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Investiture honors James S. Moody III, son and grandson of judges, brother of Florida attorney general

Moody is the fourth member of his family to join the judiciary. He was appointed to the Hillsborough County bench in 2019.
Hillsborough County Judge James S. Moody III, left, speaks with his father, Senior U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr., right, following his investiture ceremony at George E. Edgecomb Courthouse in Tampa, on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021.
Hillsborough County Judge James S. Moody III, left, speaks with his father, Senior U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr., right, following his investiture ceremony at George E. Edgecomb Courthouse in Tampa, on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Nov. 4, 2021

TAMPA — In a packed Tampa courtroom Thursday afternoon, state and federal judges, lawyers and community leaders gathered to witness an uncommon family tradition.

Down from the bench stepped Senior U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr., who administered a judicial oath to his son, James S. Moody III.

The younger Moody, known as Jamey, was appointed to the Hillsborough County bench in 2019 — the fourth Moody to join the judiciary.

Hillsborough County Judge James S. Moody III, left, hugs his father, Senior U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr., right, during his investiture ceremony, while Chief Judge Ronald N. Ficarrotta joins guests in applause at George E. Edgecomb Courthouse in Tampa, on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021.
Hillsborough County Judge James S. Moody III, left, hugs his father, Senior U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr., right, during his investiture ceremony, while Chief Judge Ronald N. Ficarrotta joins guests in applause at George E. Edgecomb Courthouse in Tampa, on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

His grandfather, the late James S. Moody Sr., was a state legislator and later a circuit judge.

His sister, Ashley Moody, was a circuit judge in Tampa for 10 years before she was elected Florida’s attorney general in 2018.

The attorney general herself addressed the crowd — some 70 judges among them at the George Edgecomb Courthouse.

“This is the place I came to every day for 10 years,” Ashley Moody said. “When I came back today I realized not much has changed, except now you let my little brother roam the halls.”

She drew laughter with tales of sibling rivalry.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody gifts her grandfather’s gavel to her brother, Hillsborough County Judge James S. Moody III, while she delivers remarks during his investiture ceremony at George E. Edgecomb Courthouse in Tampa on Thursday.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody gifts her grandfather’s gavel to her brother, Hillsborough County Judge James S. Moody III, while she delivers remarks during his investiture ceremony at George E. Edgecomb Courthouse in Tampa on Thursday. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

“There’s not many people that can say that they chased the attorney general around with a sock weapon,” her brother said.

Jamey Moody wore his grandfather’s judicial robe. His sister gifted him their grandfather’s gavel.

A Plant City native, Jamey Moody earned bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Florida. He worked in finance before becoming a lawyer.

He started his legal career as a personal injury lawyer for the firm of Gibbons Neuman and continued with the firm of Jayson, Farthing, Skafidas & Wright, P.A. In late 2019, Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed him to the county bench in Hillsborough.

Related: For Tampa's newest judge, James S. Moody III, law is a family affair

Although he has been a judge for nearly two years, his investiture was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In prepared remarks, he offered thanks to his family, professional mentors and colleagues.

“We’re a very close-knit family, even as adults. I think that’s important for all of us in who we are today,” the younger Moody said. “In my mind, there’s pressure to fill the shoes of three great judges who came before me.”

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