Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Crist picks Pinellas-Pasco judge for appeals court post

TAMPA — Gov. Charlie Crist skipped over three Hillsborough judges slated as finalists for the 2nd District Court of Appeal, choosing instead a Pinellas judge whose husband already sits on the appellate bench.

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Nelly Khouzam will replace E.J. Salcines, who is retiring in July.

She joins her husband, Morris Silberman, a judge since 2001, on the 14-judge panel that serves 14 counties, including Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco.

To avoid any conflicts of interest, Khouzam said, the couple won't hear any cases together, and will work out of different offices — Silberman in Tampa, Khouzam in Lakeland.

"So long as they don't serve on the same appellate panel, there shouldn't be an ethical problem," said Christopher Slobogin, a University of Florida law professor.

Khouzam, 49, was interviewed Monday afternoon by Gov. Charlie Crist in Tampa.

That came as a bit of a surprise to the three Hillsborough circuit judges Crist interviewed in Tallahassee last week. Judges Anthony Black, Marva Crenshaw and Richard Nielsen were assumed to be the finalists for the job.

Then Crist added Khouzam to the mix. A judge in Crist's home county since 1994, she also had been on the six-person short list forwarded to the governor by the local Judicial Nominating Commission.

The Governor's Office announced her selection Tuesday.

"Judge Khouzam has a deep respect for the law, and she will bring tremendous legal knowledge to the 2nd District Court of Appeal," Crist said in a prepared statement. "I am confident she will serve with honor and impartiality."

For the trilingual, Egyptian-born Khouzam, the appointment is a "dream come true."

After receiving her law degree from the University of Florida in 1981, she spent two years as a 2nd District Court of Appeal clerk. She also has served as an associate judge on for the appellate court, filling in on cases for judges who were sick or otherwise unavailable.

"This was my dream, that some day it would be great coming back as a (full-time) judge," she said, her voice bubbling with excitement.

Khouzam, named Florida Jurist of the Year in 2002 by the Florida chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates, currently hears civil cases at the Clearwater courthouse.

Before being named to the circuit bench by Gov. Lawton Chiles, she worked as a partner for the large Fowler White law firm and then in a smaller practice with her husband. They have a daughter.

Black, one of the Hillsborough judges who didn't get the appellate nod, said the governor made a fine choice.

"Judge Khouzam is a very good and reputable judge, and I'm sure she'll do a great job," he said.

Staff writer Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler contributed to this report. Colleen Jenkins can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3337.

Crist picks Pinellas-Pasco judge for appeals court post 06/03/08 [Last modified: Thursday, June 5, 2008 4:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  2. Seminole Heights murders: fear and warnings, but no answers

    Crime

    TAMPA — Interim Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan elicited loud gasps from the crowd of about 400 who showed up at Edison Elementary School on Monday night to learn more about the string of unsolved killings that have left the southeast Seminole Heights neighborhood gripped by fear.

    Kimberly Overman, left, comforts Angelique Dupree, center, as she spoke about the death of her nephew Benjamin Mitchell, 22, last week in Seminole Heights. The Tampa Police Department held a town hall meeting Monday night where concerned residents hoped to learn more about the investigation into the three shooting deaths over 11 days in southeast Seminole Heights. But police could give the crowd at Edison Elementary School few answers. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  3. Juvenile justice reform seen as help for teen car theft problem

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations has decided to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year.

    One of Tampa Bay's largest religious organizations, Faith & Action for Strength Together (FAST), voted Monday night to make reforming the juvenile justice system one of its top priorities for next year. FAST believes civil citations could help Pinellas County?€™s teen car theft epidemic by keeping children out of the juvenile justice system for minor offenses. [ZACHARY T. SAMPSON  |  Times]
  4. U.S. general lays out Niger attack details; questions remain (w/video)

    War

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Special Forces unit ambushed by Islamic militants in Niger didn't call for help until an hour into their first contact with the enemy, the top U.S. general said Monday, as he tried to clear up some of the murky details of the assault that killed four American troops and has triggered a nasty …

    Gen. Joseph Dunford said much is still unclear about the ambush.
  5. Trump awards Medal of Honor to Vietnam-era Army medic (w/video)

    Military

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Monday turned a Medal of Honor ceremony for a Vietnam-era Army medic who risked his life to help wounded comrades into a mini homework tutorial for the boy and girl who came to watch their grandfather be enshrined "into the history of our nation."

    WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 23:  Retired U.S. Army Capt. Gary Rose (L) receives a standing ovation after being awarded the Medal of Honor by U.S. President Donald Trump during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House October 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. Rose, 69, is being recognized for risking his life while serving as a medic with the 5th Special Force Group and the Military Assistance Command Studies and Observations Group during ‘Operation Tailwind’ in September 1970. Ignoring his own injuries, Rose helped treat 50 soldiers over four days when his unit joined local fighters to attack North Vietnamese forces in Laos - officially off limits for combat at the time.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) 775062921