Justice Barbara J. Pariente Enters Florida Women’s Hall of Fame
In a late afternoon ceremony on the Capitol Courtyard on March 11, Florida Governor Charlie Crist honored Justice Barbara J. Pariente as one of the three newest members to the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame. Justice Pariente joined Dr. Pallavi Patel, Tampa pediatrician, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, 18th District Congresswoman of Florida, as the three 2007-08 inductees named by the Florida Commission on the Status of Women. Justice Pariente joins Justice Rosemary Barkett and Justice Peggy Quince who entered the Hall of Fame in 1986 and 2007 respectively.
Justice Pariente thanked Governor Crist for the honor of being selected, saying, “I have received other awards in my lifetime, but this is the Academy Award of awards.” She continued by discussing her work, leading to this moment in time, indicating that her involvement with many high profile cases has been very significant.
Celebrated for her keen attention to family issues in her work, Justice Pariente concluded by saying, “I am convinced that some of the most complex and challenging cases in which we can make a difference are those involving children and families. So, I am very proud to be recognized for my constant advocacy for children in need who end up entangled in the legal system, because I subscribe to the notion that 100 years from now it will not make a difference what our bank account was or how many honors and awards we received but that the world will be better because we made a difference in the lives of children.”
Justice Pariente, of West Palm Beach and Tallahassee, is only the second woman to serve on Florida’s Supreme Court and as its Chief Justice from 2004-2006. Throughout a legal career begun in 1975, she has shown a passionate commitment to improving the lives of women, children, and families in Florida, especially those whose disadvantages in life have brought them into courts.
Since her appointment to the Court in 1997, she has championed drug courts, Florida’s nationally praised program to rehabilitate people who commit minor crimes because of substance abuse, rather than imposing the more expensive and less successful alternative of jail. She has been a driving force behind Florida’s Unified Family Courts, a judicial approach to help ensure that each family’s legal problems are managed comprehensively by a single judge or team.
In her career, Pariente has mentored school-age children, has encouraged mentoring programs, and has worked directly to help juvenile offenders. In 2003, she turned a personal tragedy – breast cancer – into a public victory by sharing her successful treatment with Florida and national media. During this period, she never missed a court hearing, even appearing wigless in cases that were widely broadcast. Pariente graduated fifth in her law school class at George Washington University in 1973 and immediately began a successful twenty-year legal career, first as a Florida federal district court law clerk, then as one of South Florida’s pioneering women trial attorneys. She is married to Judge Fred A. Hazouri of Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal and is a mother and grandmother.
Visit us at www.spatzlawfirm.com