Judges Honored

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The 17th Judicial Circuit is proud to recognize Senior Judge Joel Lazarus and County Court Judge Gisele Pollack, who were honored at the Broward County Crime Commission’s 33rd annual Criminal Justice Dinner on October 18, 2012.

Receiving the Frank R. Pinter Lifetime Achievement Award was Judge Lazarus, who was cited as the “consummate Criminal Justice representative in Broward County” for his many years of service in the legal field, including his time as a prosecutor and the nearly two decades he’s spent on the bench.

Judge Pollack received the Justice Leadership Award for her role as the circuit’s misdemeanor drug court judge. 

Last Updated (Friday, 02 November 2012 09:59)


Administrative Order Regarding Court Closure for T.S. Issac

Due to Tropical Storm Issac and the subsequent closure of the 17th Judicial Circuit court system on August 27, 2012, the Florida Supreme Court has issued the following Administrative Order for an Emergency Request to Extend Time Periods Under All Florida Rules of Procedure for Broward County.


Last Updated (Friday, 21 September 2012 14:01)


Courthouse Groundbreaking Ceremony- Video

Last Updated (Friday, 07 September 2012 14:48)


New Circuit Judge Lynn Rosenthal


Less than one month after being appointed to a circuit court judicial vacancy by Governor Rick Scott, Lynn Rosenthal was sworn in as the 17th Judicial Circuit's newest judge on August 1, 2012.  

Prior to her judicial appointment, Judge Rosenthal served as an Assistant United States Attorney for 27 years, prosecuting a variety of federal crimes, as well as serving in the civil division of the U.S. Attorney's Office. Before that, the University of Florida graduate worked in private law firms as as associate attorney.

In the 17th, Judge Rosenthal will serve in the Family division, overseeing juvenile dependency cases.  

Welcome to the 17th Circuit Judge Rosenthal!

Last Updated (Thursday, 09 August 2012 12:50)


New General Magistrate Vanni


The 17th Circuit welcomes Claudette Vanni as its newest General Magistrate, covering the Probate division. She begins her new position on Monday, July 23 and brings a considerable amount of experience with her.

For more than 10 years she has worked in the area of public interest law. Magistrate Vanni was a senior attorney at the Guardian ad Litem program, and most recently worked as a senior trial lawyer at the Office of the Attorney General/Children’s Legal Services.

Magistrate Vanni received her law degree from Nova Southeastern, where she graduated with honors, and received her undergraduate degree from Saint Leo University, graduating summa cum laude.

Welcome to the 17th Circuit!

Last Updated (Monday, 23 July 2012 13:47)


17th Circuit Welcomes New County Court Judge



Christopher Pole was sworn in today as the newest member of the 17th Circuit’s judiciary, assigned to the county criminal bench, division MH. Judge Pole was appointed by Governor Scott, and will begin his term on Monday, July 2, 2012.

A native of Fort Lauderdale, Judge Pole received his law degree at Nova Southeastern University. He began his legal career with the State Attorney’s Office, serving from 1981 until 1985. He went on to work as in-house counsel for AIG insurance for three years before going into private practice in 1988. As a solo practitioner, Judge Pole represented both criminal and personal injury defendants. Since 1993, he has been a certified criminal trial lawyer by the Florida Bar, and was an adjunct professor at his alma mater from 1993 – 1996.

Oh behalf of the entire 17th Circuit family, welcome Judge Pole!

Last Updated (Friday, 29 June 2012 15:28)


Two Judges Honored with Awards

Always looking for ways to improve Broward’s dependency system both in the courtroom and in the community, Judge Hope Bristol was honored with the 2012 Judicial Advocacy Award at the Guardian ad Litem Program’s annual volunteer recognition celebration. The honor is given in appreciation of a jurist’s dedication to the abused, abandoned and neglected children of Broward County.

At the annual meeting of the Broward Bar, Judge Jane Fishman was presented with the 2012 Stephen R. Booher award. This award recognizes jurists with extended years of service who throughout the years have exhibited superior legal knowledge and understanding, coupled with the highest measure of judicial compassion, conscientiousness and demeanor.

Congratulations to our judges!

Last Updated (Friday, 29 June 2012 15:29)


Veterans Court Begins in Broward County

Broward County celebrated its new Veterans Court on Monday, April 30, 2012, with a distinctive opening ceremony, featuring guest speaker Will Gunn, Esq., U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs General Counsel. County Judge Edward H. Merrigan, an 18-year veteran and Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, was officially honored as the presiding judge for Broward’s Veterans Court by Chief Judge Peter M. Weinstein. Kicking off the event was the Color Guard representing the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

The first docket for the county's Veterans Treatment Court will be held on Monday, May 7, 2012, in courtroom 344.

Broward County Veterans Court is a voluntary 12-18 month program designed for veterans who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces and are currently experiencing legal problems due to suffering from behavioral, mental health, or substance abuse disorders. An alternative to the traditional court setting, Veterans Court will provide services such as intensive probation supervision, counseling and peer mentoring, random drug and alcohol testing, medication monitoring and social services. The Court promotes sobriety, recovery, and stability by providing veterans with the tools to move forward with their lives while satisfying the legal requirements of the court process.

Last Updated (Friday, 04 May 2012 15:39)


Judge Lopane Honored for Community Service


Circuit Judge Nicholas Lopane was recently honored for his dedication to community service in the first annual Golden Nugget Awards Gala, hosted by Mount Bethel Human Services Corporation on March 16, 2012. The award honors members of the community who “have the desire to help the least, the lost, and the left out.”

Judge Lopane was honored for all he does both on and off the bench including his work as a General Magistrate and also as a Circuit Court judge helping families, and his extracurricular community involvement such as his work in creating the “Fighting Chance” boxing and fitness club at Carter Park which gives children an option for better use of idle time.

Congratulations Judge Lopane!

Last Updated (Wednesday, 21 March 2012 14:36)

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