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Fla. Supremes, Legislature Choose Pork Over Facts To Add Unwanted, Costly Sixth Appeals Court

The current configuration of Florida’s five District Courts of Appeal is on the left. The proposed addition of a Sixth District, and the changes it would bring, is on the right.

By Noreen Marcus, FloridaBulldog.org

Florida is getting another expensive brick-and-mortar state appeals court, even though the judges who can best determine the need said “No thanks.”

A proposal to add a sixth district court of appeal to the central Gulf Coast is sailing through the Legislature this session. Last Tuesday the House and Senate budget conference agreed to spend $50 million on the new courthouse, according to Florida Politics.

When he approves the deal, Gov. Ron DeSantis will have the opportunity to name six more reliable conservatives to appellate judgeships. Judges on those district courts handle appeals from circuit trial courts and have the final say about most areas of law.

The courthouse plan seems so much like political pork, it practically oinks. The location is a foregone conclusion.

“All signs are pointing to Lakeland,” said Blaise Trettis, public defender for the 18th Judicial Circuit in Brevard County. He was a dissenting member of a Florida Supreme Court-appointed committee that endorsed “at least one more” appeals court.

By Noreen Marcus, FloridaBulldog.org, Special to SouthFloridaReporter.com, Mar. 6, 2022