Miami, Dec 22 – Florida Governor Ron Desantis announced the appointment of Judge Jared Smith to fill one of the three vacancies on an appeals court, a magistrate who lost his re-election last August and was criticized after a ruling in 2021 in which it rejected the request of a teenager to abort without the permission of their parents.

Republican DeSantis chose Smith, a former Hillsborough circuit judge (on the west coast of Florida), and two other justices, to the newly created Court of Appeals for the Sixth District, based in the city of Lakeland, in the center of the state

Smith denied a 17-year-old Hillsborough County girl’s request to agree to a termination of pregnancy without her parent’s permission, arguing that the girl “was not mature enough to make that decision.”

However, an appeals court overturned Smith’s ruling, drawing national media attention.

Smith’s decision made him a target of criticism from reproductive rights advocates, and last August the justice lost re-election to his opponent, Nancy Jacobs, a Tampa family and criminal attorney, who collected local media like WLRN.

The press release from the governor’s office notes that Smith, also an attorney, has served as a judge on the 13th Judicial Circuit Court since September 2019, after Governor DeSantis’ appointment of him.

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