Mallory Horne Horton, one of the first three judges appointed to the Third District, was born in Fort Meade, Florida in 1913. From a family that included other leading lawyers, he was named after a prominent judge from Hamilton County, Florida, Mallory F. Horne, the uncle of Mallory E. Horne, an attorney and former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. His family moved to Miami, where he attended what was then Ponce de Leon High School, now known as Coral Gables High School.
He was a star athlete in college, playing football for the University of Miami back in the days when helmets were made of leather. He played in the first-ever Orange Bowl game in January 1935. He remained at the University of Miami for law school, where he received his LL.B. in 1936. After law school, he played semiprofessional baseball for the Lemon City Aggies.
Before World War II, he joined the FBI and was assigned to searching out Communist cells in the Midwest. On one such assignment, he met his future bride, Mary, and they were married in 1941. They had six children, three girls and three boys, and Judge Horton taught all of them how to kick a football.
After the war, he returned to Miami and joined the State Attorney’s Office. During his legal career, he served on the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar and was president of the Dade County Bar Association.
Governor LeRoy Collins appointed Judge Horton as one of the first three judges on the Court when it was founded in 1957. Judge Horton was elected by his fellow judges as the Court’s second chief judge, a position he held from 1959 to 1961. Judge Horton left the bench for private practice in 1965, starting one of Florida’s earliest appellate law firms. He practiced appellate law until he was eighty-five years old. He passed away in 2004 at age ninety.