Tampa Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer
As a woman, why did you choose criminal defense?
Working as a criminal defense attorney, I am often reminded of advice my parents routinely gave me as a child, "treat others as I would want to be treated in return." In my legal practice, I make it a point to put myself in the same shoes as my clients and my clients' families. I make sure everyone is well informed. I make sure everyone understands the judicial process. I make sure I am accessible to everyone for whatever they may need, just as I would want if I were in their difficult situation. I also remind myself daily of the lessons my grandfather taught me: that hard work and dedication lead to success. As attorneys we cannot change the facts of our client's cases. We are not magicians. However, our hard work and relentless pursuit of success can certainly affect the end result. I encourage you to read our case results to see first hand what comes out of our law firm's hard work and dedication.
Are you a member of the Florida Bar?
I passed the Florida bar exam on my first attempt. I graduated cum laude from Stetson University College of Law, which is ranked first in the nation for trial advocacy by U.S. News & World Report. At Stetson, I was an Honor Roll student, a participant in the Honors Program, a member of Stetson's nationally recognized Alternative Dispute Resolution Board, a research and writing teaching assistant, recipient of the Stephanie A. Vaughan Excellence in Advocacy Award, recipient of the Victor O. Wehle Award, and member of the C.H. Ferguson M.E. White American Inn of Court. During law school, I was privileged to be chosen as a member of Stetson's trial advocacy team and was given the chance to travel the country where I competed against other top law schools. What I learned in law school gave me incomparable knowledge and skill, which I still use in my practice of law today.
Where did you go to college?
I completed my undergraduate work at the Florida State University where I graduated with a double major in Criminology and Psychology. While attending the Florida State University, I was on the Dean's List, and a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. In addition to my academic activities and extensive community service work, I learned the true meaning of hard work as I worked full time at a local restaurant. I was not privileged monetarily but I was privileged to get my degree.
Did you intern while in law school?
During law school, I interned for this firm. In addition to learning about the law, I learned how to be an effective criminal defense attorney from Mark J. O'Brien and Victoria E. Hatfield. I learned to never accept what appears to be an inevitable result. I learned to keep looking for answers and to keep fighting for our clients. I also learned that the early mornings, late nights, and entire weekends spent at the office are worth it in the end when I achieve great results for my clients. This is the part of the law that law schools do not teach.
Life Sentence Vacated
With a lawyer unrelated to our law firm by his side, Thurston McBride went to trial, was found guilty, and was sentenced to life in prison. We represented him at his circuit court evidentiary hearing on his 3.850 ineffective assistance of counsel motion and the circuit court ruled against us. We appealed. The Fifth District Court of Appeal sided with us, reversed the circuit court’s denial of our 3.850 motion, ruled that Mr. McBride’s trial counsel was ineffective, and ordered a new trial. Thurston McBride v. State, 1D17-2825 (Leon County).