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Seminole-Broward partnership featured on CBS broadcast

An ongoing collaboration between the Seminole Tribe and a Broward County judge has caught the attention of the CBS4 News television station in Miami.

The station aired a story Feb. 27 about Seminole Tribal Court and Judge Jose Izquierdo of the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, located in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Izquierdo hears family court cases involving the welfare of children. He rules on child custody, adoption and guardianship issues.

A relationship between the judge and the Seminole Tribe began in 2016 when he met Tribal Court’s Chief Justice Willie Johns and Director Stan Wolfe at a 2016 child protection summit in Orlando.

A partnership soon formed after Izquierdo was educated on Seminole culture by Tribal Court. He now hears child dependency-related cases about once a month at Tribal headquarters on the Hollywood Reservation.

Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida Judge Jose Izquierdo in his courtroom in downtown Fort Lauderdale. (Photo Damon Scott)

All the Tribe’s child dependency-related cases now go through Izquierdo’s division, though eventually such cases could be transferred to the Tribe.

Izquierdo and Tribal Court officials recognize the value of the partnership for Tribal members – the cases are conducted in familiar territory around their elders, versus the often tough logistics and potentially intimidating atmosphere of a Broward County courtroom.

For the first time, on April 18, 2019, a Tribal family adoption was finalized at Tribal headquarters with Izquierdo, Chief Justice Johns and other state and Tribal officials on hand

Read the CBS4 News story and watch video of the broadcast here.

The Seminole Tribune wrote about the partnership last summer. Read that story here.

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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 damonscott@semtribe.com.
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