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William Thomas (S.D. Fla.)

Returned to President January 6, 2014


On January 6, 2013, President Obama re-nominated 54 of the 55 returned judicial nominees; he did not re-nominate Judge Thomas in the Southern District of Florida.

Home-State U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio [R-FL] supported state Judge William Thomas' November 14, 2012 nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, who he recommended to President Obama but then blocked a hearing without explanation. Sen. Rubio also supported and then blocked a Floor vote on Middle District of Florida nominee Judge Brian J. Davis who the Senate Judiciary Committee approved on June 21, 2012. 

In September, 2013, Sen. Rubio finally allowed Judge Davis to be listed for a second Committee vote (and Davis was finally confirmed on December 20th), but Sen. Rubio's spokeswoman belatedly said that he would continue to deny Judge Thomas even a hearing to explain and answer concerns. 

Sen. Rubio's citation of criminal sentences in two cases, including one where Judge Thomas imposed the death penalty, did not reflect detailed letters to Sen. Rubio from those involved in these cases, as The New York Times and a Miami Herald columnist described. Now, prosecutors in both of the cases Sen. Rubio cited have dispelled concerns about Judge William Thomas.

Thomas and Davis were nominated for two of the dozens of vacancies that the U.S. Courts have officially declared “judicial emergencies.”

Judge Thomas was one of 33 judicial nominees who were renominated on Jan. 4, 2013 after Republicans blocked Senate action.

Judge William Thomas has been a Circuit Court Judge of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County since 2005.  He was initially elected in November 2004 and re-elected, without opposition, in 2010.

The Circuit Court is the highest trial level court in Florida and has jurisdiction over all juvenile, family and probate proceedings, as well as all felony criminal cases and civil cases involving disputes of over $15,000.  The Circuit Court also has jurisdiction over the appeals from county court as well as certiorari review of local administrative decisions.

Judge Thomas’s first assignment was in the Dependency Division of the Juvenile court.  From 2006 to 2009, he was assigned to the Criminal Division of the Circuit Court, where he presided over a wide variety of cases ranging from simple possession of cocaine to first degree murder, death penalty trials.  From 2009 to February 2012, he was assigned to the Civil Division of the Circuit Court, where he handled a wide range of civil cases including foreclosure, personal injury, medical malpractice and commercial disputes.  In February 2012, he started my second rotation in the Criminal Division of the Circuit Court. 

Since 2005, as part of Judge Thomas’s duties as a Circuit Court Judge, he also serves as an appellate judge for county court and administrative law cases.  Consequently, approximately four times per year, he sits as a member of a panel of three judges hearing appeals in civil, criminal and administrative law cases.   

Judge Thomas has presided over more than 300 cases that have gone to verdict of judgment.

Since 2009, Judge Thomas also has taught in the Trial Advocacy Program at the University of Miami School of Law. He also has taught courses on “Probation and Parole” and “Corrections” at Florida Memorial University.

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