Most judges in Duval County were Jacksonville lawyers. They may have been Jacksonville criminal lawyers or civil attorneys. Some were Jacksonville attorneys in the private sector. Others worked as Duval County lawyers for the public.
A new judge has been appointed to the St. Johns County Circuit Court in St. Augustine FL. Florida’s Governor, Rick Scott, appointed Howard Maltz to replace Judge Wendy Berger. Judge Berger is was appointed last year to the Florida 5th District Court of Appeals. She replaced the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge David A. Monaco (The St. Augustine Record, “Judge Berger appointed to 5th District Court of Appeal“). He will not be taking over Berger’s criminal cases. Instead, Judge Michael Traynor will be handling Judge Berger’s felony cases.
Maltz is an attorney from Jacksonville FL. “Before gaining the appointment to the bench by Gov. Rick Scott, Maltz spent the previous 15 years as deputy general counsel at Jacksonville City Hall. Among his duties in that position was defending the city and the Sheriff’s Office in lawsuits involving police misconduct and officer-involved shootings. The 10 years before that, Maltz was an assistant state attorney in Clay and Duval counties, mostly handling homicides.” (Florida Times Union’s article “New judge Maltz set to tackle civil docket Former Jax attorney has seen share of major cases”)
He will be taking over Judge Michael Traynor’s civil calendar. “After a week of judge training in Orlando at the start of the year, Maltz was already hearing cases last week under the watch of Judge Michael Traynor, who’s leaving civil court to take over the felony bench next month.” Maltz will be handling several St. Johns County Florida foreclosure cases. St. Johns County includes Ponte Vedra, St. Augustine, Julington Creek, Nocatee, Palm Valley, and several other towns. Maltz will have a busy civil docket due to the number of Florida mortgage foreclosures in the area. “County administrative judge John Alexander said there were more than 3,000 foreclosure cases last year in St. Johns.” Maltz is keeping a positive attitude and is ready for the challenge. He realizes that the civil docket may be “intellectually challenging,” but it is also “rewarding.” The FL Times Union reported that Maltz stated, “There’s hardly a neighborhood not affected by foreclosure.”
I am sure that many St. Johns County lawyers will be looking forward to practicing in front of Maltz for foreclosure cases. The same is true for Judge Traynor, as he is highly respected among Florida criminal attorneys.