visionary award pix

Barbara Beilly, General Magistrate in the 17th Circuit, was honored with the Visionary of the Year Award by the Florida Bar family law section, on January 27, 2012. She was recognized for her “tireless efforts and contributions to the enhancement of family law practice and procedure throughout the state of Florida.” On behalf of the 17th Circuit family, congratulations General Magistrate Beilly!


The 17th  Judicial Circuit welcomes its newest General Magistrate, Lucy Ramos Miller, who will begin in the Family division on February 3, 2012. Ms. Miller began her career with the 17th  Circuit in November 2009 as a staff attorney, working on civil, family, and civil appeals cases. Prior to her work in Florida, Mrs. Miller practiced law in Ohio for five years, both as an assistant prosecutor handling dependency and delinquency cases and also in private practice handling family, dependency, delinquency, and criminal defense cases. Congratulations Ms. Miller!

When loss of funding and workforce reduction hit the foreclosure division in the 17 th Circuit in July of this year, Judge Garcia-Wood had to get creative with ways to manage the heavy docket of the Residential Foreclosure Division. Judge Garcia-Wood reached out to the Nova Law School where Ms. Denise Corin, Associate Director of Career and Professional Development at Nova, immediately responded, sending two students per day, Monday through Thursday, for the morning and afternoon dockets. The foreclosure division was delighted to have the assistance of the law students and the students, in turn, had the opportunity to observe and participate in the residential foreclosure proceedings. Judge Garcia-Wood would like to thank Ms. Denise Corin for coordinating the interns and the following law students who volunteered countless hours in the Residential Foreclosure Division:

Caroline Lewis

Vanessa Romero

Harry Dominguez

Robert Jackson

Jaclyn Kennard

Julie Liva

Jenna Kulbersh

Katherine Hustis

Nicole Sanchez

Lisa Bloch


Fort Lauderdale, FL – Chief Judge Peter Weinstein and Administrative Family Judge Susan Greenhawt announce the launch of electronic filing in the 17th Judicial Circuit’s Family Division. This is the second division within the circuit to transition to the e-filing service; the Probate Division piloted the program in April 2008. Utilizing the Clerk of Courts’ statewide portal, the e-filing system is voluntary and available only for existing cases.

“When I became Chief Judge, I formed a technology committee with the purpose of utilizing electronic communications to make the practice of law easier and more affordable for attorneys, litigants, and the court system,” says Chief Judge Peter Weinstein. “I extend my sincere thanks to Judge Mel Grossman, head of the committee, and his staff, for their continued efforts in this process. This gets us one step closer to accomplishing the goal of mandatory electronic filings in all cases in all divisions by the end of 2013, as recommended by the Florida Court Technology Commission.”

Attorneys wishing to utilize this service may go to to register an account and begin filing directly to the Clerk of Courts’ office. The Administrative Order may be viewed at 2011-53-UFC.


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.



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!


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.


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!


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.

Unified Family Court Chairperson, Judge Renee Goldenberg, was appointed to a new one-year term as Chair of the Family Law Committee and a member of the Executive Committee of the Conference of Circuit Judges.