Judge Jason Dimitris Sees Courtroom As Forum For Community Service
Miami-Dade County Court Judge Jason Dimitris moved to South Florida, he said, "for the crime."
The son of a Greek ship captain and a New Yorker who met on a cruise and eloped, Dimitris didn't start out planning to be here—or in law.
"My biggest passion," he said, "is working with people."
His resume bears the evidence.
He's been a firefighter, an Outward Bound teacher, and Florida Department of Children and Families chief of staff. He began as an EMT.
"It was a way of doing community service in a very exciting way that also involved some education, some intelligence, working with people and doing something that most people wouldn't be able to do because they don't have the background and skill."
He went to college, though, and hoped to become a corporate consultant. When he graduated, he found out his youth was an obstacle, except at Outward Bound. They told him they'd help him work his way up to consulting.
First, though, they wanted him to launch a base camp—with no running water or electricity—in Myakka City southeast of Tampa.
"I would take these kids who had been arrested out into the wilderness. I would teach them a curriculum that I designed that would get them school credit while they were away from school," he said. "I really enjoyed the impact we were having on these kids."
But after three years on the job, he wanted to do more. "I saw that I wasn't going to have that impact as a schoolteacher who was working their way up," he said. "So I thought, 'Let me go to law school and I'll gain the tools and I'll become a community leader and then I will have that impact on education.' "