Judge Ito's Got Nothing on This Guy

"He's always been a jokester," said Gary Ostrow, a defense attorney who has been best friends with Seidlin for 20 years. "The limelight doesn't change him. This is what he's like at all times: kidding around and having a good time."

Ostrow supports his friend in the face of critics who ridicule him.

"As long as he gets the job done and gives the right ruling, it doesn't matter." Ostrow said. " More judges should have his temperament. It makes court a lot less boring. Besides, he doesn't have a mean bone in his body."

Growing up in the Bronx, Seidlin's father was an interior decorator and his mother a secretary. He drove a yellow cab in New York City to pay for college and became an accountant, then went to law school at night.

His jobs in the 1970s included working as a Broward prosecutor and legal adviser to the Broward County sheriff. He was elected county court judge in 1978 and was appointed circuit judge in 1989.

He is now 56 years old, but married for the first time at 50. He has a 6-year-old daughter.

But not everyone who's worked with Seidlin would offer the same take as Ostrow. Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein refused to comment.

The two have a history -- in 2005, Finkelstein got Seidlin's wife, Belinda, fired from her job as an investigator in the public defender's office. "It didn't go well," Finkelstein told the Broward Daily Business Review. "But this office cannot be a place to put wayward wives and children."

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