Local Legislators Visit Broward Courthouse


Several members of the Broward County legislative delegation and their staff visited the central courthouse on Wednesday, October 12, to hear first-hand how the court system is doing more with less. Court funding has been a top issue for several years now, as every tier of the judiciary has taken budgetary hits and suffered layoffs. In an effort to give legislators who represent Broward County citizens a better understanding of how the local courts are handling more cases with less staff, all were invited to visit with Chief Judge Weinstein and other 17 th Circuit judges, for an informal discussion, and a tour afterwards.


Last Updated (Friday, 04 May 2012 15:30)


Senior Judge Lazarus Honored by Sheriff Al Lamberti


On Monday, October 10, 2011, Senior Judge Joel Lazarus was presented with the Sheriff’s Special Recognition Award, to honor the judge’s courageousness this summer when an armed man entered the central courthouse in Fort Lauderdale.

Entering through an exit door, a distressed man pointed a gun at himself and demanded to speak to a judge. That’s when Judge Lazarus stepped in, putting his own safety at risk. When he realized all the man needed was a sympathetic ear, Judge Lazarus sat down with the man, while he still had the gun, and listened to him. The gunman was talked into putting down the weapon and was arrested without incident.

It was because he went above and beyond the call of duty that Judge Lazarus was recognized by Sheriff Al Lamberti with this special honor. Congratulations!

Last Updated (Tuesday, 11 October 2011 15:14)


Former Chief Judge Honored


Victor Tobin, former Chief Judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit, was honored at a luncheon today, October 4 in recognition of his years of service as Chief Judge. The luncheon was hosted by 17th Circuit Judges Jack Tuter and Robert Rosenberg, and was attended by many judges and court staff. Current Chief Judge Peter Weinstein presented an award to Judge Tobin in honor of his past service to the Circuit. Also making presentations were Public Defender Howard Finkelstein, State Attorney Michael J. Satz, Clerk of Courts Howard Forman and Judge of the 4th District Court of Appeal Dorian Damoorgian. Special thanks go to Mercedes Pacifico for organizing the event.

Last Updated (Tuesday, 04 October 2011 15:46)


The 17th Judicial Circuit Welcomes Judge Singhal


The 17th Judicial Circuit welcomes Judge Raag Singhal, who was sworn in to office today, September 30, by Chief Judge Peter M. Weinstein. Florida Governor Rick Scott appointed the criminal defense attorney to the 17th Circuit last month, to fill the judicial vacancy created this summer when Judge Victor Tobin resigned from the circuit.

Judge Singhal has practiced criminal law for more than 20 years, mostly serving in private practice. He served in the State Attorney’s Office from 1990-1993 and briefly in the civil field from 1989-1990. He obtained his law degree from Wake Forest University and his undergraduate degree from Rice University.

Judge Singhal is assigned to the criminal division, and will begin on the bench Monday, October 3.

Last Updated (Friday, 30 September 2011 12:13)


New General Magistrate at the 17th Circuit


Ms. Annette Szorosy was sworn in today, October 3, as the newest General Magistrate for the 17th Judicial Circuit of Florida. Ms. Szorosy will serve in the Family division at the central courthouse in Fort Lauderdale. Prior to her new appointment, Ms. Szorosy was a staff attorney with the 17th Circuit since 2009, handling family, civil and civil appeals cases. She has also worked for Florida’s 10th Circuit, and the 2nd and 4th District Courts of Appeal. Congratulations!

Last Updated (Monday, 03 October 2011 14:36)


Judge Peter M. Weinstein Begins as New Chief Judge

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July 1, 2011 - Circuit Judge Peter M. Weinstein begins his two-year term as Chief Judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit of Florida today, July 1. Chosen earlier in the year by a majority vote of his colleagues, Judge Weinstein replaces former Chief Judge Victor Tobin in the second-largest circuit court in the state of Florida.

Chief Judge Weinstein takes the helm, bringing many years of experience with him. He received his Bachelor's Degree from New York University and his Juris Doctorate Degree from Brooklyn Law School. He served as a legal officer in the United States Army, as a prosecutor for Broward County, and was in private practice for many years before being appointed to the 17th Circuit bench in 1998. He also served as a Florida Senator for 14 years. Judge Weinstein is married, with two sons and three grandchildren.

Last Updated (Friday, 08 July 2011 09:08)


17th Circuit's Foreclosure Program Restructured

The one-year program, funded by the Florida legislature, that established a special foreclosure unit in the 17th Circuit ended on June 30, 2011. As a result, The Foreclosure Case Management Unit was disbanded. All residential mortgage foreclosure hearings will continue to be heard in courtrooms 518 and 519 – cases are not being re-distributed amongst the civil division. 

Beginning July 11, 2011:

-All hearings must be set online.
-Inquiries for all foreclosure cases may be directed to Judge Garcia Wood’s office at 954-831-3580.
-All pro se litigants setting hearings must go in person, with a copy of the motion that was filed with the Clerk of Courts, to
Room 780 in the main courthouse.

Foreclosure division personnel stress the importance of all parties participating in foreclosure proceedings, including litigants, attorneys and paralegals, to please read the online Foreclosure Procedures thoroughly, as a means of finding answers to any questions.

For more information please refer to the Foreclosure Program Page.

Last Updated (Tuesday, 13 September 2011 14:00)


17th Circuit's Drug Court Celebrates 20th Anniversary


Fort Lauderdale, FL – On Wednesday, July 13, 2011, the 17th Judicial Circuit's Drug Court program will mark 20 years, with a special graduation ceremony at the Broward County Main Library at 6:00 pm. In addition to honoring the graduates who have successfully completed treatment this quarter, the ceremony will also recognize special guests in attendance – those who helped to pioneer the program two decades ago.

Currently, the 17th Circuit offers adult felony drug court, juvenile drug court, and misdemeanor drug court. By mid-year 2011, the current caseload for adult felony diversion cases was approximately 2,700, with an average annual disposition rate of 1,000 cases. According to Circuit Judge Marcia Beach, an average of 90% of participants have successfully completed the conditions of Broward County's Drug Court program, and, after two years, an average of 80% of participants are not rearrested.

When it first began, the 17th Circuit's Drug Court was one of only three in the nation; today there are more than 1,000. Drug Courts provide an alternative to traditional criminal sanctions by putting individuals in closely supervised substance abuse treatment programs long enough for them to work.

"The 17th Judicial Circuit's Drug Court has been phenomenally successful and helps to save lives and taxpayers money," says Judge Beach.

Last Updated (Thursday, 14 July 2011 11:06)


New President Of Conference of County Court Judges of Florida



Fort Lauderdale, FL – Broward County Judge Louis Schiff was sworn in as 2011-2012 President of the Conference of County Court Judges of Florida on Wednesday, July 6, in Boca Raton, FL. He will serve a one-year term leading the organization which boasts 320 members of the judiciary, representing all 67 counties in Florida.

As president, Judge Schiff established a program called Off the Bench, in which he “challenges” conference members to volunteer a minimum of four hours each month to help in their local communities. “When we get home at the end of the day, we’re still all members of the communities we live in. As judges, we need to give back to those who put us where we are today,” he says. The goal of the program is to give back a total of 15,000 hours of community service.

In addition to this program, Judge Schiff will lead the group to provide continuing judicial education and discuss mutual problems and solutions; develop programs to improve the administration of justice; provide a unified voice for county judges in dealings with the state legislature, executive branch, Supreme Court, and other state agencies; and acquire information for the improvement of county courts, practices, and procedures.

Judge Schiff has served on the bench in Broward County since 1997, and has served on the faculty for the Conference of County Court Judges of Florida since 2002.

Last Updated (Thursday, 14 July 2011 13:31)

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