Irene Sullivan, author of Raised by the Courts: One Judge's Insight into Juvenile Justice, serves as an elected Circuit Court Judge in the Unified Family Court, handling juvenile delinquency, dependency and domestic violence cases. She is a nationally-recognized speaker on youth development, juvenile justice and truancy matters and is an advisor to the Florida government as a gubernatorial-appointed member of the Blueprint Commission on Juvenile Justice Reform.
Judge Sullivan serves as vice president of the National Truancy Prevention Association and is a member of a statewide taskforce on Disproportionate Minority Contact. She serves on advisory boards of Stetson University College of Law, the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County, the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida, Inc., and PACE Center for Girls. She is advising the MacArthur Foundation on a project to improve public defenders' representation of juveniles in court.
The recipient of the St. Petersburg Bar Association Judicial Appreciation Award, the Ben C. Willard Award from Stetson University College of Law and the Children's Justice Award from the Salvation Army, Irene is a frequent speaker at national, regional and state-based conferences, guest lectures at universities and colleges of law, and addresses non-profit organizations on their role in child, family and youth justice matters.
Judge Sullivan presides over specialty courts such as Girls Mission Possible and Truancy Court. As special projects director for her juvenile court, she is involved in finding alternatives to incarceration and mental health treatment for the children and youth in her court. She's received radio, television and newspaper coverage for her work on diversion policy and positive, cost-beneficial program initiatives. Judge Sullivan has been an adjunct professor of law at Stetson University College of Law and is working to establish a juvenile justice clinic at the law school.
A trial lawyer for twenty-two years before her election as judge, Irene Sullivan was born in Detroit, obtained her journalism degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and her law degree from Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida. She has three children, five grandchildren, a loving golden retriever and three rescued cats.