BY JAMES HARPER
Judge Hubert Grimes was the first Black elected as a Volusia County judge and is the only Black currently serving in the Seventh Judicial Circuit.
Grimes, who announced his retirement this week, says he has done what he came to do.
“Now I feel like it’s time for me to move on and pursue some other dreams while I am still young enough to do so,” said Grimes, whose retirement is effective Jan. 30, 2014.
He hinted that in the next chapter of his life he hopes to be an advocate for young people and the court system.
“I’m not leaving on a sour note by any stretch of the imagination. No one is forcing me out. I have enjoyed my work and the people I have worked with have been phenomenal. But, for me, there are other battles to fight, other assignments to pursue, and other dreams to fulfill, while I am young enough to do so,” Grimes noted.
Grimes was elected to the bench in 1988, winning a seat as Volusia County Court Judge.
After serving 11 years in county court, he was appointed to the circuit bench in 1999.
Grimes said he is proud of his role as a trailblazer for the local court system.
“It hadn’t been done before and there were some people who tried to dissuade me from running (for county judge). They thought it was futile,” he said.
“But with faith in God, encouragement from family and friends, along with the support of the voting public, I accomplished my dream,” he continued.
“I was excited to undertake the challenge. I thought I could make a contribution to the judiciary and hopefully open a door for other persons of color to pursue their dreams.”
Advocate for youth
Grimes said working with young people has been a constant passion of his.
“I have tried to guide them and inspire them to avoid the pitfalls of trouble and to fulfill their dreams,” he said.
Grimes presided over juvenile delinquency, juvenile dependency, dependency drug court and family court cases. He currently hears family court cases at the Volusia County Courthouse in DeLand.
Before becoming a judge, he received his undergraduate degree from Kentucky State University and a law degree from the University of Georgia. He worked as an attorney for Central Florida Legal Services and worked for Central Florida Community Development Corp. He also had his own private law practice.
Author, professor too
During his 25-year career, Grimes has handled more than 100,000 cases.
He says he is particularly proud of his work with juveniles. He authored the book, “How to Keep Your Child from Going to Jail,” in 2010 to encapsulate his insights and ideas for parents.
Grimes also works as an adjunct law professor at the Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando as a part of its Academic Success and Bar Preparation program.
Chief Circuit Judge Terence R. Perkins calls Grimes one of the circuit’s most experienced judges.
“He is best known for his keen intellect, compassion and sense of humor. He has positively influenced so many lives in our community and his kindness and quiet competence will be missed by his colleagues, the attorneys that appeared before him and the members of our community he served,” Perkins remarked.
Position already posted
Applications are being accepted to replace Grimes. An applicant must be a member of the Florida Bar for the past five years, be a registered voter; and live in Volusia, Flagler, St. Johns or Putnam County by the time she or he assumes office.
The applications are due by Nov. 8 at 5 p.m. Interviews are tentatively set for the week of Dec. 2 beginning at 9 a.m. at a location to be determined.
The Judicial Nominating Commission will select finalists and send the list to Gov. Rick Scott, who will select the replacement. The position pays $146,079.