I served the Twelfth Judicial Circuit as a career prosecutor from June 5, 1985 to December 31, 2007. My initial assignments were investigation and prosecution of bribery and racketeering charges, then drug trafficking and white collar fraud for State Attorney Frank Schaub.
I then served Earl Moreland, State Attorney, as a general felony Attorney in 1988, taking a wide variety of cases to jury trial, from third degree felonies to first degree murder. In 1990 I was promoted to County Court Division Chief for the entire circuit, then limited that assignment to only Sarasota County until when I transferred to the same assignment in Manatee County.
That assignment placed me as the Supervisor of the misdemeanor, juvenile and domestic violence divisions in the Bradenton office of the State Attorney. Those responsibilities specifically included: constant case review for filing decisions, strategies, legal theories and ethical considerations; daily and monthly staff training, attorney counseling, caseload management, calendar coverage, liaison for statewide issues, complaint resolution relating to staff or charging decisions; performing administrative work for the division; and resolving problems in county Court.
Consistent with the State Attorneys policy involving, cases, judges, dockets, clerks, probation department, police officers, defense attorneys, witnesses, victims, media, etc. My caseload supervision was fifteen times that of a felony division supervisor at over 30,000 cases per year, or about a half million cases in my career. I primarily reviewed the problematic, highly technical, high profile, appellate and jury trial cases.
The staff of lawyers that I constantly trained and supervised did nearly all the court litigation. I only personally litigated cases of great public importance, invoking new or novel issues of law, technical matters with new expert witnesses to our courts, where the assigned lawyer needed senior level assistance or counsel, or high profile cases requiring substantial trial and media relations experience
Despite these administrative duties I tried nearly 100 cases by jury in misdemeanors and felonies. I have personally written enough appellate briefs to now qualify to apply as a Board Certified Appellate Lawyer in Florida. As a County Court Division Chief, I was initially responsible for all four offices in the Twelfth Judicial Circuit. I then started up two of the first Domestic Violence Divisions in Florida, in both Sarasota and Manatee Counties. I have also trained other prosecutors statewide on a broad range of subjects, including; trial advocacy, evidence, technical aspects of dui, domestic violence and ethics.
The Florida Prosecuting Attorney's Association recognized me in 1996 and 2003 with their “Distinguished Faculty Award.” The Florida chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers recognized me in 1998 with their Outstanding Florida DUI Prosecutor Award." The Florida Technical Advisory Committee on DUI Enforcement and Prosecution recognized me in 2008 with a Lifetime Achievement Award for long-term contributions to DUI legal and technical issues.
I represented our State Attorney, Earl Moreland, in all Manatee County Court inter-agency councils and meetings that have included: Bradenton's Drug Free Communities; Manatee County Domestic Violence Council(Sarasota also); Manatee County Victim's Rights Council; Manatee County Juvenile Justice Council; Governor's (Chiles) Domestic Violence Task Force; Manatee County Juvenile Assessment Center monthly meetings; and various Manatee County Court's judicial innovations or concerns by cooperating with public defenders and other defense attorneys; law enforcement chiefs and supervisors; county attorneys; county commissioners; etc. During my career service I have trained and mentored nearly 200 local attorneys to become competent and ethical in the courtrooms of this circuit.
I have also helped train or assist several thousand other lawyers throughout Florida by lectures, critiques, outlines and taking e-mail and phone questions. It is not even uncommon for defense attorneys to call me when they cannot find a law or case citation that they have in mind to use, even against my own staff, though I have refrained from tactical and strategic counsel therein.
I have personally reviewed, supervised, and/or argued every major issue that has been litigated in the county criminal courts since 1990. Those issues included all broad or major attacks against: The Intoxilyzer Instrument; blood or alcohol testing administrative rules; standardized field sobriety testing; horizontal gaze nystagmus; hearsay affidavits; constitutionality of Florida statutes; police policies, practices, or qualifications, etc. Because these issues had the potential of affecting litigation on large groups of cases they were matters of great public importance. I have either supervised or personally written every memorandum of law or appellate brief associated with any of the aforementioned major issues litigated in county court for the past fifteen years.
I participated in many similar matters in Sarasota County Courts and with other county court division chiefs statewide. This work included drafting "clean-up" legislation and perfecting strategies with: Florida's Technical Advisory Committee on dui enforcement and prosecution; the governor's task force against domestic violence; the rules committee of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's alcohol testing program; the Institute of police technology and management at University of North Florida, and the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association. Also, I have competently prosecuted a number of cases by gubernatorial appointment due to conflicts of interest in other circuits.
In 2007 I resumed county court supervision in Sarasota County, then served as the division chief in Desoto County, where I supervised the entire office and assigned myself the most serious cases going to trial in that county. I retired December 31, 2007 with a full pension. Being too young to stop working, and loving the practice of Criminal Law, I opened my private practice of law in Sarasota in January 2008 where I now limit my cases exclusively to criminal defense and limit my caseload so that every client receives immediate and thorough attention.