FL Supreme Court announces ceremony for the late Joseph Hatchett, its first Black justice

Joseph Hatchett, then a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, is shown with Reubin Askew in a photo dated May 2, 1990. Credit: State Library and Archives of Florida

The body of Joseph Hatchett, the first Black justice of the Florida Supreme Court, will lie in state in the court’s rotunda on Friday.

The court announced plans for the ceremony on Tuesday and said Chief Justice Charles Canady will preside.

Hatchett, appointed by Gov. Reubin Askew, died on Friday at 88.

He served until 1976, when former President Jimmy Carter placed him on the federal appellate bench.

The ceremony, running from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., will be livestreamed on the court’s YouTube and Facebook pages and from its website.

Funeral services are set for 11 a.m. on Saturday at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee, with burial to follow on Monday in Dunedin.

“Born during the days of segregation, Hatchett grew up in Clearwater, and attended Pinellas High School. He took the Florida Bar Exam in 1959 at a time when black examinees could not stay in the hotel where the test was administered because of segregation regulations still in effect,” the court said in a press release.

Additional information and updates are available at https://www.floridasupremecourt.org/.

Michael Moline
Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal. He began his career covering the Florida Capitol for United Press International. More recently, he wrote for Florida Politics.