Nick J. Falsone

Citation
Nick J. Falsone

Material Information

Title:
Nick J. Falsone from police court to probate (1910-1998)
Creator:
Buck, Morison
Place of Publication:
[Tampa, Fla
Publisher:
Morison Buck
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 online resource (4 p.) : ill. ;

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Judges -- Biography -- Florida -- Hillsborough County ( lcsh )

Notes

Original Version:
Originally published as part of the "Chips off the Old Bench" column: [Tampa, Fla.] : Hillsborough County, September 1999, Lawyer under title:
General Note:
Title from caption.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
B28-00006 ( USFLDC DOI )
b28.6 ( USFLDC Handle )
NEW

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Book

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PAGE 1

N i c k J. F al s on e F r om P ol i c e C ou r t t o P r ob at e ( 1910 1998) Y ou w on't f i nd t he na m e of N i c k J F a l s one i n E r ne s t R obi ns on's H i s t or y o f H i l l s bor ough C ount y. T ha t 's not s ur pr i s i ng w he n you c ons i de r t ha t N i c k w a s j us t gr a dua t i ng f r o m H i l l s bor ough H i gh S c hool i n 1928 t he ye a r t he book w a s publ i s he d. N i c k w a s t he l a s t s ur vi vor o f t w e l ve c hi l dr e n bor n t o J os e ph a nd M a r i a F a l s one na t i ve s of t he i s l a nd o f S i c i l y H e w a s i nt r oduc e d t o l i f e a t 1809 19t h S t r e e t i n Y bo r C i t y. H e a nd f e l l ow j udge I C S pot o a r e be l i e ve d t o be t he onl y 13t h C i r c ui t J udge s of t he i r ge ne r a t i on w ho w e r e na t i ve s of t he C i ga r C i t y. H i l l s bor ough H i gh's 1928 a nnua l ha d be ne a t h t he pi c t ur e of young F a l s one t he l e ge nd: O ne of t he c om i ng de ba t e r s a nd t ha t f ou nda t i on i n s pe a ki ng on hi s f e e t w a s s ur e l y us e f ul t o hi m l a t e r i n l a w a nd pol i t i c s O ne of hi s H i l l s bor ough H i gh c l a s s m a t e s w a s H onor a bl e R obe r t W P a t t on di s t i ngui s he d r e t i r e d j udge ( bo r n one ye a r l a t e r t ha n F a l s one ) P a t t on gr a dua t e d f r om P l a nt H i gh ha vi n g t r a ns f e r r e d w he n t he l a t t e r s c hool ope ne d i t s door s F a l s one 's f a t he r a nd m ot he r s ur e l y ha d ha r ds c r a bbl e l i ve s w i t h t he r e s pons i bi l i t y of r a i s i ng s uc h a l a r ge f a m i l y. T he i r de a t hs be f or e N i c k r e a c he d a ge 15 m a de i t i m pe r a t i ve t ha t he w or k a nd e a r n t he m one y f or h i s c ol l e ge t ui t i on a nd e xpe ns e s N i c k ha d l e a r ne d t o t ype on a n ol d upr i ght m a nua l t ype w r i t e r a t hi s f a t he r 's c a r de a l e r s hi p on N or t h F r a nkl i n S t r e e t H i s t ypi ng f a c i l i t y l e d t o e m pl oym e nt a t t he A gr i c ul t ur e D e pt a t G a i ne s vi l l e H e t ook de gr e e s i n bot h bus i ne s s a dm i ni s t r a t i on a nd l a w a t t he U ni ve r s i t y of F l or i da a nd he w a s e ve r a f t e r a l oya l G a t or f oot ba l l f a n. W hi l e i n c ol l e ge he w a s a dr i l l i ns t r uc t o r i n R O T C m e m be r o f t he boxi ng t e a m a nd l a t e r c oa c he d f r e s hm a n i n t he a r t of pug i l i s m O t he r s i n N i c k's gr a dua t i ng c l a s s w ho l a t e r be c a m e pr om i ne nt i n l a w o r pol i t i c s or bot h i nc l ude : G e or ge S m a t he r s ( U S S e na t o r ) F ul l e r W a r r e n ( F l o r i da G ove r no r ) R e d M c E w e n ( H i l l s bor ough S t a t e A t t or ne y) H a r r y G M c D ona l d ( H i l l s bor ough C i r c ui t J udge ) M a nue l G a r c i a ( T a m pa l a w ye r ) a nd H u gh M c M i l l e n ( C i r c ui t J udge i n W e s t P a l m B e a c h) J udge M c M i l l e n a nd hi s w i f e A nne be c a m e f a s t f r i e nds o f N i c k a nd M a r ga r e t F a l s one M c M i l l e n s e r ve d f or m a ny ye a r s w i t h di s t i nc t i on, a nd w a s c a l l e d f r om t i m e t o t i m e t o s ubs t i t ut e i n T a m pa U pon be i ng w i dow e d, M r s M c M i l l e n m ove d t o T a m pa t o l i ve w i t h he r da ught e r A nne B a l dy a nd hus ba nd, A nde r s on ( T r e y) B a l dy. M r s B a l dy w a s a n A s s i s t a nt C ount y A t t or ne y be f or e r e t i r i ng t o pr oduc e l i t t l e B a l dys H e r

PAGE 2

hus ba nd i s w i t h t he e xpa ns i ve f i r m of H ol l a nd & K ni ght G r a d ua t i ng i n 1934 f r om l a w s c hool a nd a nxi ous t o e xc e l i n t he l e ga l pr of e s s i on, N i c k be c a m e a s s oc i a t e d w i t h P a ul l D i xon, a r e s pe c t e d, e s t a bl i s he d l a w y e r i n T a m pa w ho l a t e r be c a m e C i t y A t t or ne y i n t he J ul i a n L a ne a dm i ni s t r a t i on. T ha t t ur ne d out t o be a good c onne c t i on f or hi m a s l a t e r e ve nt s w oul d de m ons t r a t e N i c k's i nt e r e s t i n s om e f or m of j udi c i a l s e r vi c e a n a t ur a l e vol ut i ona r y pr oc e s s f or m a ny l a w ye r s be ga n t o bl os s om be f or e he w a s t hi r t y. H e de c i de d t o r un f or j us t i c e o f t he P e a c e a nd w he n he a nnounc e d hi s c a ndi da c y on J a nua r y 20, 1940, he bol dl y s t a t e d: ( I pl e dge ) t o a dm i ni s t e r t he dut i e s o f t he o f f i c e w i t h s uc h di gni t y t ha t t he C our t of J us t i c e of t he P e a c e m a y be r e s t or e d t o i t s r i ght f u l pl a c e of r e s pe c t i n t he publ i c m i nd; t o m a ke i t a us e f ul pi e c e of l e ga l m a c hi ne r y i ns t e a d of a f e e g r a bbi ng m i l l c l os e l y a ki n t o s om e f or m s of r a c ke t e e r i ng. H e di d not s uc c e e d i n t ha t i na ugu r a l e f f o r t t he f i r s t o f onl y t w o de f e a t s a t t he pol l s ove r f our de c a de s of publ i c a nd pr o f e s s i ona l l i f e U nda unt e d by t he r e s ul t s of hi s f i r s t e xpos ur e t o t h e e l e c t or a t e t e n ye a r s be f o r e F a l s one c ha l l e nge d t he pol i t i c a l l y s t r ong a nd e nt r e nc he d J udge of J uve ni l e C our t P a ul K i c kl i t e r i n 1950. A ga i n, he f e l l s hor t M e a nw hi l e pr i or t o be i ng e l e c t e d C ount y J udge i n 1970, he e nga ge d i n a n a c t i ve l a w pr a c t i c e H e a nd t he l a t e F r e d ( T r a ppe r ) S a us s y s ha r e d f r i e nds hi p a nd of f i c e s pa c e T he i r of f i c e s w e r e s uc c e s s i ve l y i n W a l l a c e S B ui l di ng W e s t e r n U ni on B ui l di ng, a nd E xc ha nge N a t i ona l B a nk B ui l di ng. H i s c a r e e r s a w a s i x ye a r hi a t us w i t h t he ons e t o f W or l d W a r I I H e w a s c a l l e d t o a c t i ve dut y i n 1940 w hi l e s e r vi ng i n t he A r m y R e s e r ve a s a 1s t L t 24 t h I n f a nt r y R e gi m e nt ; s e r ve d i n t he P a c i f i c T he a t e r w he r e he c ont r a c t e d m a l a r i a a de bi l i t a t i ng c ondi t i on w hi c h c a us e d hi m t o r un a l ow g r a de f e v e r f or ye a r s A f t e r be i ng r e t ur ne d t o t he s t a t e s f o r m e di c a l t r e a t m e nt he ha d i nt e r i m dut y a s a ba t t a l i on c om m a nde r a t M I T H e w ound up a s C h i e f of C ont r a c t s f or H e a dqua r t e r s 8t h S e r vi c e C om m a nd i n D a l l a s A s t r ol ogy e nt hus i a s t s w i l l know t ha t a s N i c k w a s bor n on S e pt e m be r 12 he w a s a V i r go. V i r gos a s t he l e ge nd goe s t e nd t o be f us s y, ha ve a ke e n e nj oym e nt of be a ut i f ul t hi ngs a nd a r e t hought t o be a bl e t o do m or e t ha n one t hi ng w e l l L ook i ng ba c k ove r N i c k's l i f e a nd c a r e e r one t e nds t o t hi nk t he r e m a y be s om e t hi ng t o t hi s bus i ne s s a bout t he s t a r s a nd pl a ne t s W hi l e he w a s on t he a s s i gnm e nt i n D a l l a s he de m ons t r a t e d t he f us s y j udgm e nt a nd l ove o f t hi ngs be a ut i f ul e xpe c t e d of V i r go pe opl e w he n he m e t c our t e d a nd l a t e r w e d hi s w i f e of 50 ye a r s M a r ga r e t a t a l l s t unni ng br une t t e N i c k's a ppe t i t e f or pol i t i c a l l y c onne c t e d l e ga l w or k t ook a n up t ur n i n l a t e 1959 a nd ne ve r di m i ni s he d f or t he r e s t of hi s pr oduc t i ve l i f e C i t y A t t or ne y P a ul l D i xon a dde d F a l s one t o hi s s t a f f o f a s s i s t a nt s I n 1962 t he T a m pa T i m e s r e por t e d on a di s put a t i ous e xc ha nge be t w e e n F a l s one a nd S t a t e A t t or ne y, P a u l B J ohns on w i t h C ons t a bl e M a l c ol m B e a r d on t he f r i nge o f t he a r gum e nt A c c or di ng t o t he s t or y, M uni c i pa l J udge s B ob M J ohns on a nd W a l t e r B ur ns i de J r ( bot h now de c e a s e d) t hought t he y s houl d ha ve t he a ut hor i t y of c om m i t t i ng m a gi s t r a t e s F a l s one s upp or t e d t he i r pos i t i on, c i t i ng a r e c e nt A t t or ne y G e ne r a l 's opi ni on on t he i s s ue H e a l s o publ i c l y c om m e nt e d, ( S t a t e A t t or ne y ) J ohns on i s not onl y w a y out of l i ne i n hi s a t t a c k of t hi s pl a n, he 's got no bus i ne s s ge t t i ng i nt o t he s i t ua t i on. F a l s one a c c or di ng t o t he T i m e s r a ppe d C ons t a bl e B e a r d a nd a s s e r t e d t ha t B e a r d's of f i c e w oul d not be c i r c um ve nt e d one i ot a O n t he c ont r a r y he w i l l a ut om a t i c a l l y be i nc l ude d i n t he a r e a D e s pi t e t he A s s i s t a nt C i t y A t t or ne y's ba c ki ng, t he

PAGE 3

e f f or t t o e nl a r ge t he j ur i s di c t i on of t he c i t y's m uni c i pa l j udge s f a i l e d. N e ve r t he l e s s t ha t s a m e ye a r N i c k's s e r vi c e s f or t he l e ga l de pa r t m e nt w e r e pr a i s e d by t he C l e r k a nd C i t y C ounc i l N i c k's ne xt r ound of publ i c s e r vi c e c a m e w he n he w a s a ppoi nt e d A s s i s t a nt S t a t e A t t or ne y unde r P a ul A nt i no r i H i s s t a r w a s i n t he a s c e nda nc y, i t w oul d a ppe a r be c a us e w he n M uni c i pa l J udge J a m e s P C a l houn a dva nc e d t o be c om e a j udge of J uve ni l e C our t i n 1968, M a yor G r e c o f a vor e d N i c k w i t h a ppoi nt m e nt a s C a l houn's s uc c e s s or P r oba bl y hi s m os t not or i ous C i t y C our t c a s e w a s C i t y of T a m pa v J ani s J opl i n J opl i n w a s c ha r ge d w i t h t w o c ount s of obs c e ne l a ngua ge dur i ng he r c o nc e r t a t C ur t i s H i xon H a l l S he ne ve r a ppe a r e d, he r l a w ye r e nt e r e d a p l e a of nol o c ont e n de r e a nd J udge F a l s one f i ne d he r $204. I n 1969, one o f T am pa T i m e s m os t popul a r c ol um ni s t s B ob T ur ne r w ho f e a t ur e d s t or i e s on l oc a l pol i t i c a l t opi c s r e po r t e d t ha t T hom a s A M i l l e r S r ( t he n a W o r ke r s C om pe ns a t i on J u dge ) w a s pol i t i c ki ng f or a ne w l y c r e a t e d C ount y J udge 's s e a t N i c k J F a l s one T ur ne r s a i d, w a s c ons i de r i ng t he r a c e T hos e t w o c ont e nde d, a nd t he f i na l t a l l y w a s : F a l s one 27, 452; M i l l e r 15, 951 J os e ph G r os s f i ni s he d t hi r d N o doubt e ne r gi z e d a nd e nc our a ge d by hi s s uc c e s s i n t he a bove m e nt i one d e l e c t i on, N i c k a nnounc e d hi s c a ndi da c y f or a C i r c ui t C our t j udge s hi p, G r oup 14 i n J ul y, 1972. D ue t o t he a m e ndm e nt s t o A r t i c l e V of t he C ons t i t ut i on w hi c h be c a m e e f f e c t i ve J a nua r y 1, 1973 C ount y J udge s w e r e e l e va t e d t o t he C i r c ui t l e ve l H e w a s e l e c t e d w i t hout oppos i t i on a nd s e r ve d c ont i nuous l y i n P r oba t e G u a r di a ns hi p a nd T r us t D i vi s i on, a n a r e a i n w hi c h he w a s e s pe c i a l l y i nt e r e s t e d a nd e xpe r i e n c e d, unt i l h i s i nvol unt a r y r e t i r e m e nt a t a ge 70. J udge F a l s one w a s t he s ubj e c t of num e r ous ne w s s t or i e s i n l a t e 1979 a nd t h r ough t he f i r s t qua r t e r of t he f o l l ow i ng ye a r N i c k ba dl y w a nt e d t o s e r ve out hi s f ul l t e r m but c oul d not due t o c ons t i t ut i ona l c i r c um s t r i c t i ons H e got t he he l p of R e pr e s e nt a t i ve L e e M of f i t t a nd S e na t or P a t F r a nk w ho s pons or e d a c ons t i t ut i o na l a m e ndm e nt t o a l l ow a l l j udge s t o c om pl e t e t he i r t e r m r e ga r d l e s s of w he n t he y r e a c he d t he m a nda t or y r e t i r e m e nt a ge J udge F a l s one a nd J udge S a m S i l ve r of M i a m i w e r e t w o of t he w oul d be be ne f i c i a r i e s T he i r hope s w e r e da s he d w he n D e m ps e y B a r r on, pow e r f ul c ha i r o f S e na t e R ul e s C om m i t t e e bl oc ke d t he pr opos a l f r om c om i ng t o t he f l oo r B a r r on w a s quot e d a s s a yi ng, I t w oul d be s i m pl e r t o pa s s a bi l l t o m a ke t ha t j udge ( F a l s one ) t w o ye a r s younge r t ha n t o ge t t he c ons t i t ut i ona l a m e ndm e nt on t he ba l l ot T ha t w a s t ha t a nd N i c k w a s obl i ge d t o r e t i r e on S e pt e m be r 12, 1980. C ha r l e s S c r uggs w ho s e r ve d w i t h N i c k on M uni c i pa l C our t a nd i s a f o r m e r C i r c ui t j udge hi m s e l f c on f i r m s w ha t N i c k's f r i e nds a nd c o l l e a gue s know : A bou t 90% o f hi s c a s ua l c onve r s a t i ons c e nt e r e d on hi s e xpl oi t s a s a duf f e r N i c k a nd t he l a t e J udge R oge r F l ynn pl a ye d a l o t of gol f t oge t he r a nd w e r e c ont i n ua l l y pl a yi ng pr a c t i c a l j oke s on one a not he r T he m os t i m po r t a nt t h i ngs i n N i c k's l i f e w e r e hi s G od, hi s be l ove d w i f e M a r ga r e t a nd t he l a w ( w i t h gol f a c l os e f ou r t h) N i c k a nd M a r ga r e t s pe nt a l ot of t i m e on t he l i nks a t P a l m a C e i a G ol f a nd C ount r y C l ub. O ne of hi s t w o a c e s ( hol e s i n one ) oc c ur r e d a bout 16 ye a r s a go on t he s hor t but t r i c ky P a r 3 4t h ho l e w hi l e t he F a l s one s w e r e pl a yi ng w i t h D r R obt C of f e r a nd w i f e S a l l y. T hi s s c r i be r e m e m be r s one vi vi d e xpe r i e nc e on t he s a m e c our s e w he n N i c k a nd I w e r e i n t he s a m e f our s om e on S a t ur da y. A s N i c k w a s pr e pa r i ng t o hi t hi s t e e s hot on t he 9t h hol e a gol f e r ( unna m e d hom e bui l de r ) w a l ki ng dow n t he a dj a c e nt 3 r d hol e s e pa r a t e d

PAGE 4

by a pond a nd a bout 70 80 ya r ds f r om t he 9t h t e e hol l e r e d a t N i c k: H ow 's t he c r ooke d j udge ? N i c k's c ount e na nc e ha r de ne d, hi s f a c e t ur n e d r e d, a nd he s t r ode o f f t he t e e br a ndi s hi ng hi s dr i ve r i n t he di r e c t i on of t he w i s e a c r e N i c k ba w l e d h i m out i n no unc e r t a i n t e r m s bu t a f t e r a f e w t e ns e m om e nt s t he of f e nde r a pol ogi z e d. T ha t e pi s ode oc c ur r e d a bout t he t i m e of t he pub l i c s c a nda l i nvol vi ng t w o H i l l s bor ough C ount y j udge s N i c k t ook s om e ki ddi ng a bout hi s gol f s w i ng. C onve nt i ona l w i s dom f or gol f e r s i s t o ke e p t he r i ght a r m c l os e t o t he body on t he ba c ks w i ng. N i c k's a r m a nd e l bow w oul d f l y out l i ke a c hi c ke n w i ng ( t he C o l one l S a nde r s s yndr om e ) I t di d n't bot he r N i c k, t ha t w a s j us t hi s s t yl e a nd i t i n no w a y l e s s e ne d hi s e nj oym e nt of w ha t ha s be e n de s c r i be d a s a ga m e de s i gne d by t he D e vi l hi m s e l f N i c k w a s a w a r m a nd c he e r f ul i ndi vi dua l w ho m a d e f r i e nds e a s i l y. H e kne w e ve r yone w ho w a s a nybody i n T a m pa ; a nd hi s f l ue nc y i n S pa ni s h a nd I t a l i a n, a nd hi s pr a i s e w or t hy pe r f or m a nc e i n di f f e r e nt r e s pons i bi l i t i e s ove r t he ye a r s m a de hi m a pot e nt f a c t or i n T a m pa 's pol i t i c a l l a nds c a pe A s l ong a s j u dge s a r e e l e c t e d, pol i t i c s i n t he b r oa d s e ns e w i l l be a l w a ys a s i gni f i c a nt e l e m e nt i n t he pr oc e s s A f t e r hi s r e t i r e m e nt e xc e pt f or a s e r i e s of ba c k a n d hi p s ur ge r i e s i n hi s l a s t ye a r s N i c k a nd M a r ga r e t l i ve d l a dol c e v i t a a w e l l de s e r ve d br e a k i n t he f e ve r of l i f e f or a m a n w hos e i nt e l l e c t i nt e g r i t y, t e m pe r a m e nt a nd e xpe r i e nc e m a de hi m a n e ve r l a s t i ng c r e di t t o t he j udi c i a r y of H i l l s bor ough C ount y. M or i s on B uc k A f t e r w or d: N ot hi ng i s of t e n a good t h i ng t o do, a nd a l w a ys a b r i l l i a nt t hi ng t o s a y. E dw ar d B e nne t t W i l l i am s f am e d t r i al l aw y e r


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Cras ut cursus ante, a fringilla nunc. Mauris lorem nunc, cursus sit amet enim ac, vehicula vestibulum mi. Mauris viverra nisl vel enim faucibus porta. Praesent sit amet ornare diam, non finibus nulla.

MLA

Cras efficitur magna et sapien varius, luctus ullamcorper dolor convallis. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Fusce sit amet justo ut erat laoreet congue sed a ante.

CHICAGO

Phasellus ornare in augue eu imperdiet. Donec malesuada sapien ante, at vehicula orci tempor molestie. Proin vitae urna elit. Pellentesque vitae nisi et diam euismod malesuada aliquet non erat.

WIKIPEDIA

Nunc fringilla dolor ut dictum placerat. Proin ac neque rutrum, consectetur ligula id, laoreet ligula. Nulla lorem massa, consectetur vitae consequat in, lobortis at dolor. Nunc sed leo odio.