Election night gave Broward Count Florida its first judge of Haitian descent, Florence Taylor Barner, who handily defeated Fort Lauderdale attorney Rhoda Sokoloff in the race to replace retiring County Judge Peter Skolnik.
Barner, 35, is an attorney in private practice who picked up the endorsements of the Broward PBA and former Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth. She earned nearly 60 percent of the vote Tuesday night.
Here are some key information about the new Haitian-american Judge.
Florence Taylor Barner, a 35-year-old attorney who works for Weitz & Schwartz, where she handles civil cases, primarily foreclosures.
Florence Taylor Barner has worked as an attorney in Broward County for over ten years.
The daughter of Haitian immigrants, she worked in the Broward State Attorney’s Office for three years after earning her law degree. She “prosecuted both adults and juveniles and handled both misdemeanors and felonies,” according to her Sun Sentinel candidate questionnaire.
She is married to Richard “Bill” Barner, a criminal defense and immigration attorney. They have two children.”We’re an interracial couple,” Barner said during her endorsement interview this summer at the Sentinel.
Florence’s accomplishments speak for themselves: Top 40 Under 40: Nat’l Black Lawyers; Rated AV Preeminent: Martindale-Hubbell, Rated AV Preeminent: Martindale-Hubbell Judicial Edition; Top 20 Under 40 Professionals: Haitian Chamber of Commerce; Top Rated Lawyers: South Florida’s Legal Leaders [as published in The Miami Herald], America’s Most Honored Professionals 2016… and the list goes on.
Similarly, her list of endorsements is as endless. Broward Sun-Sentinel, The Westside Gazette, Le Nationale, Police Benevolent Assn., Broward Counsel of Professional Firefighters, Fraternal Order of Police, The Puerto Rican and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, local community leaders such as Eugene Pettis, activists, mayors, commissioners… and the list goes on.
Florence studied at U.C. Berkley as a National Institutes of Mental Health Psychology research scholar, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Barry University, and secured her law degree from University of Florida. While in law school, Florence received many honors, awards and scholarships for her community service/pro bono legal work and for her academic success in the classroom.
As a prosecutor, she worked in the juvenile division, the misdemeanor trial unit, and all throughout the [adult] felony trial unit trying countless cases to juries in Broward County. These cases ranged from misdemeanors such as DUI and Harassing Phone Calls to serious felonies such as Child Sexual Battery, Armed Robbery and Murder. Impressively, Florence has tried over 50 first chair jury trials.
In addition to the many youth mentoring programs she’s worked with, Florence is the mother of two children and an active member of her Parent Teacher Assn. [PTA] and is a volunteer with Broward County Public Schools. Florence believes that the youth really are the key to a successful future and therefore the youth must have positive role models to show them.
Florence believes in community involvement, she has volunteered her time with Habitat for Humanity working on homes in Pompano Beach. Florence also volunteered with the Broward County Humane Society Share-A-Pet therapy Program where she and her husband would visit local hospices and nursing homes to spend time with those without families of their own.