Judge Robert F. Diaz was appointed to the bench in 1992 by Florida Governor Lawton Chiles. He currently serves in the misdemeanor criminal division. Judge Diaz’s demonstrated commitment to justice, integrity, and the community are invaluable assets to the 17th Judicial Circuit.
Judge Diaz is committed to providing a space in his courtroom in which litigants will be heard and access justice. His prior experience as one of two Hispanic, Spanish-speaking attorneys at the Public Defender’s office, instilled in him the need of litigants to be heard, and to be able to understand the proceedings in which they are involved.
Judge Diaz is of Cuban ancestry. As a Hispanic jurist, he has been committed to providing a “hand up” to other Hispanic lawyers and law students in the Broward County community. He hosts a yearly luncheon in which law students have the opportunity to network and speak with Hispanic lawyers. Judge Diaz takes great pride in being able to bring people together in this way to help young lawyers and future lawyers starting their careers.
He has also been a professor at Nova Southeastern University, where he teaches Street Law, a course in which law students have the opportunity to interact with high school kids interested in law. In addition, Judge Diaz mentors recent graduates who are studying for the Florida Bar through check-ins and encouragement.
Judge Diaz truly embodies professionalism and is well known in the community for providing a space for young lawyers and future lawyers to learn about careers in law, and the experiences of being Hispanic in law. His philosophy of providing young Hispanic lawyers with a hand up—to raise each other up and support each other—is evident in his commitment to justice and to bringing people together in the legal community.
We are proud to have Judge Diaz as one of our Hispanic jurists. His experience, knowledge, and commitment are commendable and highly regarded in the Florida legal community.
Aby Catalina Rodriguez is a government attorney. She attended university at Florida State University, and law school at Florida International University. Criminal law has always fascinated Ms. Rodriguez, and she thoroughly enjoys her work as a prosecutor.
While having a mother who was an attorney in Colombia sparked Ms. Rodriguez’s interest in becoming a lawyer, meeting a prosecutor during a career fair in elementary school drew her to criminal law. Ms. Rodriguez’s favorite part of being a lawyer is helping the community and victims of crime.
Ms. Rodriguez was born and in raised in Florida by Colombian parents. While her nuclear family lives in South Florida, her extended family remains in Colombia. She has visited her family in Colombia every year except for this one. Ms. Rodriguez enjoys eating Colombian food frequently, especially arepas and empanadas.
Growing up, Ms. Rodriguez spoke in Spanish with her family. That allowed her to become fluent in the language, something that has played a positive role in her career. In college, during an internship with the State Attorney’s Office, she served as an interpreter as witnesses were prepared for depositions and trials. In her current position, speaking Spanish has helped her better communicate with victims and ensure that interpreters are properly translating important information.
Animals have been a big part of Ms. Rodriguez’s life. She has had a variety of pets, including mice, turtles, fish and dogs. She has worked with the Facebook group Helping Lost Pets since college. Since that time, the group has reunited hundreds of pets with their owners. Additionally, she was the president of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund while in law school. The organization hosted events to discuss animal law and educate people regarding animals in captivity.
The Broward County Hispanic Bar Association is thrilled that Aby Catalina Rodriguez is one of its members!