Spotlight on Government: Julianne Holt, Hillsborough County Public Defender

Public Defender, Julianne Holt appeared on the TBCN series which features various governmental officials in the Tampa Bay area. Hosted by Bill Hodges.

To watch the interview with Ms. Holt by Bill Hodges on YouTube, visit Spotlight on Government: Public Defender of Hillsborough County Julianne Holt.


Phoenix House Ribbon Cutting

Phoenix House Florida hosted a ceremonial ribbon cutting celebrating the grand reopening of its recently renovated outpatient facility for adolescents and adults on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. The Heartwood Campus is located at 510 Vonderburg Drive in Brandon, Florida. A reception followed the ceremony and tours were available throughout the afternoon from 2 to 6 p.m. “To best meet the increased demand for treatment throughout Hillsborough County, Phoenix House's location in this multifaceted medical complex allows us to double our treatment capacity as well as to expand our hours and programs to meet the unprecedented need for access to treatment by the diverse population we serve," said Clinical Director Sonya Bufe.

For full article, click here.


Stand Up for Human Rights Walk in honor of International Human Rights Day

On Sunday December 4th, after releasing nine doves of peace, Youth for Human Rights led 175 people from twenty organizations in The Stand Up For Human Rights Walk, starting at the Church of Scientology Tampa’s Ybor Square courtyard and through Ybor City marking the 68th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

For full article, click here.


Pepin students shine with Holt's work-training program

Ten years ago, Pepin Academies founder Crisha Murray-Scolaro attended an event where Ms. Holt gave the keynote address. The instant she heard Ms. Holt speak, she knew she would be the perfect person to approach with her idea of a transitional job training program for Pepin, which serves elementary, middle, and high school students with learning disabilities. The program would place Pepin students ages 18 to 22 on job sites where they would gain real work experience and garner skills that they could use to land gainful employment.

For original article, click here.


Blake Student's Turnaround a Victory for All of Us

TAMPA — Wednesday was National Signing Day. Young men and women armed with letters-of intent to play college sports, often on scholarships. Kids going places. Some moments remind you of how special it can be.

One happened Wednesday morning in the theater at Blake High in downtown Tampa. In front of family, friends, teammates and a portion of the student body, four members of the Yellow Jackets football team signed their letters.

The last of them was Donté Glover, a defensive back, receiver and team co captain. Nickname: Glove. He’ll attend Northwest Missouri State University and play football on a partial scholarship for the defending Division II national champions.

For full article, click here.


13th Circuit Celebrates Golden Anniversary of Florida Public Defender System

Julianne M Holt posing with Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners

March 18, 2013, was proclaimed “Gideon Day” by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners. The City of Tampa City Council also issued a commendation to Public Defender Julianne Holt in recognition of the special day. The Commission and Council joined the Law Offices of Julianne M. Holt, Public Defender in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, the United States Supreme Court ruling that established the right to counsel for those too poor to hire a lawyer.

Introducing the proclamation for the Hillsborough County, Commissioner Murman briefly explained the story of Clarence Earl Gideon, arrested for breaking into a pool hall in Panama City, Florida. Gideon’s request for a court-appointed lawyer was denied. Unwilling to plead guilty to a crime he did not commit and forced to defend himself, he proceeded to a jury trial without counsel. He was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison – the maximum sentence at the time. Believing his constitutional rights had been violated, he sent a hand-written letter to the United States Supreme Court for relief. In 1963, his appeal was granted and he was awarded a new trial, this time with a court-appointed lawyer; he was ultimately acquitted of the charges by a jury of his peers and released.

City Councilman Harry Cohen, in presenting the commendation to Public Defender Holt, explained to the City Council that in its decision the Supreme Court unanimously held that: “lawyers in criminal courts are necessities, not luxuries.”

As a result of the Gideon decision 50 years ago, the Florida Constitution was amended to provide for Public Defender agencies. Julianne M. Holt is the popularly elected Public Defender for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, which comprises Hillsborough County, Florida. She has served as Public Defender for twenty years. The office is staffed by 226 full-time employees and is tasked with the representation of more than 55,000 capital, felony, misdemeanor and juvenile cases each year.

During the respective presentations, commissioners and council members alike praised Public Defender Holt’s ethics, integrity, hard-work and dedication to forming the promise of Gideon into a reality for all Hillsborough County citizens.


Spotlight on Government: Public Defender of Hillsborough County Julianne Holt

Public Defender, Julianne Holt appeared on the TBCN series which features various governmental officials in the Tampa Bay area. Hosted by Bill Hodges.

To watch the interview with Ms. Holt by Bill Hodges on YouTube, visit Spotlight on Government: Public Defender of Hillsborough County Julianne Holt


Pepin Downtown Partnerships

Julianne M Holt with Tampa Police officer and representatives of Pepin Academy

Pepin Transitional is excited to announce the expansion of the Transitional program, developing stronger ties to Downtown Tampa, with provision of an academic training facility at the Public Defender’s Law Offices championed by Julianne Holt, Public Defender of Hillsborough County, 13th Judicial Circuit.

Students will increase their self-determination skills by learning to navigate the Downtown Tampa area as they walk from job sites to classrooms, like a college campus.

In addition, new business partnerships have developed between Pepin Transitional, the Hillsborough County Offices, and the Tampa Police Department (made possible by Police Chief, Jane Castor). These new training sites will incorporate intensive real-world training in an adult-oriented environment with a curriculum focused on functional academics, community skills, job skills and social skills.

“A partnership with the Tampa Police Department will provide our students with a first-hand look at the workings of law enforcement and provide positive role models through law enforcement personnel,” says Pepin Transitional Director, Celeste Kellar.

The Public Defender’s Office began its partnership with Pepin Academies in 2007. Florida Tax Watch honored the unique partnership for the benefits it brings to state government and the students participating in the program. The Public Defender’s Office continues to work with students, deepening their self-reliance and self-determination, while providing job skills and work experience that many students need. The success of the partnership sparked the inspiration to expand the Public Defender’s involvement with the school. Beginning in 2012, the Public Defender’s Office will also share space with the Pepin Academies, creating a downtown hub that will hopefully allow more downtown Tampa companies to benefit from working with the students.

“At Pepin Academies, our students are allowed to be themselves and discover their many talents and unique traits, without fear of being looked at as different. The transitional program gives our students the opportunity to be productive members of society; saving tax-payers money while building gainful employment, confidence and independence,” says Crisha Scolaro, a Founder and Community Liaison Director for Pepin Academies.

Because of the recent expansion, Pepin Transitional has immediate openings that will be filled on a first come, first serve basis. Call 813.236.1755. Openings available for: adult students, 18 to 22 years-old, who have graduated from high school with a special diploma or certificate of completion, and have an identified learning disability.