Home BrowardBeat.com Should A Courtroom Be Named For Judge Who Died Young?

Should A Courtroom Be Named For Judge Who Died Young?


By Buddy Nevins 

Charlie Kaplan could find justice on either side of a courtroom.  

He was first a tough sex crimes prosecutor.  He then became a tireless defense attorney.

People looked at Kaplan and saw a lawyer dedicated to fairness and the integrity of the judicial system. They liked what they saw.  

So Kaplan won a fierce campaign for a seat on the Broward bench in 2006. He was only 43. Two years later he was found lying dead in his Lauderdale-by-the-Sea apartment. He was only 45. 

Kaplan is still fondly remembered in Broward legal circles. 


His toughness was tempered by overwhelming compassion, according to Raag Singhal.

Singhal was Kaplan’s former law partner and is now a federal judge. He spoke to Browardbeat after Kaplan’s death. 

Kaplan was happy to be in juvenile court because “it was in juvenile court he could still make a difference in lives,” Singhal said.

Singhal’s comments were echoed by other lawyers I talked to. But especially echoed loudly one well-known lawyer: “He loved helping people. He was a caring guy. He was one of the best in the courthouse.”

(This lawyer asked not to be named. A lawyer who doesn’t like publicity! Who would have thunk?).

Later this month Broward County Commissioners will have an opportunity to honor Kaplan. His daughter Emily Rose Kaplan, who was nine when her father died, is asking that a courtroom be named after him.

Broward Judges Robert Diaz and Peter Holden are backing Emily Kaplan’s request. 

There are dozens of courtrooms, but few judges as committed as Kaplan was during his short tenure. Naming a courtroom after Kaplan would be a well-deserved honor, despite his short stay on the bench, say many.

As Emily Rose wrote commissioners, Kaplan dedicated “…his years on this Earth to justice and public service.”


And a good reason to honor him. 

This article originally appeared here and was republished with permission.


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