Kenneth R. Lester, Jr. is a Seminole County judge of the 18th Judicial Circuit Court in Florida. He was elected on September 3, 1996. In 2008, he was re-elected to a term that ends on January 5, 2015. Judge Lester received a B.S. in accounting from the University of Central Florida 1977 and M.S. in accounting from the University of Central Florida in 1978. He earned his J.D. degree from the University of Florida and he was admitted to the Bar in 1980. Lester is a former prosecutor. After working at the State Attorney’s office he handled criminal defense and family law cases in both state and federal court. He was elected to the bench in 1996. Seminole County Judge Lester is married to Dorothy Sedgwick who is a homicide prosecutor at the State Attorney's Office in Orange County. They have two grown children including a daughter who is a member of the Florida Bar. Judge Lester is a USA wrestling bronze certified coach. Judge Kenneth R. Lester, Jr. enlisted in U.S. Navy while in high school and is a Vietnam Combat veteran.
Seminole County Judge Lester was the judge in the Michael Reynolds murder case, in which the day laborer got into a dispute with a couple, brutally killing them and their 11-year-old daughter. Lester sentenced Reynolds to two death sentences plus life in prison in 2003. The next year, he sentenced handyman John Michael Buzia in the ax murder of a 71-year-old Oviedo man to death. Judge Lester eased into the outside world a schizophrenic killer, Stephanie Gardner, an Oviedo woman who had been locked in a state mental hospital for a decade after being found not guilty by reason of insanity in the shooting deaths of her mother and father. She was released to a Jacksonville group home in 2001. Judge Lester was assigned to the Trayvon Martin case after Judge Recksiedler recused herself and Judge Galluzzo stepped aside. Judge Nelson was the final judge to handle the case.
Since being elected in 1996, Judge Lester has scored well in annual judicial polls by two professional lawyer groups. In addition to the criminal divisions of circuit court, Lester has served in juvenile, delinquency, dependency, probate, guardianship and mental health.
To contact Seminole County Judge Kenneth R. Lester, Jr. call Marilyn McAllister at 407-665-4944. Judge Lester does not currently use JACS to set hearing time.