L-R Judges Richard Suarez and Leslie Rothenberg. Photos: J. Albert Diaz/ALM.

The Judicial Nominating Commission has ruled out seven candidates and settled on 10 potential Third District Court of Appeal judges to replace outgoing Chief Judge Leslie B. Rothenberg and Judge Richard J. Suarez, retiring Jan. 7, 2019.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has 60 days to choose two from the list comprising four lawyers and six Miami-Dade Circuit judges.


Related story: Is Gov. Scott Trying to Quickly Appoint Conservative South Florida Judges Before Leaving Office?


Here’s a look at the candidates:

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Monica Gordo handles appeals in the family division. Gordo began her career in 1999, when she joined the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. By 2010, she was special prosecutor for the gang strike force team before being elected to the circuit bench. Gordo has also served on the Cuban American Bar Association’s board of directors and received both her bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Miami.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Eric Hendon. Photo: Jill Kahn/ALM.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Eric W. Hendon serves in the criminal division, and has spent 16 years on the bench. Hendon has also served as a Miami-Dade prosecutor, public defender and assistant attorney general under former Gov. Charlie Crist. He also worked as a legal services agency director for the James E. Scott Community Association and obtained his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Florida.

Monroe Circuit Judge Timothy J. Koenig presides over a range of civil cases and also serves as an appellate judge. Koenig spent 20 years with Key West firm Feldman Koenig Highsmith and Van Loon, and was a magistrate for the Monroe Circuit before Gov. Rick Scott appointed him to the bench in 2014. Koenig has a bachelor’s in finance and a law degree from Florida State University.

Prosecutor Fleur J. Lobree is a former Miami-Dade Circuit judge, appointed by Gov. Rick Scott in 2012, but defeated when she ran for re-election in 2014. Lobree has also served on the county court bench, as well as assistant state attorney and assistant attorney general under Robert A. Butterworth. She has a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and a law degree from the University of Miami.


Related story: Judicial Profile: Hendon’s Courtroom Obsession Paved Way To Bench


Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Bronwyn C. Miller. Photo: J. Albert Diaz/ALM.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Bronwyn C. Miller presides over civil cases. Crist appointed Bronwyn to the circuit bench in 2010, and Gov. Jeb Bush appointed her to the county court bench in 2005. Miller has also taught at Florida International University and was admitted to the bar in 1997, after obtaining her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and her law degree from the University of Miami.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Thomas J. Rebull was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott in 2011 after spending 10 years with statewide law firm Broad and Cassel. Rebull also lectures at the University of Miami and has chaired the City of Miami Civilian Investigative Panel. Rebull began his career as a clerk for Third DCA Judge Joseph Nesbitt, and holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston University and a law degree from Washington College of Law.

Assistant Miami-Dade County Attorney Oren Rosenthal heads the elections and information technology departments. Rosenthal joined the office in 2004 as a litigator and transactional lawyer. He’s handled various federal and state civil rights cases, as well as multimillion-dollar contracts. Rosenthal obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern University, and a law degree from the University of Michigan.


Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Thomas Rebull. Photo: J. Albert Diaz/ALM.

Judicial Profile: Judge Rebull Missed Andrew While Attending Law School


Commercial litigator Ann M. St. Peter-Griffith is a partner at Kasowitz Benson Torres in Miami and has practiced law for 24 years. Peter-Griffith has brought cases in federal and state court, and specializes in a range of areas, including health care, product liability and employment law. She has also served as assistant U.S. attorney.

Trial and appellate lawyer Melissa Damian Visconti has practiced for 23 years and is counsel to Damian & Valori in Miami, where she focuses on federal appeals, complex litigation and receiverships. Visconti holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a law degree from the University of Miami, and has clerked for federal Judge Ursula Ungaro in the Southern District of Florida. Visconti has also served as a federal prosecutor.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Lisa S. Walsh began her career as a public defender in 1992, then entered private practice in 2004. Walsh served on the Miami-Dade County Court bench between 2008 and 2011, before Gov. Rick Scott appointed her to circuit court in 2011. Walsh obtained a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and a law degree from the University of Miami.

Third DCA Chief Judge Rothenberg was appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2005. Suarez, also appointed by Bush, rose to the bench in 2004 and served as chief judge between 2015 and 2017. Both are set to retire in January.