Ron DeSantis names seven judicial appointments during Miami-Dade stop

DeSantis announced the appointments during a Monday appearance at the University of Miami School of Law.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is announcing seven new judicial appointments after a Monday appearance at the University of Miami (UM) School of Law.

DeSantis is naming three new judges to the 11th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, which is located in Miami-Dade County. The Governor selected another four individuals to serve as Miami-Dade County Court judges.

“It is imperative that judges understand the importance of their work on the bench, which does not include legislating from the bench,” DeSantis said in a Monday statement announcing the moves.

“I’m confident that each of these appointees understand the proper role of the courts and will faithfully uphold the rule of law.”

The three judges selected for the 11th Judicial Circuit Court all previously served as Miami-Dade County Court judges. Judges Ramiro Areces, Christina DiRaimondo and Robert Watson were chosen by the Governor Monday.

Areces received his bachelor’s degree from Florida International University and his law degree from the UM College of Law. He’ll replace Judge Renatha Francis, who now sits on the 15th Circuit Court.

DiRaimondo graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Iona College before earning her J.D. from the Shepard Broad College of Law at Nova Southeastern University. She is replacing now-retired Judge Diane Ward.

DiRaimondo has experience in the 11th Judicial Circuit. She served there as an Assistant State Attorney before working as a Miami-Dade County Court judge.

Watson is a former lawyer at Kobre and Kim LLP and was an Assistant U.S. Attorney before earning his judgeship. He got his bachelor’s degree at Georgetown University before graduating from Stanford Law School.

Watson replaces Judge John Thornton, who recently retired.

Stepping up to the Miami-Dade County Court is a quartet of lawyers from the area.

Elisabeth Espinosa works at Cole, Scott and Kissane and has prior experience as an Assistant State Attorney for the 13th Circuit State Attorney’s Office.

Espinosa attended undergrad at the University of Florida before earning her J.D. at Stetson University College of Law. Espinosa is stepping in for Judge William Altfield, who has moved to the 11th Circuit Court.

Julie Harris Nelson is a partner at ROIG Lawyers. She also worked an Assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade. Nelson graduated from the University of Michigan and earned her law degree at St. Thomas University College of Law.

She fills the spot previously held by Gina Beovides, who also moved to the 11th Circuit Court.

Miesha Darrough is a Special Counsel to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Prior to that, she worked as the Assistant U.S. Attorney and as an Assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade.

Darrough earned her bachelor’s degree and law degree from Howard University. She replaces Judge Laura Sharon Cruz, who also moved to the 11th Circuit Court.

Finally, Ayana Harris will join the court after the resignation of Judge Samuel Slom. Harris works as an Assistant Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of Florida and previously served as the Assistant Public Defender in the 11th Circuit.

Harris is a University of Miami grad. Like Darrough, she earned her law degree at the Howard University School of Law.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


  • No More Republicans !

    December 16, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    So, DeSantis just picks whomever he wants … or whomever his Republican backers instruct him to pick??? Bogus! B-O-G-U-S! The judge selection process should be totally transparent from start to finish – and the selections should be made by a totally statutorily-required, bi-partisan committee or commission selected from the Florida House and Senate – with EQUAL REPRESENTATION of Democrats and Republicans!

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    December 17, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Love it when the far left doesn’t get to pick faves and then goes on a rant.

Comments are closed.


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