In his first naming of a state trial-court judge, Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Leon County Judge Stephen Everett to replace retiring Circuit Judge Karen Gievers in Tallahassee.
Everett, appointed county judge by Gov. Rick Scott in 2016, appeared with DeSantis at a Tuesday press conference in the Capitol.
“I’m impressed with Judge Everett’s temperament, his knowledge of the law and understanding of the proper role of a judge,” DeSantis told reporters. “He will bring a real strong work ethic, great intellect and humility to his new role as a circuit judge.”
Everett added: “This is something that I do not take lightly and I’m going to work hard … and basically perform the tasks that I have been chosen to do.”
The 38-year-old University of Florida undergraduate and Louisiana State University law school graduate previously was assistant general counsel for the Department of Economic Opportunity from 2012-16.
He’s an NAACP Lifetime Member and belongs to the Gulf Winds Track Club, according to his judicial bio.
Everett was one of six finalists to replace Gievers on the 2nd Judicial Circuit bench. She faces mandatory age-related retirement this April. Gievers won’t be missed by the state’s Republicans: Her rulings often thwarted then-Gov. Scott and the GOP-controlled Legislature.
The 2nd Judicial Circuit, headquartered in Tallahassee, covers Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla counties in north Florida. Circuit judges hear felonies, juvenile matters and civil claims over $15,000, among other things.
The open judgeship has added significance in the capital, home of state government and the Legislature: Circuit judges can grant special court orders, called writs, that force state officials to perform an action or prevent them from doing so.
Judges who are appointed to fill a vacancy must stand for election at the next regularly set election as nonpartisans. They serve six-year terms.
Tallahassee correspondent Danny McAuliffe contributed to this post.