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Rick Scott appoints Valrico attorney to Hillsborough bench

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Florida Governor Rick Scott appointed Michael S. Williams to the Hillsborough County Court Wednesday. The 43-year old Valrico resident currently serves as Special Counsel to the Office of Statewide Prosecution.

In that capacity, Williams regularly works with state and federal prosecutors focusing on cases that the state describes as “complex, often large-scale organized criminal activity. The case load in the Office of Statewide Prosecution includes those cases that affect more than one circuit court district. The office falls under the purview of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Before working with the state, Williams practiced with the Bales & Weinstein law firm in Tampa. He’s also worked with the law firms of McLean & Cardillo and Fortunato & Harbison. He began his career as an Assistant State Attorney in 1997.

Williams earned his bachelor’s degree from Moravian College in Pennsylvania and his law degree from Villanova University.

Williams will replace Judge Kim Vance who was recently appointed to the 13th Circuit Court by Scott. She was previously appointed to the Hillsborough Court in 2014.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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