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Candid conversations about current topics with court and community leaders

Candid conversations about current topics with court and community leaders
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Candid conversations about current topics with court and community leaders






Without a Roof

Homelessness is one of the most pressing issues facing our community. On any given day in Central Florida there are over 2,000 homeless people on the streets – veterans, parents with children, individuals, and youth. Serving this population requires an integrative approach that not only provides housing, but also a continuum of services that foster the skills and stability necessary to rebuild life off the streets. At the center of developing and ensuring the efficacy of this system of care...


Millions Served

Imagine living paycheck to paycheck, barely making ends meet, when the bank tries to foreclose on your home. Or your landlord tries to evict you in order to raise the rent. You barely have the income to cover the basics, let alone pay for a lawyer. What do you do? You call the Legal Aid Society, that’s what you do. Conceived as the brainchild of a couple of attorneys in the 1960s looking to help local residents who couldn’t afford legal representation, the Legal Aid Society of the Orange...


Court’s Adjourned

After serving a combined 53 years on the bench, Judges Sally Kest, Marc Lubet, and Jose Rodriguez will retire from full time service at the end of the month. Talented and committed jurists, the breadth and depth of their careers are evident in the significant contributions they have each made to the bench and our community. We invite you to listen in on this conversation as our host, Chief Judge Fred Lauten, invites our retiring judges to take a look back at their incredible judicial...


The Encore

While the judicial branch is essential to the functioning of our constitutional system of government, it is the least understood of the three branches. Although the foundational structure of the judiciary may be the same across the nation, some attributes of the courts and the issues it faces are unique to each state. In this episode of Open Ninth, Chief Justice Charles Canady joins Chief Judge Fred Lauten to shed some light on the judicial branch of government, giving us an insider’s look...


Stories of Service: 13 Months in Vietnam

Over 1.5 million veterans call Florida home – the majority of which are Vietnam Era vets. Their combined years of service to their country numbers well into the trillions, and their stories are as poignant and important today as they were 50 years ago. The Ninth Circuit’s own Senior Judge Anthony Johnson was 17 in 1966 when he enlisted in the marines. At 18, he arrived in Da Nang, and spent the next 13 months in Vietnam. Listen in to this episode of Open Ninth as Judge Johnson shares stories...


From Gavel to Hammer

When Florida Supreme Court Justice Lawson invited Judges Blechman, Jewett, Munyon, and Murphy to join him on a mission trip to build homes in Honduras, they all jumped at the opportunity to give back. But, when they sat down with Chief Judge Fred Lauten to talk about their experience, they all agreed that what they received on this trip far outweighed anything they could have given. Take a listen to their stories as Justice Lawson and our Judges talk about their five days in Honduras and the...



We all know the players inside the courtroom. There’s the judge, prosecuting and defense attorneys, deputy, court reporter and, perhaps, an interpreter. And, we all know the important roles each of them play. But what about behind the scenes of the courtroom? Meet the judicial assistants. Largely out of the public view, this position plays a vital role to both the judges they serve and the workings of the court. Join Theresa Novak, Lisa Shorten, and Robin White – officers of the Judicial...


A Tale of Two Judges

Learning about the professional life of a judge – Where did they attend law school? What law did they practice? When did they take the bench? – is generally very easy. These types of questions all have publicly attainable answers. However, if you want to learn about the person behind the robes – Why did they want to become a judge? Are they a morning person or a night owl? How did they adjust to life on the bench? – that is generally not very easy at all. Until now. Join Chief Judge Fred...


The Fi$hkind Forecast

It is often said that the health of a nation is equal to the wealth of a nation. And the scores of fiscal agencies and economists dedicated to studying every available financial detail only serve to lend veracity to that statement. So when the Open Ninth wanted to get a feel for the financial pulse of Central Florida, we needed look no further than economist Dr. Henry Fishkind. Listen in as our host, Chief Judge Fred Lauten, and Dr. Fishkind examine the local economy and explore the impact...


Labor Day Special: Before They Were Judges

Think back to your first few jobs. Did you babysit the neighbors’ rambunctious kids who, now that you are thinking about it, weren’t too much younger than you were at the time? Or were you one of the legions of high school students working retail at the local mall? Perhaps you waited tables or worked the line as a short order cook or tended bar? Whatever you were doing, we’ll venture a guess that the job you did then has absolutely nothing to do with the job you are doing now. Or does it? In...


Judges on Film 3: Criminal Minds

The Ninth Circuit’s movie critic trio are back presiding over the silver screen. On this episode’s docket – films and the criminal mind. Join our host, Chief Judge Fred Lauten and his film critic crew, Circuit Judges Bob Egan and Leticia Marques, as they take us on a journey through some of Hollywood’s most captivating crime movies. Let us know what you think about the podcast.


Combatting Elder Abuse in America

Old age. While we can all agree everyone is destined for it, we can’t quite seem to reach a consensus as to when we’ve arrived. AARP tells us we’ve earned senior status at 50. But, if you’re looking for that discount on a cup of coffee at McDonald’s, you’re out of luck until you reach 55. Burger King completely disagrees and won’t discount your fries until you’re 60. White Castle draws the line at an oddly designated 62. And, Taco Bell weighs in with Medicare, reserving old age for 65....


Going Social

Everyone is on social media. You. Your best friend. Your best friend’s kid. Even your 80 year old grandmother. Then there’s your favorite taco joint, hair stylist, dry cleaner, mechanic, clothing brand, music band. And, don’t forget the company you work for, the city you live in, and the bank that cashes your paycheck. Quite literally, everyone. Even us – and you should totally be following us too! However, even though everyone is on social media, not everyone engages with the various...


History in the Grove

Pulitzer Prize winning author, Gilbert King, joins Chief Judge Fred Lauten to take us back to 1950’s Lake County, Florida. The setting for both Mr. King’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Devil in the Grove, and his newest novel, Beneath a Ruthless Sun, Lake County is home to Sherriff Willis McCall and a past rife with racial injustice, violence, and corruption. Listen in as we explore the ugly side of our region’s history, the impact it has had on our legal system, and the importance of...


Suskauer Raises the Bar

Michelle Suskauer, the 70th president of the Bar and the sixth woman to hold the office, sat down with Chief Judge Frederick J. Lauten days before her swearing in ceremony in June. Their conversation takes a deep dive into the issues facing both the Bar and the courts - from gender equality to mental health and wellness, low-bono access to legislative funding, bail reform to the Criminal Justice Summit. Listen in as they discuss her vision for the Bar, the legal profession, and the...


AI: Supplement or Supplant?

The foundation of every conceivable website and app is a computer analyzing data and developing algorithms. Artificial intelligence is everywhere and the field of data science is shaping our world. But, should it shape our courts? Join Chief Judge Fred Lauten and Dr. Thomas Clarke as they explore this question and discuss the impact of artificial intelligence and data science on the judicial system. Let us know what you think about the podcast.


Right to Release

The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution prohibits inflicting cruel and unusual punishment – but did you know that it also prohibits excessive bail or fines? While the bond system has a long history in the United States, the idea of what constitutes excessive bail and its socioeconomic implications continue to evolve. In today’s episode of Open Ninth, Chief Judge Fred Lauten and Ninth Circuit Judge Jenifer Harris walk us through this evolution of the bond system. Listen in as they explore...


#JustServe: Partners in Service

What do you envision when you think of the Clerk of Courts? If your thoughts start with stacks of files and end with paying your traffic ticket, gab your headphone and listen to this episode of the Open Ninth. Join Chief Judge Fred Lauten as he sits down with Orange County Clerk of Courts Tiffany Moore Russell to talk about the myriad ways the Clerk of Courts and the Judicial System work together to serve the more than 1.7 million people living in the district. From the establishment of the...


#JustServe: An Attorney’s View

Mayanne Downs, prominent Orlando attorney shares her experience of serving as a juror in the Ninth Circuit.


Analyze This

Judge Diana Tennis shares the experience of her transition from TV legal analyst to Circuit Judge