Judge Joseph Marx is one of the most respected jurists in his circuit, according to a biennial survey of litigators in the Palm Beach County Bar Association.
Marx was among the top scorers in every category of the survey that asked attorneys to evaluate judges and magistrates as excellent, satisfactory or in need of improvement in nine categories. He cinched an “excellent” grade in each category from at least 81 percent of the 118 attorneys who evaluated his performance.
“It makes you feel good that the lawyers think you’re doing a good job,” said Marx, who then-Gov. Charlie Crist appointed to the circuit court in 2009. “To me, when you’re trying to handle a courtroom, if you treat everybody with respect and you’re polite and you’re patient, everything else falls into place.”
Marx is a former Critton Luttier Coleman litigator and former assistant state attorney. His wife, Krista, is Palm Beach County’s chief judge. “He’s an excellent judge,” Krista Marx said. “He is just really kind and patient, and gives everybody the opportunity to feel like they’ve been heard.”
Sasser has repeatedly ranked among the most highly regarded jurists in the survey that assesses impartiality, knowledge and application of the law, diligence and preparedness, case management, common sense, punctuality and timeliness in rendering rulings and decisions, control of the courtroom, and enforcement of professionalism standards.
“This just makes me want to work even harder tomorrow. It invigorates me to try to do a better job every single day in the courtroom,” Sasser said. “Serving as a judge in Palm Beach County for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit is the honor of my career. I always try to treat every single lawyer and every single litigant who comes into the courtroom as I would a client who came before me when I was a lawyer in private practice.”
Meanwhile, the scorecard showed Judge Jaimie Goodman scored the highest “needs improvement” tallies across multiple categories. Goodman is a Cornell University alum with an Ivy League pedigree. He spent more than two decades in private practice and litigated for a Fortune 500 company before being elected to the bench in 2014 after two failed bids.
Of 175 attorneys who evaluated Goodman, about 82 percent said the judge needed improvement in his judicial demeanor and courtesy to lawyers; 51 percent said he needed to improve his common sense or use of practical considerations in decision-making; 38 percent noted room for improvement in his impartiality; and 35 percent cited a need to improve his knowledge and application of the law.
The Palm Beach County Bar Association has conducted judicial assessments since 1964 to provide the public with information and assist the judiciary in court administration and improving the quality of justice.
“The judicial evaluation continues to show that Palm Beach County has a respected judiciary that serves the public extremely well,” bar president Rosalyn Sia Baker-Barnes said. “The evaluation is intended to provide an assessment of our judicial officers that is fair, balanced and informative.”