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 the Kaplan’s  death. 

Kaplan was happy to be 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-deserve 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. 

7 Responses to “Should A Courtroom Be Named For Judge Who Died Young?”

  1. Debbie Mcclosky-moss says:

    I am Debbie McClosky, supervised Charlie for several years as a prosecutor and remained strong friends. SO proud he became a fierce yet fair Judge. STRONGLY support a courtroom named for him.

  2. William G. Crawford, Jr., Esq. says:

    To overlook all of the early judges without a firm knowledge of the history of the Courthouse from 1915 is outrageously silly. Look at my history of the Courthouse in the BCBA WEBSITE.. Judge Ted Cabot., Clerk of the Circuit Court, Circuit Judge, State Senator. Cabot as circuit judge integrated the Ft L City Beaches in NAACP et al. v. City of Ft Lauderdale. Appointed as Broward County’s first resident federal judge by President.Lyndon B. Johnson. Integrated the Broward County Schools in Allen v. Broward County School District, deciding in favor of Allen. Died thereafter, Age 54.

  3. Why are Females getting the Shaft? Maybe Don Lemon runs this place? says:

    Charlie was a great man but he was on the bench for a short stint. What about the female judges who were on the bench much longer?

    Why overlook Judge Susan Aramony?
    In fact, she was on the bench from 1999 to 2003, which is 14 years.

    From Sun-Sentinel Obituary.
    Broward Circuit Judge Susan Aramony, a former prosecutor whose years on the Family Court bench won the admiration of prosecutors and defense lawyers alike, died Monday at her home in Fort Lauderdale.

    Ms. Aramony, 59, served for 12 years as head of the Juvenile Division of the Broward State Attorney’s Office, then transferred her stellar professional reputation to the bench in 1999, when she was appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush to serve as a Family Court judge.

    “She was one of the most caring, kind and concerned human beings I’ve ever known,” said Chief Administrative Judge Peter Weinstein, who recalled how Ms. Aramony would frequently work into the late evening, writing and signing orders on the challenging cases that came before her.

    His views were echoed by both the county’s top prosecutor and public defense attorney.

    “She was an exceptional lawyer and judge who was always committed to justice and doing the right thing for the right reason,” said State Attorney Mike Satz. “More important, she was just a very good person who touched the lives of many, many people.”

    Public Defender Howard Finkelstein praised Ms. Aramony as “a good soul who cared deeply about the people she came into contact with.”

    “Susan was always fair, as a judge and as a prosecutor,” he said. “You knew that even when she disagreed with you, it was for the right reason. She led with her heart.”

    While she was a prosecutor, Ms. Aramony served as chairwoman of Broward County’s Juvenile Justice Board and as a member of the Gang Activity Prevention Advisory Board. As a judge, she was on the board of the Thomas More Society and a former president of the Stephen R. Booher American Inn of Court.

  4. William G. Crawford, Jr., Esq. says:

    Editor: where is my comment? Naming anything the Broward County taxpayers paid for should have objective standards for naming it anything. Naming something based on subjective standards like age, nice guy don’t cut it. I’ve been a tax payer for 47 years. Broward circuit judge Ted Cabot’s rulings changed the life of Broward. Desegregated the beaches of Fort Lauderdale and any other Broward Public
    Beach. As a federal district judge, he desegregated the public schools of Broward schools. Apparently, Broward Beat only covers yesterdays‘ news.

  5. Not the Only One says:

    No question that Judge Kaplan’s passing at such a young age was sad and tragic. However, is that that really enough, in and of itself, to name a courtroom after him ? I think not. Moreover, he is not the only Judge who died at a young age that might deserve recognition as I recall Connie Nutaro and Cheryl Aleman. I didn’t hear people clamoring to name courtrooms after them. Also thinking about long time jurists like Judge Steven Booher, who served with distinction on the bench for many years. Here’s an idea. Why not just set up a memorial wall as opposed to naming courtrooms. Simple … right ?

  6. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    An HONEST n HUMANE Judge should be treasured n remembered.

  7. Davie Blvd Lawyer says:

    I knew Charlie for many years and loved him. Nothing said in your article is inaccurate. He was one of the best.

    BUT, this issue was already addressed with Mike Moscowitz. There is no good reason to name courtrooms after individuals. Inevitably, a request will be made for someone not so loved as Charlie. See,

    Tell Emily Rose to grow up and become a good citizen. Charlie would be more proud of that than his name on a courtroom.