|Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit|
From: December 6, 2019 – present
|Successor||Incumbent (no successor)|
|Former Justice of the Supreme Court of Florida|
From: January 9, 2019 – December 6, 2019
|Predecessor||Richard Fred Lewis|
|Successor||John D. Couriel|
|Former Chief Judge of the Florida 3rd District Court of Appeal|
From: January 1, 2019 – January 8, 2019
|Former Judge of the Florida 3rd District Court of Appeal|
From: June 2006 – January 9, 2019
Barbara Lagoa (born November 2, 1967 (age 53)) is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and reportedly one of two leading contenders for President Trump's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Judge Lagoa wrote 424 decisions as a Florida appellate judge, as appointed to that position by then-Governor Jeb Bush. Her academic credentials are weaker than other U.S. Supreme Court nominees and candidates, as Lagoa graduated apparently without honors from Columbia Law School.
Prior to becoming a judge, Lagoa served as pro bono counsel in 2000 to the lawful effort to prevent the return of young Elián González back to communist Cuba. However, some conservatives fear she may be moderate on a few issues, namely abortion. She has apparently never published an opinion or article using the terms "unborn" or "pro-life".
Liberals favor the nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court of Lagoa rather than Amy Barrett, and only 15 Democrats voted against Lagoa's nomination to the Eleventh Circuit. The liberal media quickly began running glowing stories about Lagoa to boost her chances.
The bulk of Judge Lagoa's opinions were as an appellate judge in Florida. Among roughly 450 decisions she wrote from that bench, only one was related to abortion. In that case the estate of a victim of an abortion sued a cruise liner which did not perform the abortion. In a decision from which it is virtually impossible to infer her views about legalized abortion, Judge Lagoa held in part for the shipowner, and in part for the estate of the victim. See Flueras v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., 69 So. 3d 1101 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2011).
Judge Lagoa has dissented in less than 1% of her cases, and has only 10 published dissents in her entire judicial career. This is in contrast with Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who dissented so much that he was nicknamed the "Lone Ranger."
Judge Lagoa's ten dissents are on a variety of issues, but one notable one was one against judicial supremacy by a trial court in holding an attorney in criminal contempt. Judge Lagoa strongly objected:
|“|| "[T]he power to adjudge anyone with contempt is always to be exercised with care and circumspection." State v. Clemmons, 150 So. 2d 231, 234 (Fla. 1963).
[J]udges should approach the possible exercise of this unique power with the same hesitant caution and wariness one would use in picking up a glowing ember. It must be used only rarely and with circumspection. The provocation must never be slight, doubtful, or of shifting interpretations. The occasion should be real and necessary, not murky, and not ameliorated in some less formal manner.
Woods, 987 So. 2d at 676 (quoting Schenck v. State, 645 So. 2d 71, 74 (Fla. 4th DCA 1994) (citations omitted)). Here, the requisite proof required for direct criminal contempt is sorely lacking. Because the record fails to support a finding of direct criminal contempt on both charged offenses, I would grant the petition for writ of habeas corpus, and remand with directions to the trial court to vacate the judgment and sentence for direct criminal contempt.
Michaels v. Loftus, 139 So. 3d 324, 336 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2014 Lagoa, J., dissenting).
Ruling against broad felon voting
While a Florida appellate judge, Lagoa reversed a disorderly conduct conviction in an impressive stand for free speech and against the government-is-always-right mindset of many, while quoting humorous politically incorrect testimony by the defendant:
|“|| [Defendant] Fields then testified that he was outside the Washington Mutual Bank speaking on the phone with a business associate when he noticed Officer Jackson with his weapon drawn. Upon seeing Officer Jackson, Fields stated, "And what the f-- you're going to do with that gun?" Fields testified that Officer Jackson struck him repeatedly and that he told the officer, "man, you hit like a b--h," and "my mama hit harder than that." Fields also said, "You must come from a line of b--s because you got nothing." This exchange continued until the back-up officers arrived at the scene and arrested Fields. The defense rested and renewed its motion for judgment of acquittal, which the trial court denied. ...
Fields' behavior of yelling into his phone and using profanity did not constitute "fighting words" or incite the crowd to action. Simply put, there was no evidence that the crowd gathered out of any purpose other than curiosity or to observe Fields' behavior.
Because the State's evidence was insufficient to support Fields' conviction for disorderly conduct, we reverse the conviction.
Fields v. State, 24 So. 3d 646, 647-49 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2009).
Judge Lagoa ruled against the City of Miami in an unwanted designation of a church as a local historical site, which typically harms the value of the property and impedes its uses. City of Miami v. Diocese of Newton Melkite Church, 176 So. 3d 388 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2015) (denying a petition by the city on procedural grounds).
Judge Lagoa reversed a life sentence when a jury had incorrectly concluded that the defendant had used a deadly weapon in a murder:
|“|| Because the State presented no substantive evidence that Castillo used or had personal possession of a deadly weapon, i.e., a stick, during the commission of the crime, we find that the trial court erred in reclassifying Castillo's conviction from a felony of the first degree to a life felony pursuant to section 775.087(1)(a). Accordingly, we affirm Castillo's conviction, but reverse his sentence and remand for resentencing without reclassification under section 775.087(1). Castillo shall be present at the resentencing.
Affirmed in part; reversed in part and remanded for resentencing.
Castillo v. State, 217 So. 3d 1110, 1115 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2017)
As a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, Judge Lagoa dissented from a panel decision awarding a forfeiture to the government:
|“||I respectfully disagree, however, with the majority's discussion in Parts III(C) and IV of the opinion. The government has not yet sought substitute asset forfeiture. Similarly, the district court has not yet made the factual findings for it to conclude whether or not the forfeiture amount is excessive under the Eighth Amendment. Because it is premature for this Court to reach either of those issues on this appeal, I respectfully dissent from those portions of the majority opinion.||”|
United States v. Hatum, 969 F.3d 1156 (11th Cir. 2020) (Lagoa, J., dissenting).
- Trump's Supreme Court court pick likely to be Amy Coney Barrett or Barbara Lagoa: reports https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trumps-supreme-court-court-pick-likely-to-be-amy-coney-barrett-or-barbara-lagoa-reports Fox News. Retrieved September 20th, 2020.