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“He opened the door.” Florida Florida Supreme Court Judge Joseph Josef Hatchet dies at 88

When in 1960 Joseph ozef V. Hatchet took part in a Florida bar exam, and Jim could not stay at the Miami Hotel where the test took place because of Jim Crow’s policy.

In 15 years, Hatchett would become the first African-American to serve on the Florida Supreme Court.

Former Florida Supreme Court Judge Hatchett died in Tallahassee on Friday, April 30, Florida Supreme Court Justice Craig Waters said Saturday morning. Hathet was 88 years old when he became a state in 1845, and the 65th Florida Justice.

In 1975, Governor Rubin Asku appointed Hatchet to the Florida Supreme Court. In 1979, President Arter Amy Carter appointed him to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the United States, where, according to the Florida Supreme Court, “he became the first African-American to serve in a federal district that then included the Far South.”

Twenty years later, in 1999. After retiring, Hatchett took on another challenge when she joined the NAACP as a key advocate for the maintenance of minority’s women-preferred state programs in Florida.

“This must continue to ensure that all Florida residents have an equal chance of success. This is a positive step,” Hatchet told the Miami Herald at the time.

Doors of opportunity

He suffered the humiliation earlier during his bar exam at a hotel in Miami. Hatchett was adamant that other promising law students could not just dine in the same dining room as their white counterparts one day, warning him not to take the exam, but that they too might one day rise. as he had.

“I can remember when I became a young lawyer, he pulled me aside and told me that basically what other people thought about my dreams was not my job,” said HT, Founding Director of the Florida Probation Program. Smith. International University Law College.

“His whole philosophy was that in the 1960s and ’70s in Florida, a group of SB attorneys had a responsibility to open the repository of opportunities for the people behind us,” Smith said.

“For example, when Justice Hatchet took over the Florida bar, he could not stay in the hotel where the exam was being held. So that’s all before I came Me: “He could have stayed at the hotel where Bar Exxonville had a bar exam,” Smith said. “His whole task was, ‘Let’s look at where the opportunity vaults are և let’s do our job by deliberately opening the opportunity vaults ելու to take the hinges out the door.’

After teaching Hatchett, Smith became the first African-American ombudsman in Miami, the first African-American’s lawyer. When Smith went into private practice, he was the head of the first practice law firm in downtown Miami.

Many Miami legal advocates in the Miami legal community still feel like “fish out of the water.”

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“For the most part, I was the first ombudsman because “Justice Hatchet,” Smith said. “It was not Hatchet Justice at the time, but Joe Hatchett’s lawyer who talked about how we focus on opportunities. There are many jobs in the Public Defender’s staff. Now there can be 40, 50, 100 jobs. “And with that in mind, when I left, I went to the District Attorney’s Office as the first black lawyer there. Every time I left, I followed Judge Hatchett’s advice, making sure I would not leave until there was more than one.”

Born in Florida, legal career

Former Florida Supreme Court Judge Joseph Joseph H. Hatchett was the first African-American to serve on the Florida Supreme Court when he was appointed by Governor Rubin Asku in 1975.

Former Florida Supreme Court Judge Joseph Joseph H. Hatchett was the first African-American to appear in the Florida Supreme Court when he was appointed by Governor Rubin Asku in 1975.

Born in Clearwater, Florida in 1932. On September 17, Hatchett graduated from A&M University in Florida in 1954. He served in the US Army as a second lieutenant in 1956. Admitted to Howard University Law School. Reception 1959

Hatchett first practiced privately at Daytona Beach, where he practiced criminal, civil, administrative, and civil law in state and federal courts.

In 1966, Hatchett was appointed United States Attorney for Central Florida, and in 1967, he was appointed First Assistant Attorney General for the United States. In 1971, he was awarded a Master’s Degree in Central Florida, USA.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled in his obituary that in 1976, when Hatchett was defending his seat on the state Supreme Court, he became the first African-American to win a contested election in the state of Florida in the twentieth century. “It was the last contested election to the Florida Supreme Court before the constitutional reform shifted the state’s appellate judges to an unquestionably worthy electoral system.”

“Crossover Appeal”

“Judge Hatchett was such a fair man who had what we call a ‘crossover appeal,'” Smith said. “That’s why he was able to be the first SS man to win the state race. The people who came in contact with Hetchett, white, young, old, in North Florida, in South Florida, were not only impressed by his brilliant thinking, but also impressed that he had a level head. with an open heart, even with a hand. “

When he retired from the bench in 1999 and returned to Tallahassee’s private practice, the Miami Herald editorial staff expressed the opinion: The mother worked as a maid and the father as a fruit picker. “Judge Hatchett’s rise to prominence in a time of rapid social change reminds us of what talented people can achieve if given a fair chance.”

Others took Hatchet back to the Florida Supreme Court, including Judges Leander Shaw Jr. and Peggy Ann Queens. Smith does not want the lawyers of the Constitutional Court to forget that today.

“It simply came to our notice then. Here comes the Justice Show after him հետո After the show, Peggy Queens. His legacy was that he, taught by the black lawyers who followed him, had to open the repositories of opportunities in every sphere of legal activity. Public practice from private practice, federal, state. “So all of us, most of us lawyers now, are from the Hatchet family,” Smith said.

“By the way, many BC lawyers do not know that,” Smith added. “You know how people try to find out where their family came from – things like that. Well, many SC lawyers should do the same when they hear about Judge Hatchet’s death. There will be many of them shocked to know that Yes, you are smart Yes, you have worked hard. But why you were successful, where you are today, some of it comes back to Hatchet. ”

Survivors և Services

Survivors of Hatchett include her children, Cheryl Clark and Brenda Hatchett. eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Betty Hatchet.

Services are waiting for details to be posted on the Florida Supreme Court website when they are available at

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