RICHARD G. PAYNE
CLASS OF 1961
After graduating from Rice Avenue Union High School in 1961, Richard obtained a bachelor's degree from Edinboro State College and his Juris Doctor's degree in 1970 from Florida State University. Richard was admitted to the practice of law in Florida, April of 1971. He was in private practice for nine years, serving as a criminal court prosecutor and as an assistant county attorney.
In 1980, Judge Payne was appointed to the County Court bench by Florida Governor Bob Graham from among fifteen candidates. He served as Monroe County Judge for eight years, and in 1988 was elected to a six year term as a Circuit Court Judge, garnering over 73% of the public vote. He went on to be elected to a second and third term with no opposition.
His fellow judges elected him to the position of Chief Circuit Judge four separate times. The circuit included four county and circuit court judges and their staffs, as well as sixty-five other employees who were located at three different courthouses throughout the Florida Keys. In addition to his duties as Chief Judge, Dick also presided over civil, criminal and juvenile court proceedings.