Attorney Dominick J. Salfi, Esq.
Dominick Salfi, as a former judge in Florida, is the senior member of the firm. He was born in Philadelphia, PA, in 1937 and moved to Florida during his high school year. He earned a Bachelor of Arts (1958) and a Juris Doctor (1961) from the University of Florida. He gained his early experience as an attorney in private practice with Hornsby, Johnson, Yurko & Salfi (1961-67) and Fishback, Davis, Dominick & Salfi (1967-70).
In 1967, Dominick Salfi served as legal counsel to the Orange-Seminole Legislative Delegation and in July of that year, he was appointed State Attorney for the 18th Judicial Circuit. While State Attorney, he was involved in the Governor’s war on crime, participating in the removal of several public officials for failing to perform their duties and for their involvement in corrupt activities. Dominick Salfi organized the first drug task force in the Central Florida area and the first Central Florida Interdepartmental Law Enforcement Unit which led to the arrest and conviction of various organized crime figures. The Governor selected him to investigate official corruption in Dade County and represent the State in challenging questionable oil leases off the coast of Florida.
In 1970, Dominick Salfi was appointed to the circuit bench of the 18th Judicial Circuit. At that time, it was reported that he was the youngest circuit judge to hold such office in the history of Florida. Upon assuming the post of circuit judge, he worked in all divisions of the Court, including as a Chief Judge of the circuit. During his tenor as a circuit judge, he had the opportunity to temporarily serve as an associate judge in the Fourth District Court of Appeals and associate justice of the State Supreme Court. He was re-elected without opposition in 1972 and 1984 and in 1978, he withstood a re-election challenge by winning every precinct in Seminole and Brevard counties.
Throughout his tenure as circuit judge, Dominick Salfi continuously worked to develop innovative methods to improve the delivery of judicial services. These methods often made the system more accessible and understandable to the average person. He was known to be against sloppy and inefficient legal work. When necessary, he would be critical of attorneys who failed to adequately represent their clients. Because of his dedication to the judicial process and his requirement that attorneys be prepared, Dominick Salfi unflinchingly faced frequent criticism in his endeavors to effect judicial reform. However, over the years, Dominick Salfi gained the reputation of being a brilliant and caring jurist who was not afraid to implement change for the delivery of judicial services.
Dominick Salfi was responsible for the creation of specialized court coordinators to help cases move through the system with fewer errors and delays by helping judges have all the necessary information to make fair and timely decision in cases. Another important judicial reform was the utilization of telephone conference hearings which saved attorneys and litigants much time and money in having their matters disposed of by a judge without a personal appearance. Work in this area earned a statewide award by the Florida Bar Association as the Best Project for the Year for Dominic Salfi’s committee.
In his first criminal sentencing as a judge, Dominick Salfi had to impose the death penalty. This was described as the most difficult decision he was required to make at that point in his legal career. Later, he gained national attention while sentencing a major drug dealer by stating he would have less difficulty in imposing the death penalty in that particular case than in the earlier case. He became involved in an unsuccessful effort to elevate the penalty for major drug dealers to a death penalty, pointing out that those crimes were crimes for profit and it would take stronger consequences to prevent citizens, including prominent business people, from getting involved in drug trafficking – a prediction which apparently has earned validity today.
Dominick Salfi’s work in the legislative area included initiating and spearheading the shared parenting movement in Florida – which culminated in the first Shared Parenting Law in the country. He supported a statewide Juvenile Arbitration Act and he was a major contributor in the total revision of the Juvenile Justice Code. Dominick Salfi was invited by the Governor to be present when the Code was signed into law. Additionally, he participates in efforts to create mediation programs for all courts in Florida which is used currently in most court cases today.
In his role as a judge, Dominick Salfi heard numerous cases. He decided responsibility for the sinking of the Sanford Marina docks and as a result, he helped set dock salvage from the bottom of the marina and the construction of a new bulkhead in motion that helped make the marina safe. He also authored several opinions that assisted law enforcement in the preparation of legally sufficient search warrants and wrote other opinions relating to constitutional procedural requirements for conducting zoning hearings by cities.
In 1987, after serving sixteen years as a circuit judge, Dominick Salfi retired from the bench and established SalfiLaw, P.A. As a lawyer, the experience he gained as a circuit judge involving all areas of the law, greatly enhances his representation of clients. He has tried cases to verdict in both State and Federal Courts and argued appeals before the District Court and Florida Supreme Court. In 1997, Dominick Salfi was selected to be the first American attorney to defend a United States citizen on Cuban soil.
During Dominick Salfi’s career, he participated in creating legal precedence in several major areas including the rights of retired military personnel to receive full compensation for negligent medical injuries, balancing legal consequences with rehabilitation for juveniles placed in the juvenile justice system, promoting parents’ rights after divorce, and raised the State’s responsibility to fully compensate land owners when their property is taken by eminent domain. Dominick Salfi has been awarded Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory’s “AV” rating. This very high rating is awarded to a select group of attorneys who have been recognized by their peers for the excellence of their legal expertise and professional reputations.
Dominick Salfi is a certified civil mediator who is qualified to handle cases from the circuit level as well as the 5th District Court of Appeals.
Years ago, Dominick Salfi founded Caius Productions, a film development company and currently acts as general counsel for several film and entertainment entities. Most recently, he was executive producer for the feature film, Karaoke King. He is currently a managing member of a production company producing what is hoped to be the next classic Christmas movie branding the 21st Century Santa for the world.
Dominick Salfi is presently a member of the Florida Bar, Orange County Bar Association and Seminole County Bar Association. His past memberships include the American Judicature Society, American Judges Association, Association of Family Conciliation Courts and Association of Law & Psychology, among many others.
Dominick Salfi received the National Judges College Certification Award in 1973, 1975 and 1977 and the National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges Certification Award in 1974 and 1975. He has appeared in Who’s Who in American Law, Who’s Who on the American Bench and the Dictionary of International Biographies.
Today, he continues the efforts he began as a state attorney and circuit judge, demonstrating concern for his clients and working to improve the quality of legal services provided to them.
- Born August 29, 1937 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Lives in Longwood, Florida
- Four Children – Dea, Joe, Dawn, Don
- Left the bench as Circuit Judge in January, 1987
- Currently has law firm and film production company in Altamonte Springs, Florida
- High School – North Miami High – graduated 1955
- College – University of Florida – graduated 1958
- Law School – University of Florida – graduated 1961
- Private Practice-Hornsby, Johnson, Yurko and Salfi – 1961/1967
- Private Practice-Fishback, Davis, Dominick and Salfi – 1967/1970
- Legal Counsel to Orange-Seminole Legislative Delegation – 1967
- Specially assigned Legal Counsel to Governor of Florida on Off Shore Oil Drilling – 1968
- Specially assigned Legal Counsel to the Florida Board of Business Regulation on pari-mutuel racing dates – 1969
- State Attorney for 18th Judicial Circuit – 1967/1969
- Circuit Judge for 18th Judicial Circuit – 1970/1987
- Chief Judge Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, Florida – 1974-1975
- Co-author of Florida’s Juvenile Dispositional Statute – 1975
- Conference of Circuit Judge Chairman of Juvenile Section – 1976
- Florida Bar Chairman of Judicial Evaluation Committee – 1977
- Co-author of Florida’s Shared Parenting Statute – 1980
- Attorney for American National tried in Cuban Court – 1997
- State Committeeman for Seminole County Republican Party – 1968
- Brevard County Bar Association
- New York Trial Lawyers Association
- Fifth Circuit Court Appeal Bar
- District Court of Florida Bar
- Middle District of Florida Bar
- U. S. Supreme Court Bar
- Testified before Legislative Committees as Expert Witness
- Taught in the Legal Intern Program at University of Central Florida
- State of Florida Certified Civil Mediator
- Instructor in Decision Making Course at National Judicial College
- Instructor in courses on Dispositional Hearings at National Judicial College
- Instructor at Georgia Superior Court judges Conference on Shared Parenting
- Speaker at American Association of Mediation and Family Therapists Annual Conference on “Family Mediation”
- Certified Instructor-Theory and Practice of Creative Aggression, Institute of Group Psychotherapy
- Instructor in People’s Law School at Seminole Community College
- Florida Bar Association
- Florida Justice Association
- Seminole County Bar Association
- Orange County Bar Association
- Sports and Entertainment Law Committee
- Family Law Committee
- Public Relations and Information Committee
- American Bar Association
Legal Technology Advisory Council
- Trial Lawyers of America Association
- American Judicature Society
- American Judges Association
- Association of Family Conciliation Courts
- Association of Law & Psychology
- Member of Ad-Hoc Committee on Juvenile Justice of Bureau of Criminal Justice Planning & Assistance for Development of Youth Services System for each county in the State.
- Member of Resource Staff of Juvenile Justice Task Force on Standards & Goals
- Chairman of Seminole County juvenile Justice Task Force under Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Act
- Association of Humanistic Psychology
- Children’s Home Society of Florida
- National Council on Crime & Delinquency
- Advisory Committee to the Youth Services for Florida
- Association for Creative Change
- Central Florida Zoological Society
- Honorary Member of League of Women Voters
- Mental Health Association of Orange County
- Parent Resource Center at Seminole Community College
- “WE CARE” Inc.
- Dividends Volunteer
- East Central Florida Planning Council
- Community Coordinated Child Care for Central Florida
- Project Diversion Resource Advisory Team
- National Judges College Certification Awards 1973, 75 & 77
- National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges Certification Awards 1974 & 75
- Who’s Who in American Law
- Who’s Who in Government
- Who’s Who in American Politics
- Who’s Who on the American Bench
- Dictionary of International Biography