Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Melissa Olin: The Third Circuit's Newest Judge          A Woman Who is Ready for the Hard Work Ahead

Retired Circuit Ct. Judge Thomas Kennon, Jr., administers the oath to Melissa Olin as husband James holds the bible just presented to her by Judge Leandra Johnson.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – On Friday afternoon, Melissa Olin was sworn in as a Circuit Court Judge in the Third Judicial Circuit of Florida. Ms. Olin, 48, a former Assistant State Attorney and a UF graduate, continues the generational shift begun with the election of Judge Wesley Douglas and continued with the elections of Judge Mark Feagle and Dixie County County Court Judge Jennifer J. Johnson.


As the event got underway, Ms. Olin watches the parade of Third Circuit Judges into the jury box with husband James.




Courtroom one was packed to the rafters for Ms. Olin's investiture. At the lectern, master of ceremonies, retired third circuit legend, Judge Vernon Douglas.                 ++ click to enlarge

Chief Judge Wesley Douglas (left) introduced his father, Judge Vernon Douglas, who remarked that he is now known as the "judge's father."

The jury box was filled with third circuit judges.

The highly regarded Judge Leandra "Lilly" Johnson presented Ms. Olin with a bible. In a light moment Judge Johnson joked that she was glad there was another woman judge in the court and she would now have someone to give her lipstick to besides Judge Fina.

Retired Circuit Ct. Judge Thomas Kennon, Jr., administers the oath to Melissa Olin, who has her hand on the bible just presented by Judge Johnson. Husband James looks on.

Judge Olin gets a big smile from husband James and everyone else.

Veteran Circuit Judge David Fina presents Judge Olin with her gavel, with advise when to use it.

Long time friend, Circuit Court Judge Mark Feagle, presented Judge Olin with her name plate.












Taylor County Circuit Court Judge and Navy veteran Gregory Parker presented Judge Olin with a copy of the Judicial Code of Conduct, along with friendly words of wisdom.

Circuit Court Judge Paul Bryan gave the benediction with Judge Olin's family standing by.


Early in the campaign, then candidate Olin told your reporter that Judge Johnson was a role model for her. That should serve Judge Olin well in her coming career, which will now be filled with long days and nights burning the midnight law oil.

Columbia County, in its small slice of America, showed that at least this time, a judicial candidate can go through the process without ill will, acrimony, fantasy, controversy, and the talk of beer.

Columbia County got this right and another woman on the court is an exceedingly good thing.

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