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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, May 27, 202010:50 AM EST

Florida Coastal grad appointed to state Supreme Court

15th Circuit Judge Renatha Francis will be installed in September.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Florida and Jacksonville judicial history was made May 26 when Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Circuit Judge Renatha Francis to the state Supreme Court.

Francis, 42, is the first Caribbean American who will sit on the state’s highest court. She’s also the first Florida Coastal School of Law graduate appointed to a seat on the court.

“She’s a great success story. We are pleased and proud,” said Peter Goplerud, president and dean of the law school.

Francis graduated from Florida Coastal in 2010. She was admitted to The Florida Bar in September that year, which adds another aspect to her appointment.

Under Florida law, appellate court judges must have been licensed to practice law for at least 10 years, so Francis can’t be immediately sworn in to her new post.

Born in Jamaica and also a graduate of the University of West Indies, Francis began her career as a staff attorney and law clerk in the state 1st District Court of Appeals.

She was in private practice with Shutts & Bowen in Miami when she was appointed in 2017 to the Miami-Dade County Court by former Gov. Rick Scott. A year later, DeSantis elevated Francis to the 15th Circuit Court in Palm Beach County.

Miami attorney John Couriel also was appointed May 26 to the state Supreme Court. He and Francis will succeed former Justices Barbara Lagoa and Robert Luck, who were appointed in December to the federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeal by President Donald Trump.

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