DEGREES: Florida State University, B.A., Criminology, 1975; Florida State University College of Law, J.D., 1978.
Judge W. Matthew Stevenson served with distinction on the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal from 1994 - 2016. He was the first African-American judge to serve in that position. In May of 2016, Judge Stevenson took senior status and now serves as a Senior Judge in the State of Florida, eligible to sit by assignment in any District Court of Appeal, Circuit or County Court in the State of Florida. Prior to his elevation to the court of appeals, he served as a Circuit Court Judge in Palm Beach County from 1989 to 1994. His legal career prior to the bench included a judicial clerkship with the Honorable Justice Joseph Hatchett on the Supreme Court of Florida and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit; service a commissioned officer in the United States Navy JAG Corps; and service as a certified circuit court mediator with Mediation, Inc.
While on the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Judge Stevenson frequently invited youth groups to the court to hear actual cases and visit with the panel of judges afterwards. He was the first judge of the court to organize an outreach program where the panel of judges visited Palm Beach Lakes Community High School and held an actual appellate court session there with real cases and real lawyers. He also tirelessly advocated for increased minority hiring at the court of appeal, and during his tenure, the first black deputy marshal was hired as well as several black deputy clerks in the Clerk’s office.
Off the bench, Judge Stevenson serves on the Board of Trustees at Palm Beach Atlantic University where he is a member and former chair of the Student Development Committee. In his position on the board, Judge Stevenson has also advocated for increased diversity in student enrollment and student financial aid distribution.
In his spare time, Judge Stevenson devotes countless hours to the youth boxing programs sponsored by USA Boxing. For his efforts with youth boxing Judge Stevenson has received local and national awards and recognition.
Judge Stevenson is member of various Prince Hall affiliated masonic groups in West Palm Beach including the Pride of Palm Beach Lodge # 447, Samuel T. Brady Consistory # 312 and Masud Temple # 69. Judge Stevenson attends Tabernacle Church in West Palm Beach. He is a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.
Judge Brunson graduated from the Florida State University College of Law in December of 1974, where she was the first black female student to graduate from the law school. She was admitted to practice law in Florida on May 22, 1975. After starting her career as an Assistant Public Defender and attorney for the State Retirement Commission, Judge Brunson moved to Palm Beach County in June of 1976 and began working at the Law Offices of Thomas Montgomery.
In 1977, she became the first black attorney hired by the Palm Beach County Attorney’s Office. Thereafter, in February of 1984, she became the first black female attorney to open a private practice in Palm Beach County. On August 10, 1994, she became the first black female to be appointed as a Circuit Court Judge in Palm Beach County.