Chief Judge Kimberly C. Bonner and Assistant Public Defender Terry Drake

Teamwork, Advocacy Go Hand in Hand for 2020 Slater Award recipient

Twelfth Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Kimberly C. Bonner presented Terry Drake with the 2020 Jim Slater award in an outside ceremony on July 16, 2020, at the Silvertooth Judicial Center in Sarasota. Ms. Drake, an assistant public defender based in Sarasota County, represents the Public Defender’s Office in the Treatment Courts of the Twelfth Circuit.

Judge Bonner remarked during the presentation that being a defense attorney in a treatment court setting is a unique and challenging experience because the defense attorney is a member of a treatment team. This is unusual in our adversary system because treatment courts are non-adversarial in nature. That means that the defense attorney must balance her responsibilities to advocate for her client and protect her client’s rights while participating as a member of the team.

Ms. Drake’s nominator said, “Ms. Drake has expertly handled this unique position in the most professional manner. She exemplifies the abilities required by a person in the criminal defense role under the drug court model.”

I am “truly, truly honored,” Ms. Drake said. “Ironically, Jim hired me as a legal assistant back in the day.” She expressed her thanks and gratitude toward the nomination. “I appreciate all the support from the people who nominated me … and I especially thank all the people who help me do my job every day. It is always a team effort.”

About the Award

The late Jim Slater, a long-time Chief Assistant Public Defender in the Twelfth Judicial Circuit, left an indelible impression on our legal community.

Despite the adversarial nature of the criminal justice system Mr. Slater exemplified professionalism in the practice of criminal law.

As Chief Assistant PD, Mr. Slater was in charge of the Manatee office and he had a reputation for being civil, honest and collegial toward the bench and to opposing counsel. Mr. Slater passed away in 2005, and shortly thereafter, in 2006, the Twelfth Circuit judges established the Jim Slater Award in his memory.

The Slater Award is the only award given annually to attorneys by Twelfth Circuit judges and is usually presented at the May bar association luncheon in the county the award recipient primarily practices, but due to the coronavirus pandemic and social-distancing guidelines, a large ceremony was not possible this year.

Past Slater Award winners

  • Heather Doyle (2019)
  • Derek Byrd (2018)
  • N/A (2017)
  • Chris Pratt (2016)
  • Brett McIntosh (2015)
  • Brian Iten (2014)
  • Rebecca Wilson (2013)
  • Peter Belmont (2012)
  • Carolyn Schlemmer (2011)
  • Liane McCurry (2010)
  • Bruce Lee (2009)
  • Adam Tebrugge (2008)
  • Jim Dirmann (2007)
  • Elliott Metcalfe, Jr. (2006)
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