The Founding of the Inn

In 1991, Judge John M. Scheb, then preparing to retire from a long career on Florida's Second District Court of Appeal, asked a core group of lawyers and judges to establish an Inn in Sarasota County. On June 21, 1991, the American Inns of Court Foundation chartered the Sarasota County American Inn of Court as Inn #139.

The new charter was accepted by Judge Chris W. Altenbernd, then Judge Scheb's newest colleague on the Second District Court of Appeal, and a Master in the William Glenn Terrell Inn of Court in Tampa, Joryn Jenkins, Esq., a trustee of the American Inns of Court Foundation, and Debra J. Sutton, Esq., a former staff attorney of Judge Scheb who had assisted him in organizing an Inn of Court in Polk County.

In addition to Judge Scheb, the subscribers to our charter were: Hon. Stephen L. Dakan, Hon. James W. Whatley, Charles J. Bartlett, Esq., Jill H. Breslau, Esq., Theodore C. Eastmoore, Esq., G. Hunter Gibbons, Esq., Claire L. Hamner, Esq., M. Joseph Lieb, Jr., Esq., A. Lamar Matthews, Jr., Esq., Frank Strelec, Esq.

The officers elected to serve the first term were Judge Scheb, President; Frank Strelec, Vice President (Counselor); Claire L. Hamner, Secretary and Theodore C. Eastmoore, Treasurer.

The Renaming of the Inn

In the Spring of 1994, the membership voted to change the name of the Inn to  The Judge John M. Scheb American Inn of Court. The Inn was renamed as a tribute to Judge Scheb, who represents the ideals of legal excellence, ethics, civility and professionalism.  Judge Scheb passed away in 2010. 

Judge Scheb had a distinguished record of public service. A Florida native and long-time resident of Sarasota, he received his B.A. from Florida Southern College and his LL.B (now J.D.) from the University of Florida College of Law in 1950. In 1984 he earned the LL.M. in judicial process from the University of Virginia. He holds honorary doctor of humanities and law degrees from Florida Southern and Stetson, respectively.

Judge Scheb practiced law in Sarasota from 1950- 1974, serving as City Attorney from 1959-1970. He served as a Judge of the Second District Court of Appeal from 1975-1992 including a term as Chief Judge from 1980-1982.

Judge Scheb served as a reserve Judge-Advocate in the U. S. Air Force and as an adjunct instructor of criminal law at Florida Southern College. He co-authored textbooks on criminal law and procedure and appellate practice, and is was a Distinguished Professorial Lecturer at Stetson University College of Law. The American Inns of Court Foundation conferred upon him the A. Sherman Christensen Award in 1994. In 1997 the Florida Bar awarded him the James C. Adkins Award for significant contributions in the field of appellate practice.

May 10, 2016 25th Anniversary Gala Judge John M. Scheb American Inn of Court

Documentary Film Premiere-- Legacy of Professionalism: John M. Scheb and Our Inn of Court