Miami Dade Haitian American judge faces election challenge

Fred Seraphin

Miami-Dade county’s first Haitian-American Judge Fred Seraphin is facing competition for next elections, raising concerns among local Caribbean bar associations. Appointed by Governor Jeb Bush in 2001 to fill a vacancy left by former county court judge Kevin Emas, Seraphin has not yet filed to run for re-election.

Miami-based criminal defense lawyer Milena Abreu, a former public defender for Miami-Dade Public Defender Carlos Martinez, has announced her plans to run. Abreu, along with a few Florida based women groups have criticized Seraphin regarding an incident in June when he refused to accommodate assistant public defender Marissa Altman Glatzer’s request for a 15-minute break every three to four hours during trial so that she would be able to pump breast milk.

On the other hand, Caribbean Bar Association President-elect Devona Reynolds-Perez has cited concerns that the county already lacks judicial diversity.

Miami Dade currently has 123 judges, with less than 10% being black.

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