Gov. DeSantis appoints 2 new Judges; one gave to his presidential campaign

It was a $150 check.

Gov. Ron DeSantis just named two new Judges. Both are University of Florida law school alums. One made a small donation to the Governor’s presidential campaign.

DeSantis appointed L.E. Hutton of Neptune Beach to serve as a Judge on the 4th Judicial Circuit Court spanning Clay, Duval and Nassau counties. Hutton will replace Don Lester, who resigned Aug. 31 after more than a decade on the bench.

Hutton comes to the role after serving since 2017 as Chief Assistant State Attorney under State Attorney Melissa Nelson. His responsibilities included supervising office operations, working on the homicide unit and officer-involved critical incident reviews and managing the district’s Grand Jury Indictment Review Panel.

Following the Governor’s appointment early Wednesday evening, Nelson released a statement describing Hutton as “a talented prosecutor with exceptional intellect and work ethic.”

“He will be a valuable asset to our judiciary, and I commend Gov. Ron DeSantis on this outstanding judicial appointment.”

Prior to his role with the State Attorney’s Office, Hutton was a partner at the law firm of Willis Ferebee & Hutton. He also served as Chair of the Jacksonville Ethics Commission and member of the Community Development Board for Neptune Beach and Grievance Committee for the U.S. District Court.

Federal Election Commission records show Hutton gave $150 to DeSantis’ presidential campaign in September.

He also made just over $2,500 in donations to state and local candidates in Florida, according to the Division of Elections. Nearly all the recipients listed no party affiliation.

His two largest contributions were for $500. One was in 2003 to former Democratic 4th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Harry Shorstein. The other, in 2016, went to former Jacksonville Judge Mark Hulsey, who resigned in 2017 following a Judicial Qualifications Commission investigation over his alleged history of racist and sexist remarks.

DeSantis Wednesday also appointed Timothy McCourt of Ocala to serve as a Judge on the 5th Judicial Circuit Court, whose jurisdiction includes Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter counties.

McCourt will succeed Larry Metz, who left the bench July 15 after nearly two decades of public service, including six years on the Lake County School Board, eight years as a state Representative and five as a Judge.

McCourt has served as General Counsel and Deputy Sheriff for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office since 2019.

Previously, he served as an Assistant State Attorney for the 5th Judicial Circuit, during which he received an award from the Anti-Defamation League for his pivotal role in bringing a man plotting an Islamic State-inspired terror attack and his two accomplices to justice.

He told the Ocala StarBanner at the time, “When I work on cases, you don’t think you’re going to be nominated for something. You do it because it’s the right thing to do.”

McCourt serves as President of the Marion County Bar Association and as a member of the 5th Judicial Circuit’s Professionalism Panel, Florida Association of Police Attorneys and Board of Directors of the Heart of Florida Health Center.

He is also a volunteer for Marion’s Teen Court, a past Chair of the Florida Bar’s Grievance Committee for the 5th Judicial Circuit and was a volunteer Judge for the county’s Juvenile Drug Court Program from 2015 to 2021.

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.


  • Ron DiSaster

    December 21, 2023 at 12:19 pm

    Corruption in the wide open.

    • Impeach Biden

      December 22, 2023 at 7:03 am

      Of course that never happens in the Democratic Party with regards to political appointees.

      • You are a Liar

        December 22, 2023 at 8:04 am

        Data is out there numbnutts. More Republican appointees have been found corrupt or in violation of the law by NOT bringing cases to court because their donor is in the loop.

  • Pastor Pasta

    December 22, 2023 at 2:25 pm

    Add this to the looooonng list of blatant pay-to-play quid-pro-quo corruption by Tiny D. What a horrible governor and a horrible person.

  • Sonja Fitch

    December 26, 2023 at 5:53 am

    Desantis has no filters on violations of any and all rules or laws for the common good! Desantis is just another corrupt trump cult leader! Desantis and Gaetz have got to go!

Comments are closed.


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