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Open Ninth


Candid conversations about current topics with court and community leaders.

Candid conversations about current topics with court and community leaders.


United States


Candid conversations about current topics with court and community leaders.






Taking the Bench

A former resident of New Orleans, Judge Falcone’s life was turned upside-down when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. Listen in as he shares with Chief Judge Myers how the devastation from Katrina led him to Central Florida, his experiences at Boston College and Columbia University, and what inspired him to run for office. Timestamps 0:22 - Introduction to Vincent Falcone 5:38 - The impact of hurricane Katrina 9:08 - Working with the Department of Justice 11:25 - Practicing law in Florida...


Through Serial’s Lens

In November of 2018, the podcast Serial released its critically acclaimed third season. The aim: to shine a light on the American judicial system, highlighting the benefits and detriments of how our system works. To accomplish this feat, the Serial team spent a year in Ohio at the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. Judge John Russo, who was the administrative and presiding judge during the time Serial was at the court, and Public Information Officer Darren Toms join Chief Judge Don Myers to...


Returning to Normal: COVID, Vaccines, and Community

Almost a year to the day since COVID arrived in our region and it’s finally looking like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. A return to normal seems imminent – but how are we really going to get there? To give us some insight, Deputy County Administrator and Director of Public Safety for Orange County, Danny Banks joined Chief Judge Don Myers on our latest episode of Open Ninth. Listen in as they talk about COVID, vaccines, and getting the community to the other side of the pandemic....


A Legacy of Fairness

On January 28, 2021, the Honorable Jon B. Morgan passed away leaving behind a lasting legacy of fairness and respect. To honor his memory, Chief Judge Don Myers sat down with retired judge Heather O’Brien to reflect on Judge Morgan’s influence in their lives, and his impact on the courts and community. Listen to their conversation at


Love Beamer Style

In honor of Valentine's Day, courthouse couple – Judges Denise Kim and John Beamer – sat down to talk with Chief Judge Myers. From law school to the altar, parenthood to the bench, they have been through it all! Listen in as they share how they met, their experiences on and off the bench, and what it’s like to live in a two-judge household. Show Notes 1:20 - Background 4:25 - The start of the relationship 8:03 - Sharing the same profession 10:20 - Experiences on the bench 15:05 - Ten years...


Answering the Call

In this episode, Chief Judge Don Myers talks to the Florida Supreme Court's newest member, Justice Jamie Grosshans, about her journey from small town Mississippi to the highest court in Florida. Along the way, they discuss the speech that inspired her pursuit of the bench, her judicial philosophy, and the twists and turns in her career that she never saw coming.


Justice for All

From Court Administrator to the first ever Director of Racial Justice, Equity, and Inclusion at the National Center for State Courts, Edwin Bell sits in with Chief Judge Myers to discuss how systemic issues can affect courts across the nation. Tune in as Bell describes his experiences in the court system, his path to becoming Director, and his goals for the future. Show Notes 1:34 - The Director of Racial Justice, Equity, and Inclusion 3:00 - Edwin Bell’s background 9:56 - Defining racial...


Bidding Farewell

After a combined 69 years on the bench, Judges Patricia Doherty, John Kest, Jon Morgan, and Janet Thorpe retired from full-time service at the end of 2020. During their last weeks at the courts, Chief Judge Don Myers took the opportunity to sit down and interview each of them. Listen in as our retiring judges look back at their careers and explore what lies ahead.


Breaking News

From station intern to prime time news anchor, our guest this week has done it all on her way to becoming one of Central Florida's most recognizable people. This episode, WFTV's Martha Sugalski joined Chief Judge Don Myers to talk about the evolution of TV journalism, the importance of role models, and what it's like to be the woman in front of the camera. Along the way, Martha explores how she got where she is today, explains how she balances her busy schedule day-to-day, and shares her...


Interpreters and the Language Barrier

When you have limited proficiency in English, the United States justice system can seem overwhelming and confusing. However, working behind-the-scenes to increase access to the courts and level the playing field are a group of dedicated, unsung superheroes – interpreters! In this latest episode of Open Ninth, Chief Judge Don Myers and the Ninth Circuit’s Interpreter Judge, Judge Luis Calderon, explore the important role interpreters play in the administration of justice, how that role has...


Taking a Paws

Can our pets get sick with COVID? When we go back to work, how can we make sure they're happy alone at home? To answer these questions, Chief Judge Don Myers talked to Dr. Kimberly Lee, local veterinarian. Together, they discuss the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus on our community's beloved furry friends, from overwalking and obesity to pet adoptions and separation anxiety. Listen in to learn some of the best ways to maintain your pet's physical and emotional health during this pandemic.


Chief Judges’ Corner

During a pandemic, how does a Chief Judge balance safety and due process in the courts? Alongside Chief Judges Lisa Davidson of the Eighteenth Circuit and Ellen Masters of the Tenth Circuit, Chief Judge Don Myers explores the biggest challenges that COVID-19 has brought to the Central Florida area. All three Chiefs began their term on the same day in 2019; this gave them an excellent marker to compare both their first year in office and their Circuit's responses to COVID-19 in this in-depth...


Supervising An Election

Have questions about voting in the upcoming election? Listen in and find answers as Bill Cowles, Orange County's Supervisor of Elections, joins Chief Judge Don Myers to talk about voters, ballots, and elections. From early voting and vote-by-mail to high-speed ballot readers and rejected signatures, together they explore how a Supervisor of Elections keeps the democratic process running smoothly and efficiently during a pandemic. Time Stamps 1:11 - Becoming Supervisor of Elections 2:56 -...


The Wild World of COVID

How does a popular Central Florida attraction keep both staff and animals safe during a pandemic? Find out as Chief Judge Don Myers speaks to Dino Ferri, CEO of Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, about planning, preparing, and protecting the zoo and its visitors for the foreseeable future. They also explore how zoonotic diseases like COVID-19 can spread between animals to humans. From tigers to pigs to housecats and beyond, this conversation explores how the human, animal, and viral...


A Zest for Adventure

Even before coming to the bench, Judge Elizabeth Gibson lived a life full of adventure and new experiences. Raised on a series of Navy bases, she moved to Japan with her family in her late teens, and dedicated herself to becoming fluent in the Japanese language and culture. She graduated from the University of Maryland while living in Japan, eventually returning to the United States to attend law school and begin her legal career. Judge Gibson joined Chief Judge Don Myers on this episode of...


Sustaining Success

As we continue to explore this pandemic's impact on our community partners, Chief Judge Don Myers invited the new FAMU College of Law dean, Deidré Keller, to share her perspective on how the virus has changed both the law school and the lives of its faculty and students. Together, they examine everything from the effectiveness of virtual learning to the continued delay of the Bar exam, and what implications that could hold for the future of students and young lawyers. Along the way, we also...


Going the Distance

From the NFL to the State Attorney's Office to a seat on the county criminal bench, Judge Andrew Bain has had a unique journey to the judiciary. Listen in as he shares with Chief Judge Myers how his commitment to family, faith, and community led him off the field and onto the bench. Time Stamps 1:17 - Judge Bain’s background in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida 2:32 - Bain family history – the military and South Florida 4:41 -Sports as an extracurricular: baseball, basketball, football 5:24 - High...


A False Sense of Security Part II

On July 19th, a gunman posing as a FedEx delivery person shot U.S. Judge Esther Salas' son and husband at their home in New Jersey. In the wake of that tragedy, Chief Judge Don Myers invited top court security expert and former U.S. Marshal, John Muffler back on the show to discuss the challenges of protecting the judiciary in the digital age. From policing social media to conducting disinformation campaigns and beyond, listen in as they explore the best practices for staying safe both on...


An Appealing Path to the Bench

How does a collegiate volleyball player with an interest in international studies end up becoming a judge of the Ninth Circuit? Listen in as Chief Judge Don Myers talks with Judge Paetra Brownlee, a mother, daily runner, former appellate attorney, and newly minted judge about the path that led her to the Circuit Civil division. In this fun, light-hearted conversation, we explore Judge Brownlee's expectations of the bench to her actual experience so far, learn a little about her career in...


Breaking Barriers

LaShawnda Jackson made history this year as the first Black president of the Orange County Bar Association. She sat down with Chief Judge Don Myers to talk about Central Florida's interconnected legal community, challenges she's faced as a Black female lawyer, and her proposals to make the legal profession more diverse and inclusive. Listen and learn about the life of a lawyer from her perspective, including law school, getting involved in the local Bar associations, going to trial, and the...