Jamaican woman, raised in Portmore, appointed to highest court in Florida

Jamaican woman, raised in Portmore, appointed to highest court in Florida

May 27, 2020 0 By Horace Mills

Judge, who was born and raised in Jamaica, gets historic appointment in Florida
Renatha Francis, who was born and raised in Jamaica, has been appointed to the Florida Supreme Court – the highest court in the state.

She is a past student of Bridgeport Primary School, St. Hugh’s High School for Girls, and the University of the West Indies.

When she takes up her appointment on September 24, Judge Francis, who was raised by a single mother, will become the first Jamaican American to serve Florida in that position.

Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis, in announcing the appointment, said: “Judge Francis’ story demonstrates that anyone who comes to United States has an opportunity to make the most of their God-given talents.”

He continued: “Before immigrating to Florida, she (Judge Francis) ran two businesses and served as the primary caregiver for a younger sibling in Jamaica. After completing her law degree, she advanced to serve on the Miami-Dade County and then the 15th circuit court. Starting in September, she will serve as the first Jamaican-American to sit on the Florida Supreme Court and I know she will serve our state well.”

Judge Francis, in response, said she is humbled by the appointment.

“I’m incredibly honoured and humbled by this appointment, and in the confidence that Governor DeSantis has shown by giving me this tremendous opportunity to serve the people of the great state of Florida,” she added.

“As a student of History growing up, I was and remain in awe of the United States Constitution, its freedoms and its respect for the rule of law. I look forward to applying the law as written by the people’s duly-elected representatives as I serve at the highest level of our state judiciary.”

Francis served as Judge for the 15th Circuit Court in 2019, and previously served as Judge for the Miami-Dade County Court in 2017.

She also served as an attorney for the 1st DCA in Tallahassee from 2011-2017.

Before attending law school, Francis owned and successfully operated two businesses for five years. She operated a bar and a trucking company in Jamaica.

She received her bachelor’s from the University of The West Indies and her Juris Doctorate from Florida Coastal Law School.

She and her husband Phillip are the parents of two sons, one of whom was born recently.

Francis’ appointment fills the vacancy of former Florida Supreme Court Justice Robert Luck, who now serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit after being appointed by President Donald Trump.

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