“Yesterday was a big day,” said Circuit Judge Russell Healey on Friday morning.
Healey on Thursday was ceremonially invested to the 4th Judicial Circuit, four months after he was appointed to the circuit bench by Gov. Rick Scott.
Healey said his investiture was the latest step in the “different path” for his career in the law
After graduating from law school at the University of Florida, Healey was an assistant state attorney in the 4th Judicial Circuit from 1981-84.
He then entered private practice and specialized in criminal defense and family law until 2002, when he was appointed by former Gov. Jeb Bush to the Duval County Court.
“It was an honor to serve as a county court judge,” Healey said.
While a county court judge, Healey heard circuit court cases and was then assigned the Michael Dunn murder trial when two circuit judges recused themselves from the case.
Healey said when he was specially designated a circuit judge for the trial by Chief Judge Donald Moran, he felt he was ready for a new challenge.
The assignment also gave Healey a chance to learn if his future might be on the circuit bench.
“I had tried some felony cases. I like to be challenged. It was almost like test driving a car,” he said. “Do I want to do this? Can I do this?”
The experience solidified his desire to serve as a circuit judge.
“It is a different ball game. I’m looking forward to the additional responsibility,” said Healey.
A few hours before his investiture, Healey learned that Mark Mahon, his former law partner and fellow judge, was elected chief judge of the circuit.
Healey is looking forward to continuing the relationship forged as law partners for 15 years and now, serving on the bench.
Collegial advice always will be available.
“If he (Mahon) needs to get a reality check, I’ll give it to him. He’s done the same for me,” said Healey.