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Jeanne Potthoff was recognized at the 27th Annual Dispute Resolution Center conference on August 17 with the Dispute Resolution Center’s Sharon Press Excellence in Alternative Dispute Resolution Award for a person with visionary leadership, professional integrity, and unwavering devotion to the field of alternative dispute resolution.
Jeanne was involved in the implementation of the first dependency mediation program for  the circuit as well as managing the instant family mediation grant in the early 2000’s. In 2003, Jeanne was selected by Sharon Press to participate with the group of coordinators and directors who provided input to OSCA for implementation of the programs under the state. Jeanne serves on the ADR Rules and Policy committee including a few subcommittees. One subcommittee, the On-line Dispute Resolution subcommittee provides input and guidelines for On-line Dispute Resolution pilot projects. The Seventeenth Judicial Circuit has been selected as one of six pilot sites.
Congratulations Jeanne!

This year, the Hollywood Municipal Ordinance Diversion Program began in Judge Cawthon’s division at the South Satellite Courthouse, and the first 3 program graduates completed the program last week! The diversion program is aimed at addressing the needs of the homeless and low-level first time and repeat offenders who have been charged with municipal ordinance violations. Individuals who are eligible for the diversion program must comply with all program requirements, including active participation in community programs aimed at addressing each individual’s specific needs, such as housing assistance, substance abuse, job training, etc. This type of program encourages individuals with chronic issues to take control of their lives and overcome their problems, ultimately improving both the individuals’ lives and the quality of life in the surrounding community.

The first time graduates were presented with a certificate of completion and had their cases dismissed by the Hollywood City Prosecutor.

Nova Southeastern University and the NSU Trial Association at the Shepard Broad College of Law held their Fifth Annual Trial Advocacy Summer Institute (TASI) on August 9, 2019, with sixty four law students participating. Leading up to the final trials on Friday, several local trial attorneys and Judge Diaz taught trial skills to the students throughout the week. During final trials, close to 100 local attorneys served as jurors and ten county and circuit court judges presided.

The Broward County Bar Association hosted a continuing legal education course last Friday regarding the Mission United Veterans Pro Bono Legal Project. The lunchtime crowd heard from a panel of speakers about the program, including the Seventeenth Circuit’s Judge Usan and Judge Alspector.

Congratulations to Circuit Judge Raag Singhal who has been nominated by the President to serve on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida!

The Seventeenth Circuit’s 97th felony drug court graduation ceremony was held on July 25, 2019. We celebrated 206 participants who successfully completed the program!
Since its inception, drug court has helped thousands of people in the court system overcome their addictions. The ceremony was hosted by Drug Court Judges MicheleTowbin-Singer and Ari Porth and Magistrate Philip Schlissel, as well as their staff.

For the next two weeks, staff from the Department of Health Broward County will be on-site at City Hall during the Community Court dockets, offering free Hepatitis A vaccines.

Eleven young ladies from Girl Scout Troop 10115 visited the central courthouse last week, to take a tour, observe court, and have one-on-one time with a judge. Clerk of Courts Brenda Forman greeted the group with an overview of the role her office plays in the court system. After touring various courtrooms, and the jury room, the group went to Judge Tim Bailey’s courtroom for a hearing and to talk with the judge. The 5th grade scouts were there to learn about the government, in general, and the 8th grade scouts were there to earn their mediation badges.

Today, August 13, marks the first docket of the circuit’s new specialized court program, RISE, which stands for Restoring Independence, Strength and Empowerment. This specialized sub-division within the juvenile dependency and delinquency divisions will address the unique and special needs of children known or suspected of being a victim of human trafficking.

Last month, a kick-off event was held in the central courthouse, to answer questions from the public and participating agencies. With the support of many organizations, and the community, RISE Court will help our most vulnerable and exploited youth.

Last week, many of the Seventeenth’s circuit judges were away, attending the annual Florida Conference of Circuit Judges. The yearly gathering offers training and educational opportunities to circuit judges across the state.

To learn more about Florida’s State Courts, watch the presentation below.

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