Gov. DeSantis appoints three new judges from Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Winter Haven

All boast strong prosecutorial backgrounds.

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.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Earl Pitts "The Earl Of Politics" American

    October 20, 2023 at 9:06 am

    Good mornting America,
    I call on all my Patriots and Besty Lefty’s to join me in prayer thanking the Allmighty Lord God in Heaven above that none of the past Dook 4 Brains Leftist candadites which ran against Ron Desantis for Florida’s position of Govornor prevailed in their evil and twisted plans to ruin The Great State of Florida by getting elected and being able to make such all critical appointments to appropriate individuals to serve the citizens of The Great State of Florida. Amen
    Earl Pitts, ” The Earl of Politics”, American
    *queue extreamly loud USA USA USA Patriotic music to futher annoy all Dook 4 Brains Lefty’s which fully read my, “The Wise Earl of Politics”, post of extream common sense, wisdom, Truth, Justice, and the American Way.*
    *and further more Relax Your Sphincter’s America.*
    *keep up with The Earl’s future knowledge drops for Free Bumper Stickers to proudly display on your vehicals to show that You Stand With Earl (hint they make great holiday gifts)*

    • rick whitaker

      October 20, 2023 at 10:44 am

      warning ⚠ troll comment from earl shits

  • rick whitaker

    October 20, 2023 at 11:05 am

    i checked the school credentials of the 3 judges mentioned in the article . one was private and lost it’s accreditation, one was evangelical, and one was baptist or formally baptist. all three judges got their law degree from private sub standard or religious schools. desantis’ picks were indicative of his efforts to dumb down the legal system of florida. the two religious schools were worse than liberty in their right wing christian fanaticism. as a non christian i would not do well in the courts of any of these judges. shame on desantis. the article made no mention of the poor quality of the judges law schools they attended. i had to research it on my own. i do appreciate the info that the author did include. florida voters need the info on who desantis is infecting the state with.

Comments are closed.


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