Times Staff Writer
Pinellas-Pasco Chief Judge Robert Morris Jr. has been named to the 2nd District Court of Appeal.
"I think it's very good for the citizens of the state in general — we sure hate to lose him, though, in the 6th Circuit," said Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender Bob Dillinger.
Dillinger called Morris a "consensus-builder" who was able to bring together many different interests in the court system to work on projects such as reducing overcrowding in the Pinellas County Jail.
Gov. Charlie Crist, who made the appointment, said: "His 12 years of expertise will be invaluable to the people of the Second District."
Morris, 55, became a Pinellas County judge in 1997 and became a circuit judge in 2001. He was named chief judge in 2007.
Soon the circuit and county judges in Pinellas and Pasco will meet to decide who should take on the role of chief judge for the two-county circuit.
His appointment also creates a vacancy in the Pinellas-Pasco Circuit. A Judicial Nominating Commission will review applications from those who wish to fill it.
On the 2nd District court, Morris will join judges who handle appeals from a 14-county area that includes Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties. Morris was travelling late Friday and could not be reached.