Judicial Profile: Michael Orlando Finds Fulfillment In Juvenile Court

, Daily Business Review

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Michael Orlando
Michael Orlando

Broward Circuit Judge Michael Orlando has been on "The Tonight Show," or at least his name has.

His moment of national celebrity came after a 21-year-old Coral Springs man who appeared before him allegedly stole Orlando's nameplate and posted a picture of himself holding the stolen plaque under his chin on his girlfriend's Facebook page.

"The nameplate is like only $40, not that big of a crime, but what an idiot. He puts it on Facebook," Broward County Sheriff Al Lamberti said at the time.

The Associated Press picked up on it. Then Jay Leno. Orlando's phone started ringing.

"That was apparently a big deal. I got calls from across the country from friends of mine," the judge said. "I have a friend who lives in Seattle; he called me. I've got relatives who live in Alaska; they called me. A friend in Boston called me. Apparently it went nationwide."

Orlando's perspective: "I can only hope that that doesn't go down as one of my most defining moments. My claim to fame, so to speak."

It wasn't his only brush with fame. Orlando went to St. Thomas University for law school when students were mingled fairly freely with Miami Dolphins football players holding practice sessions at the school.

"My roommate and I used to shag punts for Reggie Roby," he said.

That wasn't why he chose the law school, he said. It was just "one of the perks."

Trial Experience

Even though his father was an attorney and later a Broward County court judge, that wasn't what led Orlando into the law.

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