasso joined the Office of the General Counsel to Gov. Scott, where she ultimately served as chief deputy general counsel. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida in 2005 and her law degree from the University of Florida in 2008. Judge Sasso is currently serving as an appointed member of The Florida Bar Appellate Court Rules Committee.
JUDGE F. RAND WALLIS
Judge Wallis was appointed to the Fifth District Court of Appeal by Gov. Rick Scott in May 2013. Before that, Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Judge Wallis to the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court in January 2008. Judge Wallis earned his Bachelor of Arts from Furman University in 1989 and his Juris Doctor from Stetson University College of Law in 1992. He was assistant state attorney for the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit in Sanford from 1993 to 1995 and then entered private practice until 2008. Judge Wallis is a member of the Education Committee of the District Court of Appeal Conference; chair of the Florida State Courts Committee on Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases; Florida State Courts Standing Committee on Fairness and Diversity; Appellate Website Redesign Committee; and The Florida Bar and the Orange County Bar Association.