Judge Keathan Frink visited Embassy Creek Elementary School on Friday morning for Career Day. He spoke to the students about government and the role of the judiciary.

Thank you for your community outreach, Judge Frink!

Last Friday, the Broward County Courthouse hosted 60 students from schools across the county participating in the Informed Voters Project, a national initiative developed to educate the public about the constitutional role of the judicial branch and to protect the courts from outside influence. Judges and attorneys volunteered their time to lead group sessions in different courtrooms, engaging the students in activities including Judicial Jeopardy, Judicial Bingo, and Judicial Q&A.

Thank you to all the judges and attorneys who volunteered, and the staff who put it all together!

Congratulations to the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit’s Trial Court Administrator on receiving the 2022 Commitment to Justice Award from Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida! The award honors members of the community whose work reflects and embodies the mission of CCLA to improve the lives of low income persons in our community through advocacy, education, representation and empowerment.

As a Trial Court Administrator for the 17th Judicial Circuit Court, Kathleen Pugh’s work certainly reflects and embodies the mission of CCLA. Ms. Pugh was instrumental in coordinating and advocating for space at the Courthouse for CCLA’s Family Court Self Advocacy Center (FCSAC), where thousands of self-represented litigants have been assisted since inception. In addition, during the pandemic, Broward’s 17th Judicial Circuit kept running, thanks to help from Kathleen and the entire Court Administration team. Court proceedings were transferred to Zoom, and our clients received important protection as injunction cases continued to be heard. We celebrate Kathleen Pugh for all that she’s done to assist our clients – and all that she and her team do that we don’t ever see.

Kathleen Pugh, Esq., has been Trial Court Administrator for Florida’s second-largest circuit court, the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, which serves all of Broward County since August 2011. The Trial Court Administrator assists the Chief Judge in carrying out the administrative duties of the court and ensures that the day-to-day operations of the court run smoothly, with the mission of the Seventeenth Circuit in mind. Kathleen came to this position with an extensive amount of education and work-related experience. A member of both the New York and Florida Bars, Kathleen worked as a senior court clerk and court attorney for the New York State Court System in Nassau County, NY before beginning her career with the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit in 1999 as a staff attorney. Prior to becoming Trial Court Administrator, Kathleen supervised the circuit’s 16 staff attorneys.

Kathleen earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Empire State College of the State University of New York, her Juris Doctor from Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law School and her Master of Law degree from the University of Miami.



Judge Andrea R. Gundersen participated as a Judge in the Nova Middle School Opening Statements Competition on Friday. The judge noted that the skill level of the students was impressive!


Congratulations to the Seventeenth Circuit’s newest judges, appointed by Governor DeSantis on April 14. We welcome Francis Viamontes to the Circuit bench and Catalina Avalos to the County bench!

As mentioned in a media statement from the Governor’s office on new judicial appointments across the state:

“Francis Viamontes, of Plantation, to serve as Judge on the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Court

Viamontes has served as an Assistant United States Attorney and Chief of the Narcotics and Violent Crimes Section for the Southern District of Florida since 2011. Previously, she served as an Assistant State Attorney in the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit. She received her bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Miami. Viamontes fills the judicial vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Mily Rodriguez Powell.

Catalina Avalos, of Pembroke Pines, to serve as Judge on the Broward County Court

Avalos has served as a Director at Tripp Scott, P.A. since 2009. Previously, she served as Judge on the Broward County Court for four years. She received her bachelor’s degree from Florida International University and her law degree from Nova Southeastern University. Avalos fills the judicial vacancy created by the elevation of Judge Natasha DePrimo.”

All candidates for judgeships must comply with the ethical requirements of Canon 7 of Florida’s Code of Judicial Conduct. During the up-coming Judicial Campaign Forum in Broward County, the standards governing judicial elections will be explained to candidates, campaign managers, staff, the news media, and others in public forums designed to raise awareness regarding the requirements of Canon 7. All judicial candidates seeking contested seats or facing active opposition for merit retention are encouraged to attend the forums.

The forums are being organized by the Florida Supreme Court and The Florida Bar Board of Governors in conjunction with the state’s trial court chief judges and the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee.

Candidates for judicial office should visit Opinions/ Judicial-Ethics­Advisory-Committee for information about the forums, as well as resource materials.

WHEN: FRIDAY, MAY 6, 2022 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE: Broward County Courthouse
201 S.E. 6th Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL  33301
Courtroom 15150, West Building

WHO: All judicial candidates seeking contested seats or facing active opposition for merit retention are encouraged to attend.