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Florida judge recognized for work with Seminole Tribe

Judge Jose Izquierdo, who serves in the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, has been recognized for his ongoing partnership with the Seminole Tribe. Izquierdo received the 2022 William E. Gladstone award at the Florida Children and Families Summit in Orlando over the summer.

Gladstone was a Miami judge who died in 2015. He is recognized for his work in family law and in family court.

Izquierdo has been conducting dependency hearings at Tribal Court for several years. The hearings typically involve children who are abused, abandoned or neglected. The children might be removed from parents, reunified with family members, or sometimes adoptions take place.

Jose Izquierdo (Florida Bar)

Izquierdo’s relationship with the tribe first started in 2016 when he met then-Tribal Court Chief Justice Willie Johns and director Stan Wolfe at a Child Protection Summit in Orlando. Izquierdo began to learn about the tribe’s culture and the history of the clan system with its matriarchal structure. He learned how Seminoles go about problem solving and how families fit together.

The partnership quickly blossomed with a handful of tribal cases taking place in Izquierdo’s courtroom. Hearings were later set up to take place in Tribal Court at tribal headquarters on the Hollywood Reservation – a first.

Another first took place April 18, 2019, when a tribal family adoption was finalized at tribal headquarters. A previous adoption had also taken place in Izquierdo’s courtroom.

The 17th Circuit is located in downtown Fort Lauderdale; it is one of 20 judicial circuits in the state. Izquierdo was appointed to the bench in 2016 and reelected in 2018 for an additional six-year term.

Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at