Last updated on: 7/31/2012 | Author:

Charles M. Harris, JD Biography

Senior Judge of the Fifth District Court of Appeal
Con to the question "Should the Death Penalty Be Legal?"

“We have been sold a pig in the poke. If what we got is not totally defective, it is redundant and far less satisfactory than a comparable product which is efficient and cost effective. I am, of course, talking about the death penalty and why it should be abolished…My opposition is based on more practical grounds: First, the death penalty is not needed since the legislature adopted the life in prison without parole alternative. This was a wise action taken by the legislature but it has rendered death by execution redundant and the amount we spend on it wasted. Second, death by execution is excessively expensive…Over the last ten years, we have added an average of 11 people per year to our death row [in Florida]. They would fit much better in the general population of a high security prison at much less cost than on death row with its ever increasing population.”

“Why Florida Should Abolish the Death Penalty,” The Gainesville Sun,, Apr. 18, 2012

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Senior Judge, Fifth District Court of Appeal
  • Member, Education Committee, National Council of Appellate Chief Justices, 1993-present
  • Florida Conference of Circuit Judges, 1984-present
  • Member, Florida Bar, 1964-present
  • Brevard County Bar Association, 1964-present
  • Member, Supreme Court State/Federal Judicial Committee
  • Chief Judge, Fifth District Court of Appeal, Nov. 1989-Jan.2003
  • President, Conference of District Court Appeal Judges, 1995-1996
  • Member and President, Florida Conference of Appellate Judges, 1994-1995
  • Chair, Education Committee, Conference of District Court of Appeal Judges, 1993-1994
  • Judge, Circuit Court of the 18th Judicial Court, 1984-1989
  • Director, Central Florida Legal Services, Inc., 1984-1989
  • Partner, Crofton, Holland, Sterling, Harris & Severs Law Firm, 1964-1984
  • JD, University of Florida, 1964
  • BA, with honors, College of the Ozarks
  • Married father of four
  • Born in Arkansas
  • Participant, Reubin O. D. Askew Institute on Politics and Society, 1995-1996
  • Participant, Roscoe Pound Foundation Forum, 1995
  • President, Presbyterian Men’s Association, 1982
  • Member, Florida Theater Restoration Committee, 1975
  • North Brevard YMCA Service Award, 1972, 1977
  • Coach, Pop Warner Football League, 1975
  • Officer and Director, North Brevard YMCA, 1971-1973
  • Former Judge, Moot Court Competition