The Florida Bar

The Vote’s in YOUR COURT - Fourth DCA Biographies

Fourth District Court of Appeal
The Vote's in Your Court - Judicial merit retention. Know the Facts

Judge Alan O. Forst

Alan Orantes Forst was appointed to the Fourth District Court of Appeal in 2013.

  • Beginning in July 2001, Judge Forst served as chairman of the Florida Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission/Unemployment Appeals Commission, an independent agency that conducts appellate review of contested unemployment compensation claims, issues final orders and, if necessary, defends those orders before the district courts of appeal.
  • Before the 2001 appointment, Judge Forst was an associate and partner at the Stuart law firm Crary Buchanan.
  • For more than two decades, Judge Forst worked in Washington, D.C., serving in 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 Chairman Clarence Thomas at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Other positions were at the Department of Commerce, two Senate offices, the National Legal Center for the Public Interest, the Commission on Civil Rights, the Legal Services Corp. and Northern Virginia Law School.
  • Judge Forst is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and the Columbus School of Law of the Catholic University of America.
    Visit the court website for Judge Forst's full biography. External Link.

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    Judge Mark W. Klingensmith

    Judge Klingensmith was appointed to the Fourth District Court of Appeal in 2013. Before that, he was a circuit judge in the 19th circuit, having been appointed in 2011 before winning election in 2012.

    • Judge Klingensmith worked in private practice in West Palm Beach for 25 years before taking the bench. From 1992 to 2011,he was a shareholder with Sonneborn Rutter Cooney & Klingensmith. Before that he was a junior partner with Metzger Sonneborn & Rutter, from 1990 to 1992, and from 1986 to 1990, he practiced with Metzger & Sonneborn.
    • Judge Klingensmith became Florida Bar Board Certified in Civil Trial law in 2001 and was recertified in both 2006 and 2011.
    • He is the author of numerous publication including "Opening Statements, Florida Civil Trial Practice (8th Ed., 2010; 9th Ed., 2012), The Florida Bar Publications.
    • Judge Klingensmith received his B.A. from the University of Florida in 1982 and his J.D. from the University of Florida in 1985.
      Visit the court website for Judge Klingensmith's full biography. External Link.
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      Judge W. Matthew Stevenson

      Judge Stevenson has served on the Fourth District Court of Appeal since 1994, and served as chief from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2007. He served as a circuit judge, in the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, from 1990 to 1994.

      • Judge Stevenson was mediator in private practice in Fort Lauderdale from 1987 to 1990; an administrative hearing officer with the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings from 1985 to 1987; and a commissioned officer in the Judge Advocate General's Corps., U.S. Navy, from 1981 to 1985.
      • From 1978 to 1979, Judge Stevenson was a law clerk for the Honorable Joseph W. Hatchett at the Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth (now the Eleventh) Circuit.
      • He began his legal career as an assistant public defender in the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit from 1978 to 1979.
      • Judge Stevenson received his B.A. in criminology from Florida State University in 1975 and his J.D. from the FSU College of Law, in 1978.

      Visit the court website for Judge Stevenson's full biography. External Link.
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        Judge Martha C. Warner

        Judge Warner began serving on the Fourth District Court of Appeal in 1989, and led the court as chief judge from July 1, 1999, to June 30, 2001. Before that, she was a circuit court judge in the 19th Judicial Circuit from 1986 to 1988. Her legal career began in private practice from 1974 to 1985. Judge Warner was president of the Florida Conference of District Court of Appeal Judges for the 2008 to 2009 term.

        • She has served on the Supreme Court Committee on District Court of Appeal Performance and Accountability, from 1998 to the present, chairing the committee for a decade, from 1998 to 2008.
        • Additionally, she is a member of the Supreme Court Electronic Filing Committee, from 2003 to the present.
        • For the American Bar Association, Judge Warner chaired its Appellate Judges Conference from 2009 to 2010.
        • Judge Warner received her B.A., magna cum laude, from The Colorado College, in 1971. She attended the University of Chicago Law School from 1971 to 1972 and received her J.D. from the University of Florida College of Law with high honors in 1974. She received a Master of Laws in the Judicial Process, LL.M, from the University of Virginia in 1995.

        Visit the court website for Judge Warner's full biography. External Link.
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      [Revised: 08-06-2014]