Judge Cory Ciklin

Published May 1995
by Thomas Hoadley

Ciklin, CoryMr. Ciklin ran a gas station in Connecticut. He decided to move his family to Palm Beach County in 1969. Cory was twelve years old. His two brothers, Alan and Blair, were several years older. Cory went to junior high school in Lantana, high school in Lake Worth. He enrolled at FSU in September 1974.

Relatively unhappy in college, he came back to his parents and said he was going to quit school. They said: “get back to FSU, and do your best!” Then followed what he described was the “best four years of my life.” He became the quintessential college politician. President of the Student Senate, Dormitory President, Chief Justice, Fraternity Vice President, Who’s Who, Deans List, Garnet, and Gold Key. With a double major in political science and communications, he graduated in 1978.

Then he had a setback. Even with his campus political honors, and a 3.5 GPA, he didn’t do well on the LSAT. FSU uncharitably told him if he did well at another law school (Cumberland) they might consider taking him back into the FSU law school. This brought Cory back to reality. He ended up in the top 20% of his Cumberland class, and got the highest grade in torts. FSU then accepted him into their law school. He graduated from law school in 1981.

Then he took an interesting turn. He became the attorney for the Florida Sheriff’s Youth Fund, a group that operates four residential homes for disadvantaged youths.

Two years later, he joined his brother, Alan Ciklin’s law firm. From 1983 to 1991, he did mostly general practice, but didn’t like it except the trials. Oh yes, there was one other thing he liked at work. Richard Martens’ paralegal, Kimberly. They fell in love, got married, and now there is a 3 year old daughter, Madison.

He was coming to the point where he was “tired of the rat race.” He had become a college instructor at PBJC, was in the First Traffic Magistrate Program, and ran for a position on the Jupiter Inlet Commission, defeating an incumbent.

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He made the quantum leap into the position of Assistant County Attorney. As head of litigation, there were cases involving contracts, wrongful death, negligence, civil rights, property damage, mortgage foreclosure, workers’ compensation, and zoning. He focused on one area that has caused and is causing great concern in County Government. This is the issue of the exploding cost of hiring private criminal defense lawyers to represent indigents in a conflict with co-defendants represented by the Public Defender. According to a Sun Sentinel article on April 6, 1992, Palm Beach County residents, on average, paid twice as much as Broward County and more than four times as much as Dade County for capital cases defended by Court appointed attorneys. During this time, Cory Ciklin appeared to be the only person in the County Government that was questioning this procedure and trying to do something about it.

In 1994, he decided that he was qualified, and wanted to run for County Judge. He won last September’s election. He was a natural to become our newest County Judge, and started work on January 3. 1995.

As concerns the future, one is simply overwhelmed with Cory’s new ideas and procedures as to how to improve our civil and criminal justice system. Perhaps this article is not the place to pursue all of his intriguing and well thought out ideas of judicial reform. Reviewing Cory Ciklin’s applications to the Judicial Nominating Commission is an education in its self. It is a shame that such information is not more widely disseminated. There are well thought out and challenging ideas on cost containment, differentiated cases management, electronic linkage of law offices and the Court system, vision development process, Government spending, balancing the rights of a Defendant, Judges’ productivity, and alternative sentencing. In Cory Ciklin’s past record to become a Judge, he has more or less summarized his career as follows:

“It has been said that the most desirable judicial candidate will have had “broad life experiences.” I like to think, that at the age of 38, I have. I have been a Palm Beach County Traffic Magistrate, the Chairman of the Jupiter Inlet District, an Adjunct Professor of Political Science and Business Law at Palm Beach Community College, a Legal Intern at the Palm Beach County Legal Aid Society and a news reporter on WPBR Radio. All of these “life experiences” have helped mold me as a human being and have, I hope, made me a better person.”

It is fortunate that his parents told him in 1974 to “get back to FSU, and do your best.” He took that admonishment well.