Thomas S. Kirk Justice Center

In pursuit of a more efficient court system for our community, the Thomas S. Kirk Juvenile Justice Center recently expanded to accommodate not only juvenile, but non-juvenile cases as well. Given the variety of cases being heard at this courthouse, the Orange County Board of Commissioners approved a name change during last month’s board meeting; the facility is now known as the Thomas S. Kirk Justice Center. Chief Judge Lisa Munyon emphasized during the meeting that this change would “assist citizens in not being confused about where they’re going when they’re going to the Michigan Street Courthouse” as the Justice Center handles more than just juvenile proceedings. 

The Justice Center’s namesake, Judge Thomas S. Kirk, spent his entire judicial career advocating for children. Having spent 14 years on the bench handling juvenile cases, Judge Kirk held the sincere belief that, with a little guidance, each child could find their way toward a brighter future. Instrumental in establishing the Justice Center’s teen court program and serving faithfully on numerous judicial committees, Judge Kirk was described as “quite the advocate for our community” by Mayor Jerry Demings during last month’s meeting. In recognition of his impact on the lives of children and their families, the Juvenile Justice Center was dedicated in his honor in September 1996. 

With its new name and broader scope, the Thomas S. Kirk Justice Center continues in its tradition of enhancing court accessibility for the community. Two subdivisions of Probate, Guardianship, and Mental health are now housed at the Thomas S. Kirk Justice Center with Judges Heather Higbee and Mike Murphy presiding. The Family Court – Delinquency and Dependency division remains at the Justice Center with Judges Greg Tynan, Wayne Wooten, and Reginald Whitehead presiding.