Governor DeSantis appoints 13 new County Court Judges

On September 16, 2021, Governor DeSantis announced County Court Judge appointments in Citrus, Hillsborough, Lee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Palm Beach, Pasco, Polk, and St. Johns Counties. Nine of the judicial appointments will fill new vacancies that were created by the Florida Legislature.

Charles Helm to serve as Judge on the Citrus County Court

Charles Helm has served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Ocala since March 2021. Previously, he served as an Assistant State Attorney for the Fifth Judicial Circuit from 2015 until 2021. Prior to going to law school, Helm was a police officer. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and his law degree from Liberty University. Helm fills the new judicial vacancy on the Citrus County Court created by the Florida Legislature.

Leslie Schultz-Kin to serve as Judge on the Hillsborough County Court

Leslie Schultz-Kin has served as Chief Assistant Attorney General and Bureau Chief in the Tampa Civil Litigation Bureau of the Florida Office of the Attorney General since 2020. Previously, she served as Of Counsel to Akerman, LLP for seven years and as an Associate and Shareholder at Carlton Fields, P.A. for seven years. She is also a Guardian ad Litem. She received her bachelor’s degree from Ohio University, her master’s degree from the University of South Florida, and her law degree from Stetson University. Schultz-Kin fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Joelle Ann Ober.

Jeffrey Rich to serve as Judge on the Hillsborough County Court

Jeffrey Rich has served as a Sole Practitioner since 2008. Previously, he served as an Assistant Public Defender in the Twelfth Judicial Circuit. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and his law degree from Florida Coastal. Rich fills one of the new vacancies on the Hillsborough County Court created by the Florida Legislature.

Joseph Tompkins to serve as Judge on the Hillsborough County Court

Joseph Tompkins has served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida since 2018. Previously, he served as a Senior Law Clerk on the Second District Court of Appeal for the State of Florida. He received his bachelor’s and law degrees from Ave Maria University. Tompkins fills one of the new vacancies on the Hillsborough County Court created by the Florida Legislature.

Michael Hooi to serve as Judge on the Hillsborough County Court

Michael Hooi has served as an Associate Attorney at Stichter, Riedel, Blain, & Postler, P.A. since 2009. Previously, he served as a Law Clerk and Staff Attorney to Judge Charles R. Wilson from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. He received his bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and his law degree from the University of Florida. Hooi fills one of the new vacancies on the Hillsborough County Court created by the Florida Legislature.

Erik Leontiev to serve as Judge on the Lee County Court

Erik Leontiev has served as an Assistant State Attorney in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit since 2007. He received his bachelor’s degree from Florida International University and his law degree from the University of Miami. Leontiev fills the new vacancy on the Lee County Court created by the Florida Legislature.

Laura Gonzalez to serve as Judge on the Miami-Dade County Court

Laura Gonzalez has served as Of Counsel to Kobre & Kim, LLP since 2020. Previously, she served as an Associate at Kobre & Kim, LLP from 2016 until 2020 and an Associate at Holland & Knight, LLP from 2011 until 2016. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and her law degree from Columbia University. Gonzalez fills the vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Miguel Mirabal.

James “Jimmy” Morgan to serve as Judge on the Monroe County Court

James Morgan has served as the Chief of Staff for Spottswood Hotels in Key West since 2020. He was also an Assistant Public Defender in the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit since 2018. Previously, he served on active duty as a prosecutor in the United States Marine Corps from 2010 until 2018 and is presently in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and his law degree from the University of Miami. Morgan fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Ruth Becker.

Brian Sandor to serve as Judge on the Orange County Court

Brian Sandor has served as a Trial Attorney for The Morgan Firm, P.A. since 2020. Previously, he served as an Assistant State Attorney in the Fifth Judicial Circuit from 2011 until 2015. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida and his law degree from Michigan State University. Sandor fills the new vacancy on the Orange County Court created by the Florida Legislature.

April Bristow to serve as Judge on the Palm Beach County Court

April Bristow has served as General Counsel to the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit since 2019. Previously, she served as a Career Attorney for Judge Dorian Damoorgian in the Fourth District Court of Appeal for the State of Florida. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and her law degree from Stetson University. Bristow fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Sandra Bosso-Pardo.

Dustin Anderson to serve as Judge on the Pasco County Court

Dustin Anderson has served as an Assistant State Attorney for the Sixth Judicial Circuit since 2018. Previously, he served as the Supervising Attorney for the Pasco County Offices of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel from 2007 until 2018. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky and his law degree from the University of Florida. Anderson fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge William G. Sestak.

Brandon Rafool to serve as Judge on the Polk County Court

Brandon Rafool has served as the Managing Partner of The Rafool Firm since 2002. He has been a litigator since 1992. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and his law degree from Stetson University. Rafool fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Judge Lori Winstead.

Lauren Blocker to serve as Judge on the St. Johns County Court

Lauren Blocker has served as Corporate Counsel to Fidelity Information Services since 2018. Previously, she served as a Judicial Law Clerk to U.S. Magistrate Judge Carol Mirando, U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia D. Barksdale, and U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and her law degree from Florida Coastal. Blocker fills the new judicial vacancy on St. Johns County Court created by the Florida Legislature.

Source: Governor’s Press Office