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DCA and circuit court judge pay lags compared to other states

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Florida courtsPay for Florida’s district court and circuit court judges continues to trend downward compared to other states, with the Sunshine State lagging.

The National Center for State Courts updated its Survey of Judicial Salaries in January 2020 and Florida’s ranking dropped. In this mid-year revision:

  • Florida district court judges fell to 23rd among 42 jurisdictions that have intermediate appellate court judges. That represents a drop of two places for Florida’s district court judges. Nebraska and Texas leapfrogged Florida on the pay list from last year.
  • Florida circuit court judges fell to 28th place, dropping two spots from the previous year. Vermont and Texas have raised their pay for general jurisdiction judges and surpassed Florida’s circuit judges.

Salaries for Florida district court and circuit court judges were in the top 10 among states in 2000, but lagged thereafter. A 2017 salary adjustment made a difference, but the trend line of comparisons to other states is downward once again.

Florida district court judges are now paid $169,554. Circuit court judges are paid $160,688.

John Stewart, president of The Florida Bar, updated members of its Board of Governors in January on efforts during this legislative session, noting work to ensure adequate judicial branch funding was its top objective, including advocating on behalf of judicial pay.

“To bring the best and most diverse talent to the courts of the nation’s third-largest state, we must offer pay levels that can compete with the public and private sectors,” Stewart said. “By paying judges a competitive wage, the state will ensure it attracts excellent, diverse lawyers to seek the bench and retains experienced judges who move cases efficiently, fairly, and predictably through the system.”

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