6/24/2011 Tallahassee, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott today announced eight appointments to four Judicial Nominating Commissions throughout the state.

“It is my hope that all of the Judicial Nominating Commissions will send me as many applicants as possible who share my judicial philosophies. As Governor, I understand that the judges I appoint will prove to be my longest lasting legacy. For that reason, I want to appoint judges with the intelligence and demeanor to administer justice in an even-handed and humble manner,” Governor Scott said. “Judges should adhere to the written law, changeable only by the Legislature or constitutional amendment, not by the bench according to personal preferences or perceptions of popular preference.”

Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission

Jeanne T. Tate, 54, of Tampa, is the managing partner of Jeanne T. Tate P.A. She succeeds Howard Coker and is appointed for a term beginning July 2, 2011, and ending July 1, 2015.

Tate has an extensive and exclusive practice in the area of adoptions and owns domestic and international adoption agencies. She was certified in adoption law in 2011. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Florida College of Law where she teaches Adoption Law and Procedure.

Previously, Tate practiced with Hill, Ward and Henderson from 1991 to 1999 and Shackleford, Farrior, Stallings and Evans from 1981 to 1991. She received her bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Florida.

Tate is appointed from the list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar.

Second District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission

Edward J. Page, 55, of Tampa, is a partner with Carlton Fields P.A. He succeeds Emory Wood and is appointed for a term beginning July 2, 2011, and ending July 1, 2015.

With Carlton Fields since 2000, Page handles “white collar” criminal, aviation, product liability, wrongful death and general commercial matters. Previously, he was deputy independent counsel for the Office of the Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr from 1998 to 1999, where he served as senior advisor to Starr and spokesperson for the Independent Counsel during the Whitewater and related investigations.

From 1995 to 1998, Page was senior associate independent counsel for the Office of the Independent Counsel David M. Barrett. He received extensive federal jury trial and appellate experience in complex federal criminal proceedings while serving as an Assistant United States Attorney from 1990 to 1995. He has also served as an assistant state attorney with the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office in Tampa, Florida, where he was counsel for over 100 jury trials tried to verdict and over 250 bench trials tried to judgment from 1981 to 1990.

Page received his bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida and his law degree from the University of Tulsa School of Law.

Lara J. Tibbals, 38, of Tampa, is a shareholder with Hill Ward Henderson. She succeeds Celene Humphries and is appointed for a term beginning July 2, 2011, and ending July 1, 2015.

Tibbals clerked for United States District Court Judge James S. Moody Jr., of the Middle District of Florida, from 2000 to 2001. Active in Florida Bar activities on both the local and state level, Tibbals has served on the Board of Directors for the Hillsborough County Bar Association and served as Program Chair and as Past President of the Young Lawyer’s Division. She has been a member of the Board of Trustees for the Hillsborough County Bar Foundation since 2001.

She received her bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and her law degree from the University of Florida College of Law.

Tibbals is appointed from the list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar.

Third District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission

Raoul G. Cantero, 50, of Coral Gables, is a partner with White and Case LLP and former Florida Supreme Court Justice. He succeeds Matias Dorta and is appointed for a term beginning July 2, 2011, and ending July 1, 2015.

Since 1995, Cantero has been Board-certified by the Florida Bar in appellate practice. Appointed to the Florida Supreme Court in 2002 by then-Governor Jeb Bush, Cantero was the first justice of Hispanic descent and one of the youngest ever to sit on the Court. In his six years as a justice, he heard hundreds of appeals and authored more than 100 majority, concurring and dissenting opinions, by definition involving precedent-setting areas of law.

In 2007, Mr. Cantero was honored by the Cuban American Bar Association (CABA) with the creation of an endowment in his name, the Justice Raoul G. Cantero, III Diversity Enhancement Scholarship at Florida State University.

Before his Court appointment, he was in private practice for 14 years in South Florida, specializing in civil and criminal appeals. He also chaired the City of Coral Gables Planning and Zoning Board for four years. He received his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and his law degree from Harvard Law School.

Cantero is appointed from the list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar.

Justin J. Sayfie, 42, of Miami, is a founding shareholder of Blosser and Sayfie P.A. He succeeds Timothy Koenig and is appointed for a term beginning July 2, 2011, and ending July 1, 2015.

Prior to co-founding Blosser & Sayfie in August 2001, Sayfie worked as a senior policy advisor, spokesman and chief speechwriter for Governor Jeb Bush from 1999 to 2001. In 2001, Sayfie was appointed by Gov. Bush to the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, and in 2003-2004, he served as a Co-Chair of the Commission. From 2005 to 2009, he was chairman of the Southern District Conference of the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission, appointed by then-U.S. Senator Mel Martinez.

From 1995 to 1998, he practiced environmental and land use law at the Miami office of Greenberg Traurig. He publishes an internet website SayfieReview.com and SayfieNews.com, which cover Florida and national political news, respectively. He received his bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and his law degree from the University of Miami.

Raquel “Rocky” Rodriguez, 49, of Key Biscayne, is the managing member of McDonald Hopkins LLC. She succeeds Marcos Jimenez and is appointed for a term beginning July 2, 2011, and ending July 1, 2015.

Rodriguez has more than 25 years of extensive experience counseling clients on a wide variety of government, business and litigation matters. From 2002 through 2006, she was General Counsel to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. In that capacity, she worked on some of the most complex and urgent issues facing the state, as well as counseled Governor Bush with respect to over 200 judicial appointments at all levels of the Florida judiciary.

Prior to her work in the Florida Governor’s office, Rodriguez was executive director of the London-based MULTILAW, Multinational Association of Independent Law Firms. She also practiced with Greenberg Traurig LLC for six years and McDermott Will & Emery LLP for four years. She earned her bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Miami.

Fifth District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission

Lee G. Schmudde, 61, of Celebration, is the vice president of law and environmental affairs for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. He succeeds John Alpizar and is appointed for a term beginning July 2, 2011, and ending July 1, 2015.

Currently the most senior attorney employed by Disney worldwide, he has represented the company at every court level, including the Florida Supreme Court and the First District Court of Appeal.

Schmudde joined Disney in 1978 after clerking for Chief Judge Joseph McNulty of the Florida Second District Court of Appeal. He received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell College and his law degree from Duke University School of Law.

April S. Kirsheman, 46, of Winter Park, is general counsel for the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. She succeeds Kirk Kirkconnell and is appointed for a term beginning July 2, 2011, and ending July 1, 2015.

Prior to joining the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office in 2010, Kirsheman was general counsel for Sydgan Corporation from 2007 to 2009. She was an assistant state attorney with the State Attorney’s Office, Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, from 1995 to 2007.

Kirsheman serves on the Judicial Nominating Procedures Committee for the Florida Bar and has previously served on the Bar’s Ninth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee, the Evidence Committee and the Judicial Administration, Selection, and Tenure Committee. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

Kirsheman is appointed from the list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar.

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