Open Ninth-logo

Open Ninth

Legal >

Candid conversations about current topics with court and community leaders

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


United States


Candid conversations about current topics with court and community leaders






The Improbable Road

No matter where you live – be it Central Florida or anywhere else in the country – it is more than likely that you have heard of Jeff Ashton. Being the prosecutor assigned to the Casey Anthony trial catapulted him into the national limelight. But, did you also know that he was the first prosecutor to successfully win a conviction using DNA evidence? Or that he is a best-selling author? Or a devoted father to seven children? Having run for a circuit judgeship in 2018 and winning, Jeff...


VIII of the IXth

Meet the newest judges at the Ninth Circuit! By January of 2019, eight new judges joined the bench. Six were elected – Judges Arendas, Ashton, Carter, Sanders, Shaffer, and Young. Two were appointed – Judges Beamer and Wish. And they all have been an incredible addition to the bench. Grab you headphones and listen in as Chief Judge Fred Lauten leads the group in a candid conversation about life, the law, and the road to the judiciary. Let us know what you think about the podcast.


Turning the Tables

Of our three branches of government, the judicial branch – despite having the highest approval ratings of the three – tends to be the least understood. Unless we make it on a jury panel or have a pending case, most of us don’t have much of a reason to interact directly with the courts. And, even for those of us who’ve had a wealth of experience, it still may feel like the whole legal system is one giant iceberg. We only know that little bit we’ve been exposed to – the tip of the iceberg....


Rule of Law

In 1993, Russia adopted the Constitution of the Russian Federation. With it came the abolishment of communism and the dissolution of the Soviet system of government. Nearly 25 years have passed and the intervening years mark the evolution of a nation and its judicial system. Looking to truly take the conversation beyond the courtroom, Chief Judge Fred Lauten sat down with former Russian legal professionals, Judge Margarita Riley, and attorney, Marina Ellis. Listen in as they explore the...


A New Sheriff in Town

Turn on the news or surf your favorite news site, what do you see? Stories about the latest scams? The most recent violent crimes? Do you wonder how to protect yourself from being phished, or if things are really getting worse in your own neighborhood? Looking for some answers to these questions? Well then, grab your headphones and listen in as Sheriff John Mina talks with our host, Chief Judge Fred Lauten about scams, security, and the landscape of crime in Orange County, Florida. Let us...


Court Spotlight

In the digital age, information is easy to come by. There are millions of websites devoted to every conceivable subject. Google your topic and you’ll instantaneously receive a long list of sites with relevant information. It’s that simple. However, relevant doesn’t necessarily mean correct. And that list may end up being utterly useless. So, what do you do when you need solid, accurate information? You call an expert. And, that’s exactly what we did. Mary McQueen, President of the National...


Jurors and Justice

Jury duty. The mention of those two words fosters a wide range of feelings spanning from dread to pride and everything in between. The right to a jury trial is one of the most fundamental principles of our justice system. It’s so important that it is guaranteed in the Constitution – a guarantee that is backed and ensured by our participation. To have a jury is to commit to be a juror. And so we are called upon to serve. We serve with our mixed feelings and our of sense civic obligation,...


Partners in Hope

Naivasha, Kenya is home to over 25,000 orphaned children. Looking to help restore their sense of safety, security, and family, Judge Heather Rodriguez traveled to Naivasha with her daughter last summer as part of the Inua program. Listen in as they share their experiences with Chief Judge Lauten, and learn about the incredible impact Inua had on their lives and the lives of Naivasha’s children.


Thoughtful Leadership

How do you want to be received by others? What’s your pet peeve? How do you learn best? If you’re thinking that the answers to these questions will only help you build self-awareness, you may want to think again. While we all want to be able to answer these questions for ourselves, knowing how our colleagues and coworkers will answers them, and twelve others, holds the key to building good relationships in the workplace. J. Lenora Bresler, a human resources expert specializing in...


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...


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...


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...



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.