South Broward Bar Association Hosts Annual Law Day Speech Competition


Last week, the South Broward Bar Association hosted the annual Law Day speech competition which was held at Nativity Catholic School. Judging the competitors were Judge Sharon Zeller, Judge Marina Garcia Wood, Judge Carols Rodriguez, Michael Rajtar, Victor Debianchi, and Ben Protano with Ken Hassett as Master of Ceremonies. The teams were so good, it was a tie for first place!

Stranahan High School Leaders Visit Bond Court


Students representing Stranahan High School’s Mentoring Tomorrow’s Leaders visited First Appearance Court one morning last week. During Judge Powell’s morning docket session, the children observed court and had the chance to sit and talk with the judge. Fort Lauderdale Police Department Officer Johnny McCray arranged the trip and brought some of his fellow officers to visit Judge Powell as well.
New West Tower Named After Walter G. “Skip” Campbell, Jr.

Last week, April 10, 2019, the new West Building of the Central Courthouse in the Seventeenth Circuit was officially named the Walter G. “Skip” Campbell, Jr. West Building. The prominent attorney and pillar in the community passed away in 2018. To honor his legacy, the Broward County Commission named the new tower after him.Family, friends and colleagues gathered for the naming ceremony which included speech tributes, a ribbon-cutting, and the name unveiling.

More Than 100 St. Coleman Students Visit Central Courthouse

Last week, 100 middle school students from St.Coleman Catholic School spent the morning at the central courthouse in Fort Lauderdale. After Judge Tarlika Navarro greeted the group in the lobby, the students went on to watch trials and hearings from 9:30-11 and then engaged in a crime scene presentation and a DUI presentation. This visit has become an annual event, coordinated by Judge Michele Towbin-Singer.

Special thanks to Lewis Defeo and Sergeant John Baker of Pembroke Pines Police and Jose Rada, Executive Director of Broward-Dade Safety Council for the DUI presentation, and BSO Crime Lab technicians for the mock crime scene presentation.

Judge Ross Honored as 2019 Jurist of the Year Award by Florida Association of Women Lawyers

The Florida Association of Women Lawyers (FAWL) has chosen Judge Stacy Ross for its 2019 Jurist of the Year Award. The award recognizes a judge whose career embodies the highest standards of judicial conduct for integrity and independence, knowledgeable and faithful to the law, dignified and courteous to all who appear before her, and who endeavors to improve the administration of justice and the public’s understanding and respect for the role of law in our society.

Judge Ross will receive her award at the Florida Bar’s annual convention this summer.

Congratulations Judge Ross, on this well-deserved recognition!

Broward County Bar Association Hosts Seminar at West Regional Courthouse

Last week, the Broward County Bar Association spotlighted our West regional courthouse in Plantation, hosting “Practicing in County Court, Things You Should Know & Meet the New Judges” for its members.

Seminar speakers included The Honorable Ellen Feld, The Honorable Olga Levine, The Honorable Natasha DePrimo and The Honorable Phoebee Francois, who all preside at the West satellite.

Therapy Dog Coral Receives Pet Hero of the Year Award

Nearly six years ago, the Seventeenth Circuit began a pilot Therapy Dog program. Coral and her handler Judy were the first team in the program, and they are still going strong today. In recognition of all the good Coral does in the community, she was recently honored with the Florida Veterinary Medical Association’s Pet Hero of the Year Award for 2019!

At the central courthouse, Coral and Judy visit the Juvenile Dependency court every week, radiating kindness, patience and love to children who have suffered trauma in their lives. Coral is the calming influence so many of the children in court need and we in the Seventeenth Circuit are happy to celebrate this wonderful, well-deserved honor for her.

Expanded Self-Help Center Going Strong One Year Later


The Seventeenth Circuit is celebrating the one year anniversary of our Expanded Self Help Center.  What was once merely a dream has become a highly successful tool in facilitating people’s access to services that they need, all under one roof, located in the West Tower of the Broward County Courthouse  The Self Help Center is comprised of Women in Distress, Coast to Coast Legal Aid, Henderson Behavioral Health, 211 Broward and South Florida Wellness Network.  Since the opening of the Self Help Center, Women in Distress has assisted an average of 71 persons each month; 211 Broward has assisted an average of 38 persons per month; South Florida Wellness Network has averaged 18 people per month; Henderson Mental Health has averaged 57 people per month; and Coast to Coast Legal Aid has assisted an average of 322 persons per month.  These numbers show that having the different agencies all under one roof has enabled countless people to navigate their way to the services that they need.  We are so proud of the Self Help Center and the wonderful work that has been done and look toward reaching out to even more people in the future.


Court Bailiff to Walk Again to Raise Awareness About Human Trafficking

Court Bailiff Roger DeHart has made the news once again, as he continues to raise awareness about human trafficking. Last year he walked 1,000 miles from Broward County’s central courthouse steps to the steps of the capitol in Washington DC for his charity, First S.T.O.P. (Saving Teens and Others from Predators.) This August, he will walk the California coast.
Click here to read the Sun Sentinel article about his journey.