1st elected Black female judge in Duval County commemorates 1st year in office with ceremony

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County Judge Rhonda Peoples-Waters commemorated her first year in office with a historic investiture ceremony Thursday.

Peoples Waters, a former legal analyst at News4JAX, is the first Black woman who got onto the bench in Duval County by election.

She says it took a lot of hard work to get there.

“I am here after 18 tries, so I got 17 noes before I got this yes on the 18th try, and many people know my story -- that I applied through the Judicial Nominating Commission for appointment 16 times and then I ran once and was unsuccessful,” she said. “So it’s just a story of determination and hard work and truly understanding your purpose.”

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Peoples-Waters considers herself a trailblazer for other African Americans looking to get into the legal profession.

“We know that diversity is important. We know that our community will respect the judiciary even more so and have confidence in it, when it is reflective of what the community looks like,” Peoples-Waters said.

She is a former attorney and assistant public defender.

During her campaign, she ran on her experience with criminal, civil and family law cases.

About the Author:

Joy Purdy co-anchors the 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts with Tarik Minor and the 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts with Kent Justice.