DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Circuit Judge Raul Zambrano is soaring to new heights in his distinguished career on the bench. The would-be jet fighter pilot assumes the role of the chief judge of the 7th Judicial circuit that encompasses Volusia, Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties, effective July 1.
Zambrano, a former lead homicide prosecutor with 15 years as a circuit judge replaces Terence Perkins, who has held the top judgeship since 2013. In doing so, Zambrano, a native of Panama, becomes the first Hispanic judge from the circuit to rise to the top post. He was chosen by his peers at the circuit and county levels without opposition.
Zambrano's impending ascension was made official earlier in the day on Monday.
"I am honored to serve in this leadership capacity," Zambrano told Headline Surfer, which is first in reporting his promotion.
Zambrano was appointed to the circuit judgeship by then-Gov. Jeb Bush in 2005. He was most recently re-elected without opposition in 2014, winning a six-year term that expires on January 4, 2021.
Zambrano received his bachelor's degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He went on to receive two master's degrees from Embry-Riddle as well. He then received his J.D. degree from the Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg.
Forty-two judges serve residents of the Seventh Judicial Circuit, including 27 circuit and 15 county court judges, in courts in Daytona Beach, DeLand, New Smyrna Beach Bunnell, Palatka and St. Augustine.