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Jax Daily Record Friday, Aug. 27, 202105:00 AM EST

The Marbut Report: Mahon appointed to state commission; Bracken, Morris join law firms

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Annual High School Essay Contest to award $6,350 in prizes.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

 Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed 4th Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Mark Mahon to the state Commission on Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

The commission reviews and evaluates the management and functioning of publicly supported mental health and substance abuse systems and services in the Department of Children and Families, the Agency for Health Care Administration and other departments that administer mental health and substance abuse services.

Mahon oversees the court’s Mental Health Offender Program. Before he was appointed to the bench in 2007, he was a member of the state House of Representatives. 

Mahon is a past chair of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority board of directors and also served on the Jacksonville Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Bracken, Morris join law firms

Chris Bracken

Chris Bracken joined the Bachara Construction Law Group. 

A former assistant state attorney in the 4th Judicial Circuit and a licensed Realtor, he is a litigator with experience in real estate and development. 

Bracken received an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Florida and his J.D. from Florida Coastal School of Law, where he obtained a Certificate in Legal Writing. He also completed prosecutor training on Computer Forensics in Court from the National Computer Forensics Institute.

Bracken is a member of The Florida Bar Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section as well as the Jacksonville Bar Association and the Robert M. Foster American Inn of Court.

Ryan Morris

R. Ryan Morris joined the corporate, health care and government affairs practices in Gunster’s Jacksonville office.

He practices in transactions including strategic partnerships, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations and business disputes. He also focuses on provider/payer disputes with commercial and governmental entities.

Morris received his degree from Emory University School of Law.

Annual High School Essay Contest: $6,350 in prizes

The 2021 High School Essay Contest is commemorating the 230th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights

The competition is sponsored by the lawyers and judges of the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida and the Jacksonville Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

The Middle District Bench Bar Fund underwrites the cash prizes. They are:

First place: $2,000; second place: $1,000; third place: $500; fourth-10th place: $50 each.

In addition, $500 classroom grants will be presented to the teachers of the top three winners. The school with the most qualifying entries will receive a $1,000 grant.

The personal freedoms guaranteed for U.S. citizens are set forth in, and protected by, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Known as the Bill of Rights, those amendments have shaped American democracy for 230 years.

The essay prompt asks students to select the amendment most important to students attending public schools and explain how the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court have shaped that amendment’s meaning. 

The contest is open to students in grades 10 through 12 in counties in the Jacksonville Division of the Middle District of Florida: Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Flagler, Hamilton, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Suwannee and Union.

Winners will be selected by a panel of attorneys and judges from the Jacksonville Division.

The deadline for submissions is noon Sept. 24.

The top 10 winners will be recognized in November at a ceremony at the Bryan Simpson U.S. Courthouse in Jacksonville. In addition, the first-place winner can shadow a federal judge for a day. 

For rules and additional information about the essay contest and how to enter, visit www.flmd.uscourts.gov under the “Court in the Community” section.

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