Barry University Students Spend a Day at the Courthouse

Students from Barry University took a “forensic social work” field trip last week to the central courthouse. Dr. Jill Levenson, Professor of Social Work at Barry coordinated the trip for her social work students, and it included an entire day of observation and interaction with several judges and court staff. Special thanks to Judges Towbin-Singer, Porth, Levenson, Lerner-Wren, Bristol, Schulman, and Magistrate Laventure for being a part of the day!

Florida Courts Public Information Officers Hold Annual Conference

The Florida Courts Public Information Officers (FCPIO) held their annual conference last week in St.Petersburg, Florida. The three-day conference kept court PIOs from around the state busy with workshops, break-out sessions, presentations and hands-on training. State Courts Administrator PK Jameson, Chief Justice-Elect Charles T. Canady, and former Chief Justice Charles T. Wells, were among the speakers. Presentations on the Constitution Revision Commission, Emergency Operations and Communications, Judicial Ethics and Dealing with the Media During a High Casualty Event, were some of the topics the PIOs learned more about. Hands-on training focused on creating website graphics, podcasting, and filming public service announcements.

Judges Serve on Broward College Panel Discussion


Broward College hosted a “Changing the Narrative on Mathematics” event on April 6th, featuring panelists sharing their perspective of the importance of mathematical critical thinking and problem solving in the courts and medicine.The panel included Professor David Wirth, Judge Jennifer Hilal, Clerk of Court Brenda Forman and Judge Michele Towbin-Singer.


County Hosts Town Hall to Update Courthouse Employees


Broward County hosted two town hall meetings for courthouse staff last week in order to update everyone on the Central Courthouse Construction Project. The 20-story new West tower has been built, but there is much more to go. Demolition of the old courthouse should begin later this year, and the garage going up in its place should be finished by late 2019. Additionally, major renovations are scheduled to begin in the East wing, basically stripping everything down in the interior, and rebuilding it. The North wing will also get new electrical systems, elevator upgrades, and more.

The projected timeline calls for on-going construction projects in to 2022. Additional details will be provided as they are made available.

Judge Diaz Receives Student Life Achievement Award from NSU

The Seventeenth Circuit is proud to congratulate Judge Robert F. Diaz who was honored with the Student Life Achievement Award (aka “the Stuey”), given to Nova Southeastern University’s best, who show Academic Excellence, Student Centered, Integrity, Innovation, Opportunity, Scholarship, Diversity, and Community.
Judge Diaz was honored as the Alumnus of the Year for 2018 for his contribution to NSU, the Law School, and the Community.

Pictured L-R: Nova Law Dean Jon Garon, NSU President George Hanbury, Judge Robert F. Diaz, Dian Diaz, and Gabriela Diaz

Judge Bristol and the Opioid Crisis


Judge Hope Bristol, Administrative Family Judge in the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, coordinated a local training in Broward County on March 16th to address the opioid crisis. Showing how influential a judge can be as a convener, with less than two months’ notice, Judge Bristol was able to gather over 60 attendees, including judges, magistrates, court staff, attorneys, child protective investigators, community-based care case managers, guardian ad litem representatives, and service providers. Two national consultants, Pam Baston and Dr. Vicky Weisz, as well as an expert judge from Miami, Judge Jeri B. Cohen, and a doctor from Palm Beach County who treats patients with opioid use disorder, Marc Schlosser, presented the training. As a result of attending, participants were able to:
·         Name at least two opioid substances commonly used by families involved in child welfare and judicial systems.
·         Identify at least two connections between parental opioid use and specific harms to children.
Describe how medication—in conjunction with counseling along with psychosocial and recovery support—is the most effective treatment for opioid use disorder.
Judge Bristol was able to provide this training through a combination of reaching out to experts in neighboring counties and leveraging specific opioid-related federal resources through a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant.

Judge Bristol also plans to tackle this crisis on a statewide level in her capacity as chair of the Dependency Court Improvement Panel. The panel will meet in April to develop a statewide court response to the opioid epidemic.

Broward County Kidspace Comes to the Central Courthouse

A grand opening celebration was held today in the Central Courthouse to welcome the addition of Broward County Kidspace, a secure, nurturing environment with trained, qualified YWCA staff to supervise children ages 6 months – 13 years while their parent/legal guardian attend a domestic violence related court proceeding or filing. Open Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Broward County Kidspace is open to children by referral only, through the Clerk of Courts, Domestic Violence Clerk. For more information, call (954) 831-5570 or email

Pictured here for the ribbon cutting ceremony are: Alphonso Jefferson, Assistant County Administrator; Commissioner Nan Rich, Broward County Board of County Commissioners; Philip Harris, Administrator of the Children’s Services Administration Section; Brenda D. Forman, Clerk of Courts; Chief Judge Jack Tuter; Chief Paul O’Connell, Broward Chief’s of Police Association.