Circuit Civil "AF", December 29, 2022
Circuit Court Judge Carolyn Bell was appointed to the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit in May 2018, and is currently assigned to the Civil Division. She previously served in the Juvenile Division where she oversaw delinquency, dependency, and Unified Family Court proceedings. While in the Juvenile Division, Judge Bell was the presiding judge of the Circuit’s Juvenile Drug Court. Judge Bell has also sat as an Associate Judge of the Fourth District Court of Appeal.
Before her appointment to the bench, Judge Bell was a federal prosecutor in the West Palm Beach office of the Southern District of Florida. While there, she prosecuted a wide variety of federal criminal matters with an emphasis on sophisticated white-collar criminal prosecutions. In addition to her regular caseload, Judge Bell served as in-house ethics counsel to the over 200 Assistant U.S. Attorneys in South Florida. She was also the Criminal Bankruptcy Fraud Coordinator for the District, as well as the Criminal Tax Liaison between the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Outside of the office, Judge Bell has long been involved in state and local bar activities, serving as Chair of the Florida Bar Standing Committee on Professional Ethics, Chair of the Professionalism Committee of the Palm Beach County Bar Association, and Chair of the Florida Bar Standing Committee on Advertising. She has also served on the Board of Trustees of a number of community organizations. She is currently a member of the Florida Bar Standing Committee on Professionalism, the Palm Beach County Bar Association Judicial Relations and Professionalism Committees, and the Craig S. Barnard American Inn of Court.
Prior to coming to Florida, Judge Bell was a Senior Trial Attorney at the Department of Justice, Criminal Tax, in Washington, D.C. Her Washington service included assignments prosecuting misdemeanor street crimes in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia, and on the Deputy Attorney General’s staff. While in Washington, Judge Bell also worked as an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University Law School teaching legal writing and trial advocacy.
Judge Bell began her career as a civil litigator at a large commercial law firm in Los Angeles. She received her law degree and undergraduate degree with high honors from the University of California, Berkeley.
Throughout her career, Judge Bell has regularly lectured on a wide range of subjects to attorneys, law enforcement agencies, private bar associations, educational institutions, community groups, and her judicial colleagues. Topics include trial advocacy, ethics, evidence, discovery, victim rights, white-collar crimes, remote court proceedings and juvenile justice.
Judge Bell has received numerous honors and awards throughout her career, including Outstanding Trial Attorney for the Tax Division, United States Department of Justice, and the Director’s Award from the Executive Office of United States Attorneys. Since taking the bench, Judge Bell has been selected as the 2022 Distinguished Jurist of the Year by the Palm Beach County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers. She was also honored by the Palm Beach County Chapter of the Federal Bar Association as the recipient of its 2020-2021 Kenneth L. Ryskamp Award for her distinguished contribution to enhancing the quality of the practice of law in the Southern District of Florida.