On July 1, the jurist will assume the role of chief judge in the Miami-Dade Circuit Court, replacing Judge Bertila Soto.
For Law.com by Michael A. Mora
Jurists of the Miami-Dade Circuit Court have just elevated Nushin G. Sayfie to the position of the chief judge.
And Sayfie said she is both humbled and shocked that her colleagues have chosen her in their recent election to lead the circuit court in this new role.
"The last day of voting was yesterday, so we were live and in-person in the ceremonial courtroom, which is also unusual in these times for us all to be there," Sayfie said. "The First thing I did was hug and shake hands with my opponent. Then, we left because there’s a global pandemic and we can’t be close to each other."
Sayfie, who currently presides as an administrative judge in the criminal circuit court division, prevailed in the election over Judge Scott Bernstein, who sits in the family division.
On July 1, Sayfe will replace Chief Judge Bertila Soto, who was term-limited after leading the circuit court as chief judge for four terms.
In a statement, Soto said Sayfie's experience has prepared her for the new position and praised her "proven leadership skills," citing her time as the head of the circuit court criminal division. Soto added: "Sayfie will lead this circuit with wisdom and dedication as the courts continue to meet the challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic."
Now, Sayfie will lead the circuit court during at least one two-year term. She said one of her goals is to remain accessible to anyone who wants to share their views, concerns and ideas to run the circuit court more effectively.
"I will be the chief, but I don't pretend on any level that every decision I make is not a collaborative effort," Sayfie said. “One of my long-term goals is to take advantage of technologies in ways we never had before. We've been doing so much remote and we learned there are a lot of things we don't have to do in person. That will save the court resources."
During her time on the bench, the incoming chief judge has taught litigation skills at the University of Miami School of Law while teaching her fellow judges at the Florida Conference of Circuit Court Judges and the College of Advanced Judicial Studies.
Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Sayfie to the circuit court in 2007. Since then, the judge has held several roles in the Miami-Dade Courts system, including at the juvenile dependency division.
But Sayfie's public service did not start at the circuit court. Before rising to the bench, Sayfie spent a decade as an assistant public defender in the Miami-Dade Public Defender's Office.
Sayfie earned her law degree from Fordham University School of Law in 1993 and her undergrad degree from Georgetown University in 1990.
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