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Jax Daily Record Monday, Dec. 27, 201012:00 PM EST

Judicial Snapshot: Jefferson Morrow

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Name: Jefferson Wood Morrow

Education: B.A., Davidson College, J.D. University Of Florida College of Law, Cumberland Law School, Oxford University, Oxford, England, Post Graduate English Literature.

Admitted to the Bar: 1983.

Date sworn in to the bench: January 2009.  

Court: Circuit Court, Fourth Judicial Circuit, State of Florida.

Division: Felony Criminal Court

Why did you become a judge?
As a lawyer, a judgeship was thought of as a higher calling despite the lower salary. After handling more than 7,000 cases, trying more than 200 jury trials in both civil and criminal court, arguing many appeals before the Florida Supreme Court and the various District Courts of Appeals, and handling many wrongful death cases on behalf of victims, it suddenly struck me like a lightning bolt that it was time to move on and do something different.    

What should every lawyer know about appearing in your court?
The attorneys should know that the three most important things in my court are preparation, preparation and preparation. Many cases bristle with simplicity, yet the attorneys make it convoluted by lack of preparation. Most issues you can argue in 20 minutes. If you can’t, maybe you should leave the courtroom and write a book about it. Lawyers should immediately zero in on their issue to capture the judge’s attention, so, within an instant, the judge will recognize the legal position.

What do you know now that you didn’t when you were practicing before the bench?  
How much time is wasted on small cases when the focus and time should be spent on the larger cases.    

Community involvement?
I’m a coach for the youth basketball league at the YMCA, a cook for Riverside Presbyterian Church and volunteer for Bishop Snyder High School.

Interests outside the courtroom?
Shark diving, marlin fly-fishing, snorkeling for lobsters, surfing and filmmaking.      

What was last book you read or are reading?
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” by Stieg Larsson.

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