Judge James R. Jorgenson was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and was a resident of Miami for over 50 years. He was married and had three sons and one daughter, and nine grandchildren. He served with the United States Air Force between 1957 and 1960. While a police officer with Metro Dade Police Department, he received his A.S. degree from Miami Dade Community College. Judge Jorgenson graduated from Florida State University with a B.S. in Criminology in 1966. In 1968, he received his law degree from Florida State University College of Law. Following law school, Judge Jorgenson was a Ford Fellow at Northwestern University.
Judge Jorgenson worked as an attorney for the Metro Dade Police Department from 1969 through 1976. He was in private practice with Kreeger & Kreeger between 1976 and 1977 and then joined the Office of the Dade County Attorney as an Assistant County Attorney.
In 1977, he was appointed a Dade County Court Judge and, in 1978, was a elected to that position. Judge Jorgenson was appointed to the Circuit Court for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in 1979, and then elected circuit judge in 1980. He served as the administrative judge of that court's criminal division between 1980 and 1981. Governor Bob Graham appointed him to the Third District Court of Appeal in 1981. In 1982, 1988 and 1994, Judge Jorgenson was retained by the voters of Dade and Monroe Counties.
Judge Jorgenson received an LL.M. in 1984 from the University of Virginia School of Law. He was a member of the American Law Institute, the American Bar Association, and the Florida Bar. Within the ABA, Judge Jorgenson belonged to the Judicial Administration Division and the Criminal Law Section. He served as a member of the Advisory Committee of the ABA Standards of Criminal Justice. Within the Florida Bar, Judge Jorgenson was a member of the Rules of Judicial Administration Committee and the Appellate Practice Certification Committee. He was a member of the DCA Technology Committee. He served as President of the Conference of DCA Judges and was elected member of the Judicial Qualifications Commission.