Judge Jose Fernandez: 'Do the Right Thing in My Heart, My Head'

, Daily Business Review

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Jose Fernandez
Jose Fernandez

If Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jose Fernandez had been better at typing, he might be a disc jockey.

"I never ever thought of going to law school or being a lawyer."

The problem was, he couldn't pass the typing test to get into journalism at the University of Florida. He returned home and majored in communications at the University of Miami. But when he graduated, another thought struck him.

"I said, 'What am I going to do, move to the middle of Oklahoma to work at a radio station?'"

He went to law school instead, and fell in love with it.

"It changed me," he said. "While I was there I interned at the state attorney's office and I really loved it. … I tried cases in juvenile and really, really enjoyed it."

He went to work at the Miami-Dade state attorney's office full-time as soon as he graduated, and quickly discovered a new goal.

"I didn't always want to be a lawyer, but when I became a lawyer and the first time I walked into a courtroom in this building as a prosecutor I knew I wanted to be a judge."

He worked in drug court with Hillary Clinton's brother, and worked his way up through felony and into narcotics.

After five years, though, he left to work with private firms that shaped him not only as a lawyer, but as a judge.

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