For about a decade and a half, Cindy Lederman has been the top dog at Miami's Children's Court. She was never there to make friends, but she got things that mattered done. She helped establish a number of child welfare programs, and last fall, her ruling struck down Florida's gay adoption ban.
However, it seems the age of Lederman at the children's court has come to an end. New Chief Judge Joel H. Brown informed the Miami Herald
that Circuit Judge Orlando Prescott, currently in criminal court, will replace Lederman. Lederman will still stay on as a judge in juvenile court.
Lederman has developed a reputation for a hard-edged style. New Times
profiled her in 2000, and Tristram Korten wrote
, "In the hallways she is known to be downright draconian. Dwarfed by her high-backed chair, Lederman glares through large glasses at defendants and at times barks that they should sit down and shut up."
But it wasn't all bad.
"To admirers, Lederman's certitude is the antidote for the maladies of a system that allows cases to drag on indefinitely. 'She really moves things along,' says one lawyer, who asked to remain anonymous, even though he praised the judge. Her sharp intelligence burns through the twisted emotional lives of families like an acetylene torch clearing a car wreck. Lederman is a nationally renowned lecturer on domestic law and children's rights."
Since then, her reputation as an inovator and highly respected judge has grown.