Spring/Summer '16 Circuit Court Newsletter


Judge Lee Receives Prestigious Award from Chief Justice Labarga



Contact: Craig Waters, Director of Public Information

Florida Supreme Court

Chief Justice Labarga Presents Award for Excellence to Broward Judge

PONTE VEDRA BEACH – Broward County Judge Robert Lee is an excellent trial judge who is extremely active in helping other judges excel, Florida Chief Justice Jorge Labarga said Tuesday as he presented Judge Lee with the Chief Justice Award for Judicial Excellence.

In nearly two decades on the bench, Judge Lee has built an inspiring record of activities and accomplishments, Chief Justice Labarga said, praising Judge Lee for his exceptional commitment to the judicial branch as well as his energy and his creativity.

Judge Lee mentors new judges, compiles comprehensive resource materials to help judges handling small claims and civil traffic infraction cases, and created innovative programs to hold jury-duty scofflaws accountable and to correct teen traffic misconduct. He also frequently writes articles for publication in legal journals, teaches at universities and, of course, handles his caseload.

The chief justice presented the award during the annual education program for Florida’s 322 county judges. A second award will be presented to a circuit judge next month at the annual education program for circuit judges. A selection committee of two county judges and two circuit judges, appointed by their respective judicial conferences, recommended both award recipients from nominations made by judges.

Gary Cowart, a retired judge, wrote in support of the nomination of Judge Lee: “He is always trying to make things better, not only for his colleagues, but the legal system and the public as well.” Judge Lee currently serves as chair of the Civil Division of the Broward County Court. He was appointed a county judge in 1997 by the late Gov. Lawton Chiles. Judge Lee has served in the criminal and civil divisions, as well as on temporary assignment to the circuit.

While some of Judge Lee’s accomplishments might be characterized as “behind the scenes,” he has first-hand experience of being called upon to perform his duty in the white-hot glare of national scrutiny: In 2000, he was the chair of the three-member Broward County Canvassing Board and presided over the historic recount in Broward in the disputed presidential election.

As a judge, he has published more than a dozen articles in various legal publications. He has presided over more than 335 jury trials and has more than 500 published legal decisions. He has also taught at Florida International University and Barry University. In 2011, the Broward County Bar Association honored Judge Lee with its Stephen R. Booher Memorial Award.

Before becoming a judge, he worked in private practice, primarily involving commercial litigation. However, he received the Individual Attorney Support Award from Legal Aid of Broward County for pro bono work involving mental health issues. He was active in the community, working with the Broward Education Foundation, Broward United Against Discrimination, the Broward Human Rights Initiative and the Broward County Hispanic Bar Association.

Judge Lee earned his law degree in 1985 at the University of Florida, where he served as a senior editor on the Law Review and was awarded a teaching fellowship. He has a master’s degree in History Humanities from California State University at Dominguez Hills and a bachelor’s degree from Jacksonville University.

Chief Justice Labarga created the Chief Justice Awards for Judicial Excellence in 2015; this is the second year awards have been presented.


Last Updated (Wednesday, 13 July 2016 10:04)


Notice of Applications to be Record Newspaper

Last Updated (Friday, 08 July 2016 09:03)


Jose Izquierdo Sworn in as New Circuit Judge


Jose Izquierdo was sworn in as the 17th Circuit's newest circuit court judge on Thursday, June 30, 2016, by Chief Judge Peter M. Weinstein.


Notice of Pilot Mediation Program for Incapacity and Guardianship Proceedings


Judge Goldenberg Receives Jurist of the Year Award


Judge Renee Goldenberg was presented with the Florida Association of Women Lawyers 2016 Jurist of the Year Award at a reception on June 16, 2016, during the Florida Bar’s annual convention in Orlando, FL. Established in 2015, Judge Goldenberg is the first member of the judiciary to receive this honor that recognizes jurists who have consistently, fearlessly, and partially promoted the rule of law respecting the equal rights of all who come before him or her.

Judge Goldenberg is the chairperson of the 17th Circuit’s Unified Family Law division.

Congratulations Judge Goldenberg! 


Judge Lopane Honored with EPIC Award


In recognition of his “ability to recognize patterns of behavior and his understanding of how best to structure his courtroom to manage communications with individuals who have mental health issues…” Family Judge Nicholas Lopane was recently honored with a 2016 EPIC Award, sponsored by the Mental Health Association of Southeast Florida. Exceptional People Impacting the Community (EPIC) honorees are chosen by the organization each year for their advocacy in mental health and its impact on the community. At the awards ceremony in May, Judge Lopane was cited as being “a great advocate for families who are struggling with the emotional stress and conflict of separation or divorce as well as the mental health issues which figure prominently during this traumatic transition.”

Congratulations Judge Lopane!

Last Updated (Tuesday, 14 June 2016 15:44)


Judge Davis Sworn in as New County Court Judge


Michael Davis was sworn in as Broward's newest county court judge on Monday, June 6, 2016. Judge Davis took the oath with Chief Judge Peter M. Weinstein presiding over the ceremony. 

Born in south Florida, Judge Davis received his law degree at Hofstra University and went on to practice law in New York before coming to work for Florida's Department of Children and Families in 2010. He has also worked with the Florida Guardian ad Litem program and most recently for the attorney general's office. 

In his new role, Judge Davis is assigned to preside over First Appearance Magistrate court. 

Congratulations and welcome to the 17th Circuit family! 

Last Updated (Tuesday, 07 June 2016 14:05)


Two Judicial Vacancies Filled

The 17th Judicial Circuit announces the appointment of two new judges to the bench today, Monday, May 23, 2016. Governor Rick Scott appointed attorney Jose Izquierdo to the Circuit bench, and attorney Michael Davis to the County Court bench. 

Congratulations to both, and welcome to the 17th Circuit family!

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