Circuit Judge Hunter Carroll sworn in at joyful 12th Circuit ceremony
SARASOTA -- It was standing-room only Friday in the Sarasota County Commission Chambers as a crowd of roughly 100 witnessed history.
Hunter W. Carroll, a former attorney with the Sarasota-based law firm Matthews Eastmoore, was officially sworn in as a new judge for the 12th Judicial Circuit Court.
The ceremony for the 41-year-old Sarasota native was filled with praise, personal stories, and gift presentations from several law organizations, including the Manatee County Bar Association and Sarasota County Bar Association.
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The evening was also marked by several hilarious jabs at Carroll's quirks by former law firm partners.
"Hunter is incredibly thorough, precise, and meticulous. He's incredibly organized," said Martin Garcia, an attorney and shareholder in Matthews Eastmoore. "Some might say that he borders on neurotic sometimes but I would never say that because you're a judge now."
The audience, including Carroll, erupted in laughter.
As an example of his organizational habits, Garcia lifted a heavy notebook Carroll had given him for a pending case before leaving the firm. On the front was a sheet of paper highlighted in different colors.
"The fifth supplement is in orange, but then you went down to the 10th supplement, and that's in orange but it also has intervals of bolded pink," Garcia said as the crowd laughed. "Then you go to the 16th supplement that's in orange, but that has dots!"
Attorney Lamar Matthews Jr. served as master of ceremonies and spoke of the importance of bringing in new blood to the court.
After the ceremony, a beaming Carroll was surrounded by family and friends eager to embrace and congratulate him.
"I'm very overwhelmed but very humbled by this opportunity and certainly am looking forward to trying to serve the citizens as best as I can and working very hard to do the right thing and be very fair and impartial," he said.
In October, Gov. Rick Scott appointed Carroll to fill the vacancy left by a retiring judge.
Carroll's wife, Jessica Carroll, said she couldn't be happier for him.
"This is something he's wanted to do since he was in the ninth grade and participated in teen court at Sarasota High School," she said. "I'm just thrilled for him that he's fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming a circuit judge."
Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter@AmarisCastillo.