Gov Won’t Appoint Her, So Prosecutor Abbe Rifkin Asks Voters To Name Her Judge





Veteran Miami-Dade prosecutor Abbe Rifkin really wants to be a judge!

Not only is she one of three running against Circuit Judge Matt Destry. But she is once again a candidate for an appointment to the bench, this time for former Judge Cyndy Imperato’s seat on the Broward Circuit Court.

Rifkin has been a finalist previously for appointment by the governor.   Somebody in the governor’s office obviously doesn’t like her because she clearly has the necessary experience.


Abbe Rifkin

Abbe Rifkin prosecuting a murder trial, 2014



A trial attorney for the Miami Dade State Attorney’s Office since graduation from University of Miami Law School in 1981, the string of bad guys and gals she locked up is decades long.

Take Harrell Braddy, a case she cited to the Judicial Nominating Commission when seeking an appointment in the past.

Braddy is a bad, bad guy — a career criminal with a rap sheet for kidnapping, attempting murder and escape.  Included in this list is the attempted murder of a corrections officer who he strangled and left for dead after stealing his clothes and attempting to flee.

Released from prison, Braddy was quickly accused of kidnapping and attempting to murder a woman.

Braddy thought he killed the woman. So he kidnapped the woman’s five-year-old child to “eliminate her as a witness,” Rifkin wrote the JNC.

The girl was murdered in a particularly grizzly manner.  Brandy threw her into an alligator-infested canal off Alligator Alley. Her  half-eaten body was found by fishermen three days later missing a left arm with alligator bite marks on her head and stomach.

“The defendant . . . caused this 5-year-old to die, alone in the wilderness, and to be mutilated by monsters of the swamp,” Circuit Judge Leonard E. Glick wrote in his order sentencing Braddy to death.

Rifkin helped investigate and then convict this slime bucket. Braddy is currently on Death Row.

The Braddy case is just one of the homicides, traditionally lengthy cases involving years of preparation, that Rifkin has prosecuted.  In addition to murder, Rifkin has also been in charge of violent sex offender prosecutions in Miami-Dade.

It is obvious that Rifkin, who is also a law professor at Florida International University Law School and helps teach interns in the State Attorney’s Office, has the chops to be a good judge. Obvious to everybody but the administration of Gov. Rick Scott.

So now the voters will get a chance to put a black robe on Rifkin.

Unfortunately,she is currently in a race against three other experienced lawyers — Barbara Duffy, who during her decades-long career has done a lot of public sector work including for the police; Brian Greenwald, who worked many years as a Broward Public Defender and now is in private practice, and the incumbent Circuit Judge Destry, a former prosecutor appointed by then-Republican Gov. Charlie Crist.

The post I did about Destry might explain why he is one of the few Broward judges drawing viable challengers this year. It is linked here.

Like most judicial races, many voters — perhaps most — will know nothing about the candidates when they cast their ballots. So they will pick their choice by name or gender.

Consultants will claim that advertising will create name ID for their judicial candidate.  My opinion is that unless the candidate has hundreds of thousands to spend reaching the huge number of likely voters several times, ads are marginally effective. Of course consultants push an extensive ad campaign because they usually get a share under the table of the money spent on ads — both print and broadcast.

But even the most conniving consultant will concede that a judicial candidate’s name and gender is more important than ads.

This race has two candidates that sound Irish/English to me – Destry and Duffy. Being a female, Duffy may appeal to some female voters over Destry.

Most voters will have no idea that Destry is already a judge.

Greenwald and Rifkin are Jewish names and Jews comprise a bloc of voters in the August primary. Rifkin also might have added appeal to women voters.

This one should be interesting. Stay tuned.



6 Responses to “Gov Won’t Appoint Her, So Prosecutor Abbe Rifkin Asks Voters To Name Her Judge”

  1. Owl says:

    She’s not a finalist. JNC interviews aren’t until May 2. Of the judges that were appointed when she was a finalist in the past, who are you suggesting should not have been appointed in favor of her, and why?


    Just getting an interview means to me she is a finalist. But I take your point and changed the wording. No one’s name has been recommended to Tallahassee

  2. Las Olas Lawyer says:

    Only lawyers ever considered by Scott are those who worked for his election or those who get the support of one of his chief supporters. He is a pay-for-play governor, giving appointments only to those who helped him.

    Only Republicans need apply. A lawyer could be a conservative like Clarence Thomas seeking an appointment but if he is a Democrat, Scott won’t appoint him. Maybe Rifkin is a Democrat.

  3. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    I dont like Judges being appointed because of politics or family connections or racial considerations and they should NEVER BE ASKED WHAT THEIR VIEWS ARE OUTSIDE OF PHILOSPHICAL QUESTIONS.
    Experience in the Law
    Outside intellectual interests
    Maybe the NON SPECIFIC view of legal history and proceedure
    But stocking the Court for Political or Ideological Reasons should be a NO NO.

  4. To LOL says:

    Broward has done very little to support Governor Scott. And when he appoints Democrats or minorities, the newspapers go silent. How about his appointment to Judge of Kal Evans? Kal is Black and while judges are non-partisan, his political party is that of the majority of registered Broward voters.

  5. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    @4 LOL what the heck does “Broward has done very little to support Governor Scott..” have to do with the quality of his appointments?
    If a qualified Black lawyer is appointed a Judge why does the Scott clique want credit? Black lawyers have a Constitutional Right to be treated like all other lawyers. THE GOVERNOR WANTS SPECIAL CREDIT FOR FOLLOWING THE US CONSITUTION HE TOOK AN OATH TO OBEY?
    Frankly LOL just proves the point the Republican Party n particularly the Tea Party n Cultural Conservatives are the old Segregationists John Birch Society Klu Klux Klan Anerican Firsters n German American Bund of today.

  6. disgruntled says:

    count I love you toooooo. wow are you really a hater or does that name only apply to those who might have a different view of life than you..