Jamaican Born Judge Creates History in Florida


A milestone in Florida history was made when Renatha Francis became the first Jamaican ever to be appointed to the Florida Supreme Court.

From Miami-Dade bond court to Florida’s Supreme Court, Judge Renatha Francis’ rise has been by any measure spectacular.

Francis is a young, Jamaican immigrant, and the mother of two.

She was born and raised in Jamaica to a single mother from a farming background in Jamaica and helped raise her younger sister. She grew up in Portmore and attended St Hugh’s High School. She read for her bachelor’s at The University of the West Indies, graduating in 2001, before studying law at the Florida Coastal School of Law.


Before moving to Florida in 2004, she operated two businesses in Jamaica, a bar and a trucking company, prior to becoming an attorney.

Francis graduated from Florida Coastal Law School in 2010, then worked for a judge and an appeals court as a staff attorney before being appointed to the bench three years ago.

The appointment of Francis was one of two made by the governor to fill vacancies on the Florida Supreme Court.


Judge Francis will take up her appointment as a member of the Florida Supreme Court in September as she cannot take office under a state law that says justices must have at least 10 years’ experience. She became a lawyer on September 24, 2010.

“I am truly the epitome of the American Dream,” Francis said at a press conference at the Miami-Dade Public Library, where Governor Ron DeSantis announced her appointment to the Supreme Court.

Judge Francis said she was honoured and humbled by the appointment “and the confidence that you have shown in giving me this tremendous opportunity to serve the people of the great state of Florida”.

“Another Jamaican has made her mark on the international scene and we are extremely proud and extend our heartiest congratulations to her,” said Mair.

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