Ron DeSantis names two as judges to Tampa Bay area courts
Jessica Costello, center, accepts appointment to Hillsborough County Court Judge.

Jessica Costello
One will replace Judge Laurel Lee, appointed Secretary of State.

Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed two new judges to local benches.

That includes Tampa native Thomas Palermo, an assistant U.S. attorney. DeSantis appointed him to the 13th Judicial Circuit.

“Mr. Palermo has led an impressive legal career and I am certain he is ready to take this next step as a judge on the 13th Judicial Circuit,” DeSantis said. “The people of Hillsborough County can rest assured that he will serve with honor and distinction.”

Palermo will replace former Circuit Judge Laurel Lee, wife of state Sen. Tom Lee. DeSantis named her Secretary of State.

The court handles county court appeals, felony cases and civil disputes over $15,000.

DeSantis also appointed Jessica Costello as a Hillsborough County Judge. Costello is an assistant statewide prosecutor for the Attorney General’s Office. She’s from South Carolina.

“Ms. Costello’s work as a prosecutor in the Attorney General’s Office leaves no doubt that she is ready and qualified for this judgeship,” DeSantis said. “She knows the issues of Hillsborough County well and that will be reflected with her new position on the bench.”

Costello will replace Judge Lawrence Lefler who was elevated to the 13th Circuit Court, located in Tampa.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected]

One comment

  • Claudia

    April 2, 2019 at 12:05 am

    Any news on Former SFSC JUDGE Mary Morgen?

Comments are closed.


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