Chief Judge Kevin Emas

Judge Kevin Emas has the distinction of being appointed to the judiciary by three different Governors. Governor Lawton Chiles appointed Judge Emas to the Miami-Dade County Court in 1996. Five years later, Governor Jeb Bush appointed Judge Emas to the Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit. On November 24, 2010, Governor Charlie Crist appointed Judge Emas to the Third District Court of Appeal.

As a member of the trial court bench for 14 years, Judge Emas served in the Domestic Violence, Criminal, Civil and Family Divisions. Prior to taking the bench, Judge Emas was an assistant public defender (1982-83), an associate and partner with Fine Jacobson Schwartz Nash Block & England (1983-1989), and a partner with the law firm of Thornton, Rothman & Emas (1989-96).

While serving on the Circuit Court bench, Kevin Emas was an active leader in the Florida Conference of Circuit Judges, serving as Conference Chair (2010), Chair-Elect (2009-10), Secretary (2008-09), Criminal Justice Section Chair (2002-08), Criminal Education Chair (2003-06), and Executive Committee member (2003-10).

Judge Emas has always been dedicated to legal education at all levels. Since 1998, Judge Emas has been a faculty member of the Florida Judicial College, teaching newly-elected and newly-appointed judges prior to their taking the bench. He has taught at numerous statewide judicial conferences, and has served as a Faculty Chair for Florida’s College of Advanced Judicial Studies, responsible for developing education curriculum for trial court judges. For ten years, Judge Emas taught the “Handling Capital Cases” course, an educational program that Florida judges must complete before becoming eligible to preside over a death penalty case. Judge Emas also served as a faculty member of the National Judicial College, where he taught death penalty courses to civilian and military judges from across the United States.

As an adjunct faculty member of Florida International University College of Law, Judge Emas teaches in the Litigation Skills Program. He has coached mock trial teams at Coral Reef and Killian Senior High Schools. As a mentor in the Justice Teaching program, Judge Emas has partnered with high schools throughout Miami-Dade County to assist in mock trial programs, Teen Court, Law Week, and other law-related activities and civics education in the high schools.

Judge Emas currently serves as a member of the Judicial Qualifications Commission, and previously served as chair of the Supreme Court’s Criminal Court Steering Committee and the Florida Criminal Procedure Rules Committee.

Judge Emas received his J.D. (cum laude) from the University of Miami School of Law in 1982, where he served as an editor of the University of Miami Law Review. He was a member of the Law School Honor Court and the Order of Barristers. Judge Emas received his B.A. (with honors) from the University of Florida in 1979. While at the University of Florida, he inducted into Florida Blue Key and Omicron Delta Kappa Honorary. Judge Emas served as president of Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity, and was selected an Outstanding Young Man of America by the United States Jaycees.

Judge Emas lives in Kendall with his wife, Marilyn and they have three children-- Rachel, Erica and Sam.