Gov. Ron DeSantis is appointing three new judges to benches in the Panhandle, Central Florida and Northeast Florida this week.
All have made political donations to Republican politicians in the state.
All also boast strong prosecutorial backgrounds.
Atop the list is Lance Neff of Tallahassee, who is heading to the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court.
Neff has worked as general counsel for the Florida Department of Corrections since 2020. He’s also the Chief of Military Justice for the Florida Army National Guard, according to a Thursday evening press note from DeSantis’ office.
Prior to those roles, Neff worked as a Senior Assistant Attorney General under Ashley Moody and her predecessor, Pam Bondi.
Neff, who holds a juris doctor from Florida Coastal School of Law, fills a vacancy created by the unexpected death in March of Judge Kevin Carroll.
He was nominated for the post Aug. 1.
Florida Division of Election records show Neff gave $250 in August 2018 to DeSantis’ inaugural campaign for Governor.
Last month, he quintupled his giving with a $1,000 check written out to DeSantis’ presidential campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission.
DeSantis also named Jacksonville’s James Nealis to the Duval County Court.
Nealis has worked as an Assistant State Attorney of the 7th Judicial Circuit since 2015. Before that, he worked as an associate at the law office of Harris Brown.
He holds a juris doctor from Regent Law School.
Nealis will replace Judge Jonathan Sacks, whom DeSantis tapped in April to succeed retired Judge Adrian Soud on the 4th Judicial Circuit Court.
Nealis was nominated for the post in August.
Though he has not donated to DeSantis, Nealis has given small sums to several other members of the Florida GOP over the years, including $50 to Sen. Clay Yarborough and $25 to U.S. Rep. Aaron Bean.
Anne Gibson of Winter Haven is headed to the Polk County Court bench after a DeSantis nomination Thursday. She has led legal affairs at the Polk Sheriff’s Office.
Before that, she was a Senior Assistant County Attorney for the Polk County Commission.
Gibson, who has a juris doctor from Stetson University, is filling a vacancy created by the elevation of Judge Brandon Rafool, whom DeSantis promoted in June to the 10th Judicial Circuit Court.
She applied and received a nomination for Rafool’s post in April.
Gibson has made one political donation at the state level in Florida, a $250 contribution in 2020 to the campaign of Republican 10th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Brian Haas.