Justice Stephen Grimes Biography, Wiki, Death, Cause Of Death & More | Who Was Florida Supreme Court Justice Stephen Grimes?

Who was Stephen Grimes?

Justice Stephen Grimes, November 17, 1927 – September 10, 2021, was an American lawyer and jurist. He served as a justice of the Florida Supreme Court from 1987 to 1996, including as Chief Justice from 1994 until 1996.

Florida Supreme Court Justice Stephen Grimes Dies at 93

Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Stephen Grimes passed away at 93. He was the 72nd justice to serve on Florida’s high court since Florida’s statehood. Grimes served from 1987 to 1997 and served as Chief Justice from 1994 to 1996.

Grimes was appointed by Florida Gov. Bob Martinez after a long career as a lawyer with Holland & Knight in Bartow, Fla. After his Supreme Court retirement in 1997, Grimes returned to Holland & Knight to continue practicing law.

“Obviously, he was a significant presence in our office,” said Shannon Hartsfield, Executive Partner of Holland & Knight’s Tallahassee office. “He was a brilliant lawyer. He always took the time to mentor younger lawyers, and he was just definitely somebody that we all looked up to, and we were extremely fortunate to be able to practice with someone of his caliber.”

rimes served on the Florida Supreme Court during the dawn of the digital age and the internet and authorized the Supreme Court to launch a website, with Florida becoming one of the first state supreme courts to have an online presence.

“Like so many judges at the time, he didn’t really understand what the internet was,” Waters said. “So I went in to talk to him and to explain to him that this was a whole new medium, much like TV and radio were media, and he agreed with that assessment and authorized the creation of the website. None of that would have been impossible if he had not authorized it.”

Justice Stephen Grimes Biography

Justice Stephen Grimes was born in Peoria, Illinois, the son of Henry H. and June K. Grimes. He received his Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Florida in 1950 and his LL.B. from the University of Florida Law School in 1954 with honors.

At UF Grimes was president of Alpha Tau Omega. He was a member of Florida Blue Key, Phi Delta Phi legal honor society, and the Order of the Coif and served as editor-in-chief of the Florida Law Review.

His judicial career began in 1973 when he was appointed to the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Lakeland by Florida Gov. Reuben Askew and served as chief judge from 1978 to 1980.

Grimes had a desire to serve the United States during WWII, but his day of enlistment came on the exact same day as Japan’s surrender. Subsequently, he joined the U.S. Naval Reserve and was called to duty during the Korean War.

He was a native of Peoria, Ill. and was a graduate of the University of Florida where he received his bachelor’s and a law degree.

Grimes married his wife, Fay Fulghum, of Lakeland while still in college, and when he was on leave during the Korean War. Together they had four daughters Gay, Mary June, Sue, and Sheri.

Full NameStephen Henry “Steve” Grimes
BornNovember 17, 1927
Peoria, Illinois
DiedSeptember 10, 2021 (aged 93)
Tallahassee, Florida
Spouse(s)Fay Fulghum

Justice Stephen Grimes Career

Justice Stephen Grimes served in the U.S. Navy from 1951–1953 before moving to Bartow, Florida, and joining the law firm of Holland & Knight. He became the head of the firm’s litigation department. Grimes served as president of the Tenth Judicial Circuit Bar Association in 1966 and became a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers in 1971.

Grimes was appointed to the Florida Second District Court of Appeal in October 1973, serving as chief judge from 1978–1980. Grimes was the chair of the Florida Conference of District Court of Appeal Judges from 1978–80 and was also a member of the Florida Supreme Court Appellate Structure Commission, the Florida Supreme Court Article V Review Commission, the Florida Council on Criminal Justice, and the Florida Bar Tort Litigation Review Commission.

In addition, Grimes has served as vice-chair of the Florida Appellate Rules Committee, and the Florida Supreme Court Committee on Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases, serving as chair for two years. Grimes was also a member of the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission from 1983–86 and was its vice-chair for two years. He chaired the Judicial Council of Florida from 1989–1994.

Florida Governor Bob Martinez appointed Grimes to the Florida Supreme Court on January 30, 1987. He became Chair of the Article V Task Force in 1994 and served as a faculty member of the Florida Judicial College. Grimes was selected by the court as Chief Justice on April 21, 1994, serving until May 31, 1996, when he left the court due to mandatory retirement provisions in the Florida Constitution. After leaving the court he returned to Holland & Knight.

Justice Stephen Grimes’s Life Outside Law

Justice Stephen Grimes served as president of the Greater Bartow Chamber of Commerce in 1964. He has also served on the boards of the Polk Public Museum, the Bartow Memorial Hospital, the Bartow Public Library, and the Polk County Law Library.

Grimes has also been the president of the Bartow Rotary Club, and he was the district governor of Rotary International from 1960–1961; he was a member of the Rotary Club of Tallahassee. Grimes served on the board of trustees for Polk Community College for three years and was chair in 1970.

Grimes was an active member of the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Bartow for over 30 years and was vice counsel of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida from 1971–1973.

Grimes married Faye Fulghum of Lakeland in 1951; they had four daughters (Gay, Mary June, Sue, and Sheri) and nine grandchildren.

Grimes taught as an adjunct instructor of criminal justice at Florida Southern College. In 1980 he received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Stetson University. He died on September 10, 2021.

Justice Stephen Grimes FAQ’s

Who was Justice Stephen Grimes?

Justice Stephen Grimes, November 17, 1927 – September 10, 2021, was an American lawyer and jurist. He served as a justice of the Florida Supreme Court from 1987 to 1996, including as Chief Justice from 1994 until 1996.

When did Justice Stephen Grimes die?

Justice Stephen Grimes died on September 10, 2021.


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