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Florida, Haitians In America

A Haitian-American Judge With Infinite Love For Serving: Lody Jean’s Story

By Onz Chery

A smiling Lody Jean in the courtroom. Photo courtesy of Lody Jean

Judge Lody Jean, unexpectedly, saw a client she had as a lawyer, Charitable Compere, with his two children at the airport in 2018. She had helped Compere win a case that allowed him to bring his children to the United States. The children’s mother had died in Haiti. Hence, it was crucial for them to move to the United States to be with their father.

That enjoyable unexpected encounter reminded Jean why she got into law – to serve.

“Serving has been the greatest honor of my professional career,” Jean said. “My mentors have always told me to do the right thing whether I’m going to go forward on a case or dismiss it. I have a higher duty to serve the community by making the correct decisions on all my cases.”

Being a server in the courtroom is rewarding but is extremely demanding mentally and pressuring. For instance, as a lawyer, amid Compere’s case, Jean felt as if she was in a tight corner because if she didn’t win the case his children’s future would’ve been in jeopardy. But now, she’s the one making the decisions, which can be even more pressuring.

“It’s [law] very human, you deal with human emotions, human cases, human tragedy,” the 40-year-old said. “It’s easier for me to sort of wrap my head around it [as opposed to other careers]. And also, you have to balance, balance what’s fair, what’s just. You balance the rights of the accused but also the rights of the victims.”

Despite the stressful part of Jean’s job, she’s all for it. And she’s excelling. Jean was appointed to the bench of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida on April 17, 2020. She’s the first Haitian to sit in the Eleventh Circuit Court.

Lody Jean’s headshot. Photo courtesy of Lody Jean

Jean was born and raised in Port-au-Prince by a Haitian father and Lebanese mother. She showed plenty of promises since her young days. Jean was the president of the student council at Quisqueya Christian School and often made the honor roll. As a child, she dreamed of going overseas to become a doctor, then return to Haiti to work.

After high school, Jean was accepted at the University of Miami while living in Haiti. It was a major milestone for the then-teenager as she was moving to the U.S., where she calls “the land of opportunities.” But it was also a terrifying move. She migrated to the U.S. alone.

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Onz Chery

Onz Chery

Onz Chery started his writing career as a City College of New York student with The Campus. He also wrote for First Touch, Cosmopolitan Soccer League, and other local leagues. After graduating, Onz became one of ESNY's sports journalists then joined The Haitian Times.
Onz Chery
Jul. 07, 2020