Published March 2004
by V. Lynn Whitfield
There are two judges in the Marx household, but they are very different indeed. One of the biggest differences can be seen on any weekend during college football season. Judge Joseph Marx is a triple Gator, high school, college and law school. While his wife, Judge Krista Marx is a double Seminole. Other than in sports, Judge Joseph Marx says he is not in competition with his wife. In fact, he considers it an asset to have another judge in the house. As a new judge you often have questions that you need to seek the advice of another judge about. This way he has someone whose opinion he trusts right there when needed.
There was never any doubt in his mind that he would attend college. That was something his parents drummed into him from birth. It was never if you were going to college, but where. Originally he wanted to be a professional athlete; however he lacked all athletic talent. So at the early age of twelve, Judge Marx decided that law was the career for him. He settled on trial work because it was the closest thing he could find that was similar in preparation and practice to sports. Instead of playing sports he became a big sports fan. He will watch anything. He even follows Gator’s Women’s Volleyball.
His desire for a judgeship was the result of practicing law year after year and deciding he wanted to influence people’s perception of the court system. Judge Marx has seen the court system from all three sides. He has been a litigator, criminal and civil; he has been a victim and now a judge. The three weeks that he spent sitting in the courtroom during the trial involving the murder of his first wife, Karen, were very difficult but which helped him see how important a role the judge plays in the courtroom experience of everyone there. That experience not only changed him as a lawyer, it influenced how he would be as a judge. Everyday when he goes to work his sole objective is to do the right thing morally and legally.
He realizes that for some people this will be their only experience with the system and how he handles his courtroom could influence what they tell their friends and family about the system as a whole. Judge Marx says that it is a lot harder than he anticipated. He wants everyone to leave his courtroom feeling like they were heard; therefore he is willing to take the time to listen.
Appointed by Governor Bush June 19, 2003. Judge Marx did not take the bench until August 1, 2003. Because he filled an unexpired term, Judge Marx now faces election with just one year on the bench. He wants to continue because he feels there is still a lot he can do improve the public’s perception of the system.
Upon marrying Judge Krista Marx, he became an instant father of three great children. This has helped him to become less selfish and more patient, he says. Both attributes help to make him a better judge.
The sports world’s loss is Palm Beach County’s gain to the judiciary.