No Palm Beach County-based judges make finalist list for federal bench

Updated Nov 30, 2017
Judge Dina Keever presides over a hearing Friday, May 20, 2016. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

No Palm Beach County-based judges made the short list of 10 nominees still hopeful for an appointment from President Donald Trump to five South Florida federal court vacancies.

Four Palm Beach County Circuit court judges and a judge from the West Palm Beach-based district appellate court had made it to the top 24 from an initial list of 45 applicants, but none of the five local judges was on the list that Federal Judicial Nominating Commission for the Southern District of Florida put together Wednesday after interviewing the candidates.

Circuit judges John Kastrenakes and Dina Keever-Agrama, both former federal prosecutors, along with fellow judges Jeffrey Colbath and Meenu Sasser and Florida 4th District Court of Appeal judge Mark Klingensmith, were the local candidates interviewed but not chosen.

Commission members sent 10 names to Florida U.S. senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, who will forward their top picks to the president.

Among those sent to the senators were Miami-Dade Circuit Judges Antonio Arzola, Peter Lopez, Rodolfo Ruiz, Rodney Smith and John Thornton.

Also making the short list were Broward Circuit Judges David Haimes and Raag Singhal; Acting U.S. Attorney Benjamin Greenberg; and Miami attorneys Roy Altman of Podhurst Orseck and Melissa Visconti of Damian & Valori.

The openings are to replace four U.S. district judges who are now on senior status and one, Boca Raton resident Judge Robin Rosenbaum, who was elevated to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in May 2014. The judges with senior status, which means they are semi-retired and have reduced caseloads, are U.S. District Judges Kenneth Marra, who is based in West Palm Beach, and William Zloch, James Cohn and Joan Lenard.