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Ron DeSantis makes 66 appointments to Judicial Nominating Commissions

They’re the panels that recommend lawyers for judgeships.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday announced more than five dozen appointments and reappointments to Florida’s Judicial Nominating Commissions (JNCs), the panels that recommend lawyers for judgeships.

Notable names include Dan Nordby, who was Gov. Rick Scott‘s general counsel; GOP state Rep. Alex Andrade of Pensacola; and Tallahassee attorney Dan Russell, a former general counsel of the Florida Lottery who’s now also a member of Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried‘s Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee.

When a judicial vacancy occurs that must be filled by appointment, a JNC “submit(s) three to six names of the most highly qualified applicants to the governor, who must make a final selection from the list,” according to The Florida Bar.

A judicial nominating commission itself has nine members. Five of those members “are appointed directly by the Governor, and the Bar sends nominations to the Governor to fill the remaining four spots,” the Bar’s website explains.

The governor must select from the Bar’s recommendations, but state law allows for the governor to “reject all of the nominees recommended for a position and request that (the Bar) submit a new list.”

Names announced Monday evening are:

Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission

Jeanne T. Tate, of Tampa, is the principal of Jeanne T. Tate, P.A. She received her bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Florida. Tate is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Daniel E. Nordby, of Tallahassee, is a partner with Shutts & Bowen, LLP. He is a former general counsel to Gov. Rick ScottHe received his bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Florida. Nordby previously served on the Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission. Nordby is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

First District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission

Christine D. Graves, of Tallahassee, is the managing shareholder of the Carlton Fields’ Tallahassee office. She received her bachelor’s degree and law degree from Florida State University. Graves is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Edward P. Fleming, of Pensacola, is a partner with McDonald Fleming. He received his bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University and his law degree from the University of Georgia. Fleming is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Adam B. Brandon, of Jacksonville, is an attorney at Rogers Towers. He received his bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College and his law degree from the University of Notre Dame. Brandon is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Second District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission

Paul Davis Cooper, of Naples, is the principal at Cooper Law Partners, PLLC. He received his bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Alabama. Cooper previously served on the 20th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission. Cooper is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Lara J. Tibbals, of Tampa, is of-counsel at Hill Ward Henderson. She received her bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and her law degree from the University of Florida. Tibbals is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Tyler Cathey, of Tampa, is the Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of Franklin Street Financial Partners of Tampa. He received his bachelor’s degree from Muhlenberg College and his law degree from the University of Florida. Cathey is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Eliot B. Peace, of Tampa, is an associate attorney at Bradley Arant Boult Cumming LLP. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia and his law degree from the University of South Carolina. Peace is appointed to a term ending July 1, 2023.

Third District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission

Lilly Ann Sanchez, of Miami, is the principal of LS Law Firm. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami and her law degree from Georgetown University. Sanchez is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Daniel W. Schwartz, of Miami, is a partner with Akerman LLP. He received his bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and his law degree from Emory University. Schwartz is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Fourth District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission

Paul O. Lopez, of Boca Raton, is the Director and Chief Operating Officer for Tripp Scott. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and his law degree from Stetson University. Lopez previously served on the 4th DCA Judicial Nominating Commission. Lopez is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Susan H. Aprill, of Ft. Lauderdale, is a shareholder with Fowler White Burnett, P.A. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois-Urbana and her law degree from the University of Miami. Aprill is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Robert N. Allen Jr., of Palm Beach, is the principal of Robert Allen Law. He received his bachelor’s degree from New College of the University of South Florida and his law degree from Notre Dame University. Allen is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Fifth District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission

Craig S. Dyer, of Daytona Beach, is the Chief Assistant Public Defender of the 7th Judicial Circuit. He received his law degree from Nova Southeastern University. Dyer is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Paetra T. Brownlee, of Orlando, is a partner with The Brownlee Law Firm. She received her bachelor’s degree from Emory University and her law degree from Florida State University. Brownlee is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

First Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Daniel E. Harrell, of Pensacola, is a shareholder with Clark Partington. He received his bachelor’s degree from Washington & Lee University and his law degree from Cumberland School of Law. Harrell is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Cecily M. Parker, of Pensacola, is an attorney with Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon. She received her bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Florida. She is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Robert Alexander Andrade, of Pensacola, is a GOP state representative for House District 2 and an attorney with Moore, Hill & Westmoreland, P.A. He received his bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Florida. Andrade is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Second Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Brian A. Newman, of Tallahassee, is a shareholder with Pennington Law. He received his bachelor’s degree and law degree from Florida State University. Newman is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Daniel R. Russell, of Tallahassee, is of counsel at Dean Mead & Dunbar. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and his law degree from Florida State University. Russell is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Kristina R. Osterhaus, of Tallahassee, previously clerked for a federal judge and was an associate attorney at Wiley, Rein and Fielding LLP. She received her bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University and her law degree from the University of Chicago. Osterhaus is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Third Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

John J. Kendron, of Lake City, is a shareholder with Robinson, Kennon & Kendron, P.A. He received his bachelor’s degree and law degree from Florida State University. Kendron is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Fourth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Jacob A. Brown, of Jacksonville, is a partner with Akerman LLP. He received his bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University and his law degree from Cumberland School of Law. Brown is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Helen Peacock Roberson, of Jacksonville, is a partner with Bishop & Mills. Roberson received her bachelor’s degree and her law degree from the University of Florida. Roberson is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Patrick W. Joyce, of Jacksonville, is an attorney with Milam Howard Nicandri Gillam & Renner, P.A. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida, his master’s degree from the University of Idaho and his law degree from Florida Coastal School of Law. Joyce is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Fifth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Zachary J. McCormick, of Mount Dora, is currently the principal of the Law Office of Zach McCormick in Tavares. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida and his law degree from Barry University. McCormick is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Matthew Foreman, of Spring Hill, is a partner with Carter Foreman, PLLC. He received his bachelor’s degree and law degree from Stetson University. Foreman is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Sixth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Kara E. Hardin, of Zephyrhills, is currently the principal of Kara Hardin, P.L. She received her bachelor’s degree from Spelman College and her master’s degree and law degree from Stetson University. Hardin is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Brian J. Aungst Jr., of Clearwater, is a shareholder with Macfarlane Ferguson & McMullen. He received his bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Florida. Aungst is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Gordon G. Oldham IV, of St. Petersburg, is currently the principal of Oldham Law Group. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and his law degree from Stetson University. Oldham is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Seventh Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Christopher J. Greene, of Ponte Vedra Beach, is a shareholder with Purcell Flanagan Hay & Greene. He received his bachelor’s degree from Stetson University and his law degree from the University of Miami. Greene is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Mark P. Stanton, of Palatka, is a certified public accountant and owner of Mark P. Stanton, CPA. Stanton is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Eighth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Brian S. Kramer, of Gainesville, is an Assistant State Attorney for the 8th Circuit Office of State Attorney. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and his law degree from Stetson University. Kramer is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Ronald F. Bendekovic, of Newberry, is counsel for Nationwide Insurance. He received his law degree from Nova Southeastern University. Bendekovic is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Robert Woody, of Gainesville, is a retired deputy secretary of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. He received his bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Oneonta and his master’s degree from Rollins College. Woody is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Ninth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Michael A. Sasso, of Orlando, is currently a principal of Sasso & Sasso, P.A. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and law degree from Barry University. Sasso is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Chris Posteraro, of Orlando, is currently the Assistant Chief Counsel at The Walt Disney Company. He received his bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and his law degree from Harvard Law School. Posteraro is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Tenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Frederick John Murphy Jr., of Bartow, is a partner with Boswell & Dunlap, LLP. He received his bachelor’s degree from Hillsdale College and his law degree from Wayne State University. Murphy is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Krista H. Mahalak, of Winter Haven, is an attorney at Peterson & Myers, P.A. She received her bachelor’s degree from Bethany College and her law degree from the University of Nebraska. Mahalak is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Robert S. Swaine, of Sebring, is a partner with Swaine Harris & Wohl, P.A. He received his bachelor’s degree and law degree from Florida State University. Swaine is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Twelfth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Anthony J. Rolfes, of Sarasota, is currently the managing partner of Dickinson & Gibbons, P.A. He received his bachelor’s degree from Stetson University and his law degree from Cumberland School of Law. Rolfes is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Ronald J. Filipkowski, of Sarasota, is currently the principal of Ronald Filipkowski, P.A. He received his bachelor’s degree from U.S. International University and his law degree from Florida State University. Filipkowski is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Nancy E. Cason, of Sarasota, is currently the managing partner of Syprett, Meshad, Resnick, et al. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida and her law degree from the University of Florida. Cason is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Thirteenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Andrew J. Mayts Jr., of Tampa, is an attorney at GrayRobinson, P.A. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida and his law degree from Stetson University. Mayts is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Teresa M. Gaffney, of Tampa, is General Counsel of Overstreet Wealth Management, Inc. She received her bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and her law degree and LL.M in Taxation from the University of Florida. Gaffney is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Ryan Sainz, of Tampa, is an attorney at Morgan & Morgan. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida and his law degree from Barry University. Sainz is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Fourteenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Todd C. Brister, of Panama City, is currently the principal of Todd C. Brister. He received his bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Florida. Brister is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Jeffrey S. Carter, of Panama City Beach, is currently the principal of Jeff Carter, P.A. He received his bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University and his law degree from the University of Tennessee. Carter is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Waylon Graham, of Panama City, is currently the principal of Waylon Graham Law Firm. He received his law degree from Cumberland School of Law. Graham is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Fifteenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Sarah A. Cohen, of West Palm Beach, is an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County. She received her bachelor’s degree from George Washington University and her law degree from Stetson University. Cohen is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Robert J. Harvey, of West Palm Beach, is currently a principal of Jenks & Harvey, LLP. He received his bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University and his law degree from Southern Illinois University. Harvey is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Kelly V. Hagar, of Palm Beach Gardens, is the owner of Kelly V. Hagar Insurance Agency. She received her bachelor’s degree from Florida State University. Hagar is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Sixteenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Anthony J. Barrows, of Summerland Key, is currently the principal of the Law Office of Anthony J. Barrows. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and his law degree from Nova Southeastern University. Barrows is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Seventeenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Valerie B. Barnhart, of Davie, is currently a principal of Perera Barnhart, P.A. She received her bachelor’s degree and law degree from Nova Southeastern University. Barnhart is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Levi Williams, of Parkland, is the owner of the Law Offices of Levi Williams, P.A. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and his law degree from the University of Florida. Williams is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Joseph Van de Bogart, of Fort Lauderdale, is currently the principal of Van de Bogart Law. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and his law degree from Florida International University. Van de Bogart is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Eighteenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Scott Robinson, of Viera, is an attorney with Eisenmenger, Robinson, Blaue & Peters. He received his bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Florida. Robinson is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

James J. Dowdy, of Winter Springs, is an Assistant Public Defender for the 18th Circuit Office of Public Defender. He received his bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University and his law degree from Cooley Law School. Dowdy is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Andrew S. Ballentine, of Oviedo, is an attorney with DSK Law Group. He received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from the University of Florida and his law degree from Florida A&M University. Ballentine is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Daniel J. Gerber, of Winter Park, is a partner with Rumberger Kirk & Caldwell. He received his bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Florida. Gerber is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Nineteenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Nita G. Denton, of Stuart, is an Assistant State Attorney for the 19th Circuit Office of State Attorney. She received her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Troy University and her law degree from Cumberland School of Law. Denton is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Manuel Farach, of Hobe Sound, is a member of McGlinchey Stafford. He received his bachelor’s degree from Stetson University and his law degree from Florida State University. Farach is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Jennifer L. Williamson, of Stuart, is a shareholder with Crary Buchanan. She received her bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University, her master’s degree from Georgia State University and her law degree from Boston University. Williamson is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Twentieth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Sanjay Kurian, of Fort Myers, is a shareholder with Becker & Poliakoff, P.A. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida and his law degree from Boston University. Kurian is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2023.

Aaron J. O’Brien, of Fort Myers, is currently the principal of The O’Brien Law Firm. He received his bachelor’s degree from Eastern Michigan University and his law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. O’Brien is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2023. 

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