Judge Lisa Porter has been a part of the Florida Justice System for over 20 years and was previously profiled by SFGN in 2012 for her marriage to her partner of 25 years, Patricia Windowmaker, deputy general counsel to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.
Starting her career as a felony prosecutor, Porter advanced rapidly through the ranks of the state’s prosecutorial hierarchy holding both local and statewide positions across Florida before being appointed to the 17th Judicial Circuit (Broward County) in 2008 by then Governor Charlie Crist.
With boatloads of judicial achievements, it’s difficult to sum up Porter’s work in such a short space. However, there are certain standout aspects of her career, which are more than noteworthy: as a prosecutor she developed a specialty in environmental crimes like wetlands violations and commercial dumping. She successfully prosecuted the director of the City of Crystal River’s waste water plant in Citrus County for failing to report to state authorities that his facility couldn’t handle the influx of wastewater, resulting in its discharge to King's Bay and contributing to harmful algal blooms endangering the bay’s dense population of manatee and other wildlife. The necessary new plant, not surprisingly, was quickly built after the director’s conviction.
As a judge she’s made it a matter of priority to ensure the justice system operates with “surgical” efficiency. She actively manages hundreds of cases at any given time (741 at the time of interview) pushing prosecutors and defense attorneys to reach agreement when a case has an imminent outcome (like those with confessions or, conversely, a lack of evidence) and moving along cases with less clarity to trial for a jury to determine the outcome. Ensuring fairness for all parties involved is paramount to Porter and her approach to her work on the bench.