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Photograph of Judge Leslie B. Rothenberg Judge Leslie B. Rothenberg

Judge Rothenberg who joined the Third District Court of Appeal in January of 2005, has an extensive history as a litigator, trial attorney, and trial judge, and has handled a large variety of criminal, civil, and appellate matters. Prior to her appointment to the appellate court, she tried nearly 400 jury trials, authored numerous orders and opinions and both argued and ruled upon thousands of motions.

Judge Rothenberg began her legal career in 1986 as a prosecutor in the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office prosecuting drunk drivers as a member of the federally funded DUI Task Force. After a year, she was promoted to the felony division and then the career criminal unit, where she prosecuted repeat and violent offenders. During her last two years in the State Attorney’s Office, she served as a felony division chief where she supervised a felony division while trying first degree murder and capital sexual battery cases.

In 1992 Judge Rothenberg was elected to the Circuit Court Bench and served for eleven years in the criminal, civil, and the appellate divisions, where she distinguished herself as a very hands-on, trial active judge.

In October of 2003, after eleven years on the Circuit Court, Judge Rothenberg stepped down from the Bench and became a partner with the International law firm of Steel Hector & Davis, LLP., where she handled a variety of civil matters. In December the following year, she was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to the Third District Court of Appeal. Elected by her fellow judges to serve as the Chief Judge, Judge Rothenberg began serving as the Chief Judge on July 1, 2017.

Judge Rothenberg, while being a prolific writer and known for her careful review of the record and her analytical opinions, has continued to be involved with the legal system outside of her appellate duties. Judge Rothenberg was appointed by Governor Bush to sit on the Capital Crimes Commission, and she has served on many committees including the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee and the Professionalism Committee. Judge Rothenberg has also served as an instructor on campaign and election law, and has lectured on a number of issues including the standards of appellate review, the application of stare decisis, the extraordinary writs, and the preservation of error.

During her tenure as Chief Judge, Judge Rothenberg will be overseeing the multi-million dollar renovations to the Third District Court of Appeal courthouse, and serving as the Chair of the Florida Conference of District Court of Appeal Judges, for the 2017-2018 term.

Judge Rothenberg’s community service is as broad and as extensive as is her contribution to the legal profession. She has worked with youthful offenders and inner-city children, teaching a juvenile diversion program for first time offenders, serving on the Board of Directors for the Manhood Development Council which targeted at-risk inner city boys, and working for many years with the Police Explorers of Homestead. Judge Rothenberg has also worked with abused and neglected children, serving as a guardian ad litem, and on the Board of Directors for Kristi House, and with Women and Children First.

Her personal life is as full and as diverse as is her professional career. She has been married for 47 years, has two grown sons, four grandchildren, holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, was a competitive 10K and marathon runner, and served as a volunteer on an army base in Israel during the first Gulf War. Judge Rothenberg also enjoys dancing the Argentinian Tango and ballroom dancing, and placed first in all of the twelve dances she competed in recently.