Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson
Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson was elected to serve as Leon County Judge in November 2008, then re-elected without opposition in May 2014 for a six-year term. She presides over both criminal and civil matters, and as acting circuit judge presiding over Felony Drug Court.
Judge Ashenafi Richardson is a 1991 graduate of the Florida State University College of Law. She began her legal career at the Anti-Trust Section of the Attorney General’s Office, then at the Tallahassee law office of Fowler, White, Gillen, Boggs, Villareal & Banker, P.A. She then served eighteen years as in-house counsel with the Florida Education Association (FEA), representing university faculty and K-12 educators around the State before taking the bench.
Hard work and community service are hallmarks of Judge Ashenafi Richardson’s life. She was the first African-American president of the Tallahassee Women Lawyers and the Tallahassee Bar Association. She is also the first elected Ethiopian-American judge in the United States. Since taking the bench, she has been appointed to serve on statewide committees intended to improve access to the courts for all people, improve the judicial education of judge’s around the state, and promote ethical conduct by members of the judiciary. Some of those appointments include serving on the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, the Judicial Management Council, the Florida Court Education Council, the Mediation Training Review Board, and the Commission on Access to Civil Justice subcommittee. She annually teaches at three judges conferences around the State, including Advanced Judicial College and the Conference of County Court Judges.
She and her husband, City Commissioner Curtis Richardson, strive to instill their core values of altruism, public service and making a difference in the community. As a result of her leadership with the bench and bar, and community involvement, Judge Ashenafi Richardson has received numerous awards and recognitions over her career, including the following: Distinguished Leadership Award, 2016 Conference of County Court Judges of Florida; Martha Barnett Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, 2016 Tallahassee Bar Association, Humanitarian Award, 2014 Martin Luther King Foundation of Florida, Inc.; Trail Blazer and Pioneer, 2013 Tallahassee Barrister’s Association; Woman of Distinction, 2011 Girl Scouts; President’s Volunteer Service Award, 2007 Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism; Pace Setter Award, 2006 Leadership Tallahassee; Honoree, Women Change America, 2005 Tallahassee Community College; Distinguished Leadership Award, 2005 Leadership Tallahassee; The Florida Bar President’s Pro-Bono Service Award, Second Judicial Circuit, 2001; Most Outstanding Young Lawyer, Young Lawyers Division, 1998 The Florida Bar.