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New Miami-Dade children's courthouse named after longtime juvenile judges

@PatriciaMazzei

The new Miami-Dade Children’s Courthouse under construction in downtown Miami will be christened after two longtime judges in the juvenile system.

County commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to name the courthouse after Judges Seymour Gelber and William E. Gladstone as recognition for their contributions to children in the community.

“It is very important that this courthouse be named after two people who have actually devoted their lives and career to children,” said Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman, who oversees the juvenile court. “We look up to these men.”

She told commissioners that children’s advocates, as well as Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle and Public Defender Carlos Martinez, supported the naming, which was sponsored by Commissioner Audrey Edmonson.

The 94-year-old Gelber was appointed to the circuit court bench in 1974. A former Miami Beach mayor who has written six books about juvenile court and the justice system, he served in the juvenile division until his mandatory retirement in 1990 at age 70. He still sits about an hour a week as a senior judge in the family and child support division.

The 83-year-old Gladstone was elected circuit court judge in 1972. He was appointed to the juvenile division, where he served for 32 years until he retired as senior judge in 2011. During his tenure, he expanded the Miami Safe Start Initiative to support babies and their mothers in dependency court, and he created the Last Chance Ranch facility for violent youths.

The Judge Seymour Gelber & Judge William E. Gladstone Miami-Dade Children’s Courthouse will be at 155 NW Third St.

Correction: Lederman used to oversee the juvenile court but no longer holds that title.

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