Thomas Truett Ott

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Thomas Truett Ott

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Title:
Thomas Truett Ott from Mississippi gentleman to Florida lawyer, state senator, appellate judge and back (1920-2005)
Creator:
Buck, Morison
Place of Publication:
[Tampa, Fla
Publisher:
Morison Buck
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 online resource (9 p.) : ill. ;

Subjects

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

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General Note:
Title from caption.

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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:
B28-00042 ( USFLDC DOI )
b28.42 ( USFLDC Handle )
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1 T H O M A S T R U E T T O T T F R O M M I S S I S S I P P I G E N T L E M A N T O F L O R I D A L A W Y E R S T A T E S E N A T O R A P P E L L A T E J U D G E A N D B A C K ( 1920 2005) T hos e of us w ho w e r e e xpos e d t o E ngl i s h L i t e r a t ur e 101 i n s c hool a m i l l e nni um o r s o a go pr oba bl y t hought on s e e i ng t he na m e t ha t G e or ge E l i ot w a s a s t r a ppi ng, V i c t or i a n e r a m a l e H i s r e a l na m e w a s M a r y A nn E va ns a nd he w a s of c our s e a w om a n. H e r phot ogr a ph r e ve a l s t ha t G e or ge w a s not a be a ut y. S he f oc us e d l a r ge l y on m o r a l i s s ue s but s he s t oppe d goi ng t o c hur c h on pr i nc i pl e O n one o c c a s i on s he w a s s e e n s t r ol l i ng t hr ough T r i n i t y C ol l e ge C a m br i dge s pe a ki ng t he s e w or ds : G od I m m or a l i t y a nd D ut y ; t he n s he a nnounc e d t ha t t he f i r s t w a s i nc onc e i va bl e t he s e c ond unbe l i e va bl e but t he t hi r d w a s a bs ol ut e a nd pe r e m pt or y. E l i ot w a s but f i ve ye a r s of a ge w he n L or d B yr on di e d a t M i s s ol onghi G r e e c e i n 1824 W he n a s ke d a bout hi s r e l i gi ous vi e w s B yr on a ns w e r e d: I de ny no t hi ng b ut doubt e ve r yt hi ng T r ue t t O t t s f o r e be a r s w e r e s t r ong s out he r n B a pt i s t s a nd i t i s a c e r t a i nt y t ha t t he i r f a i t h pr e va i l e d ove r t he a t he i s t i c be l i e f s of E l i ot a n d B yr on. T r ue t t s l i f e w a s a n a f f i r m a t i on of t he be l i e f s of hi s a nc e s t or s w hi c h w e r e pa s s e d a l ong t o hi m und i l ut e d. A f t e r hi s W or l d W a r d I I s e r vi c e a nd hi s unde r g r a dua t e w or ke d f ol l ow e d by hi s g r a dua t i on w i t h hono r s a t U ni ve r s i t y of F l or i da C ol l e ge of L a w i n 1948 he be c a m e c onne c t e d s ol i dl y a t F i r s t B a pt i s t C hur c h of T a m pa W he n J udge O K R e a ve s w ho f o r m a ny ye a r s ha d t a ught a n a dul t S unda y S c hool c l a s s a t t he c hur c h, be c a m e phys i c a l l y una bl e t o c ont i nue T r ue t t O t t a s s um e d t ha t r e s pons i bi l i t y a nd c ont i nue d t e a c hi ng i n t he S unda y S c hool p r ogr a m f or m or e t ha n ha l f a c e nt u r y. A s a n a s i de t hi s s c r i be a nd w i f e a r e pa r e nt s of t w o ot he r c hi l dr e n bu t w e w i l l ne ve r f or ge t w he n our ol de s t da ught e r R os a l i e ( D e de ) now 60, w ho a t t e nde d S unda y S c h ool i n a P r e s byt e r i a n s e t t i ng a t a n e a r l y a ge r e f e r r e d t o t hos e w ho a t t e nde d T r ue t t s c hu r c h a s B a p A T i s t s W e s t i l l c huc kl e w he n r e m i nde d of i t T r ue t t O t t w a s a t r ue S on of t he S out h H i s e a r l y y e a r s w e r e s pe nt i n O s yka M i s s i s s i ppi hi s be l ove d bi r t hpl a c e O s yka i s a s m a l l t ow n i n s out he r nm os t M i s s ha r d

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2 by t he L ou i s i a na s t a t e l i ne I t w a s e ve n s m a l l e r w h e n T r ue t t a r r i ve d t he s e c ond c hi l d a nd onl y s on of W J a nd M a ggi e O t t on O c t obe r 25 1920. F a t e or de s t i ny, c a l l i t w ha t you m a y, pl a ye d a r ol e i n T r ue t t s de c i s i on t o r e t ur n t o hi s r oot s f ol l ow i ng hi s r e t i r e m e nt f r om t he S e c ond D i s t r i c t C our t of A ppe a l i n 1985. L uc y V e r na do c om pi l e d a n i nf o r m a l hi s t or y of t he t ow n of O s yka s pa nni ng t he ye a r s f r om 1812 1978. S he r e l a t e s t ha t O s yka ( a C hoc t a w I ndi a n na m e m e a ni ng S oa r i ng E a gl e ) ha d ne ve r a s of t he t i m e of he r h i s t or i c a l a c c ount ha d a popul a t i on w hi c h ne ve r e xc e e de d one t hous a nd. S he a l s o s a i d s om e t hi ngs w hi c h c oul d be pr ophe t i c a l l y a pt w he n a ppl i e d t o T r ue t t a nd A ni t a O t t : I n O s a yka t he young g r e w up, go a w a y, r e t u r n, a nd t he n go a w a y a ga i n, t o r e t ur n i n r e t i r e m e nt t o e nj oy t he i r l e i s ur e ye a r s T he pa s t de t e r m i ne s t he p r e s e nt a nd a f f e c t s t he f ut ur e T he pa s t t r a i l s a f t e r us a l l t hr o ugh t he ye a r s w he t he r or not w e de s i r e t ha t i t s houl d. B l e s s e d a r e t he c hi l dr e n w hos e pa r e nt s or ot he r a dul t s t a ke t i m e t o s ha r e w i t h t he m t he i r pa s t e xpe r i e nc e s T he young s e e m t o t une out a dul t s ye t t he y r e m e m be r f a r m or e t ha n w e r e a l i z e T he n, a t s om e f ut ur e t i m e m e m o r i e s of w ha t ha s be e n he a r d r e t ur ns l i ke s hi ni ng m e t e or s t o br i ght e n t he i r da ys H ow of t e n w e he a r s om e one s a y, I w i s h t ha t I ha d l i s t e ne d m or e a nd ha d r e c or de d w ha t w a s t ol d t o m e A l a s i t i s t oo l a t e W he n T r ue t t w a s bo r n, hi s pa r e nt s ga ve hi m t he C hr i s t i a n na m e T r ue t t out of a dm i r a t i on f o r G e or ge W a s hi ngt on T r ue t t S ou t he r n a nd w or l dw i de B a pt i s t l e a de r T he l a t t e r pe r s ona ge w a s pa s t or of t he F i r s t B a pt i s t C hur c h i n D a l l a s T e xa s f r o m 1897 unt i l hi s de a t h i n 1944 gr ow i ng t o b e c om e t he l a r ge s t c ongr e ga t i on i n t he w or l d a t t he t i m e R e v. T r ue t t w a s s o f a m ous t ha t he m a de a n a dd r e s s on B a pt i s t s a nd R e l i gi ous L i be r t y on t he s t e ps of t he C a pi t ol i n W a s hi ngt on, D C i n M a y of t he s a m e ye a r i n w hi c h J udge O t t w a s bor n. A f t e r f i n i s hi ng hi gh s c hool i n hi s hom e t ow n T r ue t t w a s gr a nt e d a w o r ki ng s c hol a r s hi p a t H i nds J uni or C ol l e ge J a c ks on, M i s s A nd l e t t e r e d i n t e nni s f or bot h ye a r s ; i t w a s a s por t he e nj oye d a nd c ont i nue d t o pl a y unt i l hi s r e t i r e m e nt a nd m ove ba c k t o M i s s i s s i ppi T r ue t t a nd B r i t t W hi t a ke r w e l l know n j our ne ym a n T a m pa l a w ye r a nd s on of t he l e ge nda r y P a t W hi t a ke r of a not he r e r a c om pe t e d i n a pi c kup t e nni s m a t c h, pr oba bl y a t D a vi s I s l a nds T e nni s f a c i l i t y i n t he l a t e s e ve nt i e s B r i t t w a s ye a r s younge r i n good s ha pe a n d c ons i de r e d hi m s e l f t o be a p r e t t y g ood pl a ye r a nd he s a i d r e c e nt l y t ha t he w a s c onf i de nt he w oul d vi r t ua l l y r un hi s o l de r opp one nt of f t he c our t A t a r e c e nt i nf or m a l ga t he r i ng of f o r m e r T a m pa j udge s a t a n i nf or m a l l unc he on a t V a l e nc i a G a r de n, B r i t t c o nc e de d t ha t T r ue t t be a t t he s oc ks of f hi m t o hi s s ur pr i s e a nd c ha gr i n B r i t t l i ve s i n T a m pa but i s r e t i r e d f r om t he p r a c t i c e of l a w T he m os t i m po r t a nt m a t c h of h i s l i f e r e s ul t e d i n T r ue t t s w i nni ng t he he a r t o f A ni t a W i l l i a m s hi s w i f e of 63 ye a r s S he w a s bor n i n G r a c e vi l l e F l a but gr e w up i n T a l l a ha s s e e a de s c e nda nt of A ndr e w E l t on W i l l i a m s a l a r ge pi one e r i ng f a m i l y i n t hi s s t a t e I t a l l s t a r t e d a t F l o r i da S t a t e C ol l e ge f or W om e n, f or e r unne r o f F S U i n T a l l a ha s s e e w he r e A ni t a t w o ye a r s yo unge r t ha n T r ue t t w a s e nr ol l e d. T he y m e t a t a

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3 s c hool pa r t y. H e r b r ot he r H ugh, w a s a n i nvi t e e a nd T r ue t t w a s i nc l ude d a s H ugh s f r i e nd. T he s c hool s oc i a l t ook p l a c e not l ong be f or e t he f i r s t pha s e of T r ue t t s s e r vi c e i n t he A r m y A i r C or ps ove r t he e ns ui ng f i ve ye a r s du r i ng W or l d W a r I I T he r e f ol l ow s a s um m a r y of hi s s e r vi c e i n bot h t he A r m y A i r C or p s a nd t he U S A i r F o r c e w hi c h w a s c r e a t e d a s a s e pa r a t e de pa r t m e nt on S e pt 18 1947 : E nt e r e d U S. A r m y A i r C or ps F l y i ng Sc hool as av i at i on c ade t i n J anuar y 1941 gr aduat e d and c om m i s s i one d 2 n d L t O c t obe r 194 1. A s s i gne d t o 54 t h F i ght e r G r oup at D al e M abr y A i r F or c e B as e T al l ahas s e e F l or i da. O r de r e d t o P anam a C anal Z one w i t h 54 t h F i ght e r G r oup on D e c e m be r 9, 1941. Se r v e d c ont i nuous l y i n t hi s T he a t e r as a f i ght e r pi l ot be c am e as s i s t ant D i r e c t or of O pe r at i ons and T r ai ni ng f or 26 t h F i ght e r C om m and and f i nal l y A s s i s t ant D i r e c t or of O pe r at i ons and T r ai ni ng C ar i bbe an D e f e ns e C om m and. I n t hi s c apac i t y w or k e d w i t h G ov e r nm e nt s and A i r F or c e s of al l C e n t r al and Sout h A m e r i c an C ount r i e s i n s e t t i ng up, t r ai ni ng a nd i nc or por at i ng t he i r f l y i ng uni t s i n t o U S. A i r F or c e C om bat E l e m e nt s f or j oi nt ope r at i ons i n t he v ar i ous c om bat ar e as and i n s upe r v i s i ng t he U S. A i r F or c e F i ght e r ope r at i ons and t r ai ni ng i n t he num e r ous i ns t al l at i ons t hr oughout C ar i bbe an, C e nt r al and S out h A m e r i c a. D i s c har ge d w i t h r ank of M aj or i n J anuar y 1946. R e c al l e d t o ac t i v e dut y w i t h r ank of L t C ol i n J une 1950 at out br e ak of K or e an W ar and s e r v e d 17 m ont hs as D i r e c t or of O pe r at i ons a nd T r ai ni ng, M ac D i l l A i r F or c e B as e D ur i ng T r ue t t s a bs e nc e A ni t a s t a ye d bus y; s he g r a dua t e d f r om F S C W t a ught s c hool i n T a l l a ha s e e a nd ga ve bi r t h t o t he i r f i r s t c h i l d, a da ught e r T he y m ove d t o G a i ne s vi l l e f ol l ow i ng W W I I a nd l i ve d i n F l a ve t V i l l a ge ( G I hous i ng) W hi l e T r ue t t w a s f i ni s hi ng hi s e duc a t i on, t he y ha d a s e c ond c hi l d. A f t e r gr a dua t i on t he y m ove d t o T a m pa w he r e t he y r e m a i ne d f o r 40 ye a r s ha vi ng t w o m or e c hi l d r e n. B ot h w e r e he a vi l y i nvol ve d i n t he c om m uni t y. T r ue t t s pr o f e s s i ona l a nd pub l i c s e r vi c e w i l l be de t a i l e d l a t e r A ni t a s i nvol ve m e nt i nc l ude d o f f i c e s i n t he H i l l s b or ough C ount y B a r A uxi l i a r y, s e r vi c e on boa r ds of t he H e a r t A s s oc i a t i on, M e t r opol i t a n M i ni s t r i e s a nd P T A B oa r ds of G o r r i e W i l s on a nd P l a nt H i gh S c hool S he w a s a l s o a l e a de r i n B r ow ni e a nd C ub S c out t r oops a nd t e a c he r of W om e n s B i bl e C l a s s F i r s t B a pt i s t C hur c h of T a m pa D a l l a s A l br i t t on i s one o f T a m pa s be s t l i ke d a nd r e s pe c t e d l a w ye r s A l e a de r i n hi s c hur c h, he i s l i ke w i s e a f o r m e r p r os e c ut or a nd pa s t P r e s i d e nt of t he H i l l s bor ough C ount y B a r A s s oc i a t i on. H e i s a ve r i t a bl e f ont o f know l e dge a bout t he l i f e a nd t i m e s of J udge T r ue t t O t t H e r e i s w ha t he ha s t o s a y: H e at t e nde d l aw s c hool at t he U ni v e r s i t y of F l or i da and gr aduat e d w i t h honor s H e pl ay e d f oot bal l i n hi s e ar l y c ol l e ge c ar e e r but I m not s ur e e x ac t l y w he r e or w he n. H e pr ac t i c e d w i t h M abr y R e av e s C ar l t on, F i e l d & W ar d, w he r e he s e r v e d as a t r i al l aw y e r pr i m ar i l y f or t he de f e ns e H e w as c al l e d t o ac t i v e dut y f r om t he A i r F or c e R e s e r v e d dur i ng t he K or e an W ar and w as as s i gne d as t he B as e O pe r at i ons and T r ai ni ng O f f i c e r at M ac D i l l A i r F or c e B as e w i t h t he r ank o f L i e ut e nant C ol one l I k now t ha t t he A i r F or c e l at e r t r i e d v e r y har d t o k e e p hi m of f e r i n g hi m a r e gul ar c om m i s s i on and pr om i s i ng hi m a pr om ot i on t o f ul l C ol one l but he de c l i ne d, t o r e t ur n t o l aw pr ac t i c e w i t h

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4 M abr y R e av e s I n e ar l y 1956 he f or m e d a l aw par t ne r s hi p w i t h C J H ar de e J r f or t he pur pos e of r e pr e s e nt i ng pl ai nt i f f s I be c am e a j uni or par t ne r i n t he f i r m l at e r t hat y e ar T e r r e l l Se s s u m s j oi ne d t he f i r m i n 1958 ( T e r r e l l a nd I l a t e r f or m e d a l aw f i r m t oge t he r w i t h St e v e Se s s um s k now n as A l br i t t on, Se s s um s & Se s s um s i n J anuar y 1961. ) T r ue t t and C J pr ac t i c e d t oge t he r f or s e v e r al y e ar s A m ong t he l aw y e r s w ho p r ac t i c e d w i t h t he m w e r e F r ank H am i l t on, w ho be c am e a par t ne r and t he f i r m w as nam e d H ar de e O t t & H am i l t on. O t he r as s oc i at e s w ho s pe nt s om e t i m e i n t hat f i r m w e r e J udge B ob M i t c ham J udge G uy Spi c ol a, J B e r t G r andof f J udge of I ndus t r i al C l ai m s B i l l D oug l as L anny M c C ul l e r s P e t e r M ac al us o, and ot he r s T he f i r m w as one of t he pi one e r pl ai nt i f f s f i r m s i n t he s t at e T r ue t t w as t he l e ad c ouns e l of m os t of t he c as e s al t hough C J H ar de e ge ne r al l y t r i e d t he m ar i t i m e c as e s be c aus e he had t he gr e at e s t f am i l i ar i t y w i t h t hat w or k T he f i r m al s o unde r t ook a f e w c r i m i nal de f e ns e c as e s t he m os t not abl e o f w hi c h w as t he G w e ndol y n H oy t c as e i n w hi c h t he H ar de e & O t t f i r m at t e m pt e d t o quas h t h e j ur y v e ni r e be c aus e t he r e w e r e not w om e n on i t ( C ar t D ur r anc e w as c o c ouns e l i n t hi s m at t e r ) a v e r y bol d m ov e f or t he t i m e s T he U S. Supr e m e C our t de ni e d c e r t i or ar i J us t i c e D ougl as di s s e nt i ng. L at e r t he H oy t c as e w as r e c ogni z e d as m aj or s t e p i n br i ngi ng about j udi c i al r e c ogni t i on t hat w om e n had a r i ght t o s e r v e on j ur i e s T hi s c as e i s w r i t t e n up i n a book on t he s ubj e c t and I c an f i nd t he c i t at i on f or y ou i f i t i s i m por t ant T r ue t t and C J w e r e qui t e ac t i v e pol i t i c al l y and m aj or c andi dat e s c am e t o t he i r of f i c e f or c ouns e l about t he i r pol i t i c al r ac e s i nc l u di ng C l aude P e ppe r T r ue t t r an f or St at e Se nat or f r om H i l l s bor ough C o unt y and w on ov e r t he i nc um be nt R e ne Z ac c hi ni A f t e r s e r v i ng as Se nat or he w as e l e c t e d w i t hout oppos i t i on t o t he Se c ond D i s t r i c t C our t of A ppe al w he r e he s e r v e d unt i l r e t i r e m e nt I n hi s l as t r e m ar k s t o t he B ar at t he t i m e of hi s r e t i r e m e nt he ur ge d t hat t he pr of e s s i on not be c om e c e nt e r e d on e ar ni ng bi g i nc om e s but t o be al w ay s s ur e t hat l aw w as a pr of e s s i on and t he pr ac t i c e of l aw w as an oppor t uni t y t o be of s e r v i c e r at he r t han a m e ans t o ac c um ul at i ng a f or t une T r ue t t w as an e x c e l l e nt at hl e t e F or m any y e ar s he pl ay e d handbal l at t he Y m os t w or k i ng day s H e al s o pl ay e d a l ot of t e nni s a ga m e he e nj oy e d and pl ay e d v e r y w e l l I be l i e v e M i k e K i nne y pl ay e d w i t h hi m f r e que nt l y H e w as al s o an av i d out door s m an and l ov e d t o f i s h. A qui c k ane c dot e W he n T r ue t t C J and I w e r e pr ac t i c i ng t oge t he r C J s pot t e d m e i n t he hal l and s ai d I w oul d l i k e f or y ou and T r ue t t t o m e e t m e i n m y of f i c e T he de m e anor on C J s f ac e w he n he s pok e t o m e m ad e m e t hi nk t hat s om e t hi ng v e r y s e r i ous had happe ne d, s om e t hi ng of de e p c onc e r n. I s pok e t o T r ue t t and w e j oi ne d C J C J c l os e d t he door and l ook e d at m e and T r ue t t B o y s he s ai d, t he m ac k e r e l ar e r unni ng! T r ue t t and I w e r e happy t o j oi n hi m i n pl ans t o go f i s hi ng f or m ac k e r e l t he ne x t day e v e n t hough i t w as t he m i ddl e of t he w e e k F i r s t t hi ngs f i r s t

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5 T r ue t t s de v ot i on t o hi s f am i l y s houl d be m e nt i one d. H i s f am i l y w as t he f oc us of hi s l i f e t hi s had pr i or i t y ov e r al l ot he r i nt e r e s t s C ha r l e s P i t t m a n of T a m pa a dm i t t e d t o t he F l or i da B a r i n 1963, a nd f or m a ny ye a r s m e m be r of t he f i r m M a c F a r l a ne F e gus on, A l l i s on & K e l l y, w a s a s ke d t o s ha r e hi s know l e dge a bout J udge O t t w i t h pa r t i c ul a r r e f e r e n c e t o t he i r m ut ua l a f f i l i a t i on w i t h F i r s t B a pt i s t C hur c h. H i s r e s pons i ve l e t t e r r e a ds : T am pa, F l or i da J une 29, 2006 D e ar J udge B uc k R e : J udge T r ue t t O t t T r ue t t w as a v e r y ac t i v e m e m be r of F i r s t B apt i s t C hur c h T am pa w he n I j o i ne d i n 1964, and he s t ay e d ac t i v e unt i l he r e t i r e d and m o v e d i n M i s s i s s i ppi i n 1984. I be l i e v e t he s t or y y ou r e c ount e d about T r ue t t r e f us i ng t o be c om e a de ac on be c aus e i t r e qui r e d a pl e dge of t ot al abs t i ne nc e i s t r ue D r M i l l ar d B e r qui s t w as pas t or f r om 1947 t o 1957 B e r qui s t w as t ot al l y agai n s t al c ohol i c be v e r age s T r ue t t l at e r be c am e a de ac on and s e r v e d as c hai r m an i n 1976 T r ue t t t aught t he B us i ne s s M e n s B i bl e C l as s f or m any y e ar s and t a ught ot he r gr oups be t w e e n 1975 and1984. H e w as pr e s i de nt of T r us t e e s F i r s t B apt i s t C hur c h, T am pa, F l or i da, pr obabl y f r om 1972 unt i l 1984 T he T r us t e e s ar e t he l e gal e nt i t y t hat hol ds t i t l e t o pr ope r t y and e x e c ut e s c ont r ac t s f or t he c hur c h. I n 1983, t he Sout he r n B apt i s t C onv e nt i on e l e c t e d T r ue t t as i t s r e pr e s e nt at i v e t o t he B apt i s t W or l d A l l i anc e H e s e r v e d 10 y e ar s unt i l 1993. I k now T r ue t t and N i t a t r av e l e d c ons i de r abl y as par t of T r ue t t s dut i e s bu t I don t k now t he f ul l e x t e nt be c aus e t he y l i v e d i n M i s s i s s i ppi at t he t i m e

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6 I n 1984 F i r s t B apt i s t C hur c h e ngage d i n a c api t al f und r ai s i ng c am pai gn. T r ue t t i ni t i al l y agr e e d t o s e r v e as c hai r m an unt i l s om e one poi nt e d out t o hi m t hat j ud i c i al e t hi c s pr e v e nt e d hi m f r om s e r v i ng i n t hat c apac i t y H e p r om pt l y r e s i gne d. I r e m e m be r T r ue t t as a G odl y m an, a good hus band and f at he r and a m an s m an. B ut I don t r e c al l any am us i ng ane c dot e s I l l w r i t e agai n i f I t hi nk of any t hi ng e l s e I appr e c i at e w hat y ou ar e doi ng and e nj oy r e adi ng y our w or k Si nc e r e l y C har l e s P i t t m an A s w a s not e d by D a l l a s A l br i t t on e a r l i e r i n hi s na r r a t i ve O t t w on a c ont e s t e d r a c e f or S t a t e S e na t e i n 1966, s e r vi ng unt i l 1972. F or t he de c a de pr i or t o t he l a t t e r ve nt u r e he w a s vi gor ous l y pr a c t i c i ng l a w a s f ounde r o f H a r de e O t t & H a m i l t on E vi de nt l y he ha d s e ve r e d hi s c onne c t i on w i t h t he M a br y R e a ve s l a w f i r m ( now know a s C a r l t on F i e l ds ) on a c c ount of s om e de gr e e of c onf l i c t w i t h E dw a r d B R ood ( now de c e a s e d) T r ue t t w a s e l e c t e d w i t hout oppos i t i on t o t he S e c ond D i s t r i c t C our t of A ppe a l on S e pt 7, 1976 a nd a s s um e d of f i c e i n J a nua r y, 1977 I t w a s dur i ng t he l a t t e r ye a r t ha t G ove r no r R e ubi n A s ke w a ppoi nt e d P a ul W D a na hy, J r t o t he S e c on d D i s t C our t w hi c h w a s he a dqua r t e r e d i n L a ke l a nd a t t he t i m e J udge s O t t a nd D a na hy be c a m e f r i e nds w o r ke d t o ge t he r a nd bot h w e r e t r a ns f e r r e d t o t he T a m pa B r a nc h of f i c e s e f f e c t i ve S e p t 29 1980 A s a br i e f s or t of f oot not e t h i s w r i t e r w a s i nvi t e d by J udge O t t t o s ubs t i t ut e f or h i m i n L a ke l a nd i n t he l a t t e r pa r t of 1980 I t w a s a m e m or a bl e e xpe r i e nc e f or a n i nf e r i or j udge by w hom t w o no doubt f or ge t t a bl e opi ni ons w e r e i s s ue d, t ha nk s t o t he ki ndne s s of J udge O t t J udge D a na hy ( now r e t i r e d but s t i l l s i t t i ng f r om t i m e t o t i m e i n T a m pa a s c a l l e d upon a t t he a ppe l l a t e l e ve l ) s om e t i m e a go w r ot e D a l l a s A l br i t t on hi s i m p r e s s i ons r e ga r di ng t he i r m ut ua l f r i e nd J udge T r ue t t O t t : T r ue t t he r e m e m be r s w as a m an w i t h an or de r l y m i nd and w or k habi t H e w as al w ay s w e l l pr e par e d at c our t and pr om pt I r e c al l how ne at and or de r l y hi s de s k w as H e t ac k l e d one i s s ue at a t i m e di s pos e d of i t and m ov e d on t o t he ne x t H e l i s t e ne d c l os e l y t o t he ar gum e nt s of at t or ne y s and pane l j u dge s i n c onf e r e nc e s as w e l l H i s s har p m i nd w as al w ay s ope n and w i t hout age ndas as t he s ay i ng goe s i n m ode r n l e gal par l anc e I t hi nk T r ue t t pl anne d ahe ad i n l i f e as w e l l as t he L or d al l ow s one t o do s o. A s y ou k now be f or e t he m e r i t s e l e c t i on pr oc e s s T r ue t t r an f or j udi c i al of f i c e ; t he n af t e r 2 y e ar s w a s r e t ai ne d, s e r v i ng, I be l i e v e 8 y e ar s on t h e 2 D C A I m s ur e he f i gur e s ahe ad t hi s hi s m i l i t ar y t i m e pl us Se nat e t i m e pl us t he y e ar s at a hi ghe r s al ar y on t h e C our t w oul d gi v e hi m s uf f i c i e nt s t at e pe ns i on, c oupl e d w i t h hi s pr i v at e as s e t s t o e nj oy hi s r e t i r e m e nt bac k i n t he ol d O s y k a w he r e he c oul d e nj oy hi s boy hood s ur r oundi ngs and

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7 pl ay t e nni s on hi s l i gh t e d ne w c our t H e l e f t qui e t l y and w i t hout m uc h f anf ar e or as I r e c al l e v e n a f ar e w e l l par t y by t he c our t B ut t ha t T r ue t t had i t al l pl anne d out and di d i t O ne gr e at s e r v i c e t o t he c our t t he publ i c and pr ac t i c i ng at t or ne y s of t he T am pa B ay ar e a; i n 1979 t he Supr e m e C our t r e c e i v e d a r e por t f r om i t s C om m i s s i on e s t abl i s he d t o s t udy t he ne e d f or a 5 t h D C A T e m C l ar k w as a m e m be r pe r haps i t s C hai r m an. I n a l e ngt hy and de t ai l e d r e por t of c as e l oads and ot he r dat a, t he C om m i s s i on r e c om m e nde d a f i f t h D C A t o be l oc at e d i n t he T am pa/ St P e t e ar e a. T he Su pr e m e C our t adopt e d t he r e por t i n an opi ni on, s e ndi ng al ong i t s r e que s t t o t he l e gi s l at ur e Spe ak e r H y at t B r ow n, pas t pr e s i de nt of t he D ay t ona B e ac h C ham be r of C om m e r c e i n ne e d of s om e ur ban r e ne w al dow nt ow n, t ur ne d t he Supr e m e C our t s r e que s t ups i de dow n, and r am m e d t hr ough hi s bi l l c r e at i ng t he 5 t h D C A i n D ay t ona l e av i ng t he 2 n d D C A w i t h m uc h gr e at e r ne e d f or r e l i e f hi gh and dr y T he f o l l ow i ng s e s s i o n L e e M of f i t t be c am e Spe ak e r and P e t e r s on ( w ho T r ue t t had j us t r e c e nt l y s e r v e d w i t h ) be c am e Se nat e P r e s i de nt T o m ak e a l ong s t or y l onge r T r ue t t and I f i gur e d out a pl an t t o ge t a T am pa br anc h on t he c he ap s i nc e t he r e w e r e no f unds nor any bas i s i n t he s t at ut e s t o do s o. F i r s t w e had t o ov e r c om e a r e l uc t ant c our t t o at l e as t s uppor t a m ov e t hat w oul dn t c os t m uc h, nor s t i r up c ont r ov e r s y So w e w e nt t o M of f i t t and P e t e r s o n w ho w e r e not t hr i l l e d w i t h t he i de a and w ho w oul dn t s uppor t any f unds i n any e v e nt s i nc e t he y w e r e t he n f undi ng t he ne w 5D C A i n D ay t ona. W e m ov e d about qui e t l y w i t h t he C ount y C om m i s s i on and C hi e f J udge f or s pac e T he j udge s agr e e d t o he l p and us e any c our t r oom not i n us e f or or al ar gum e nt s T he She r i f f l oane d a bai l i f f and t he C om m i s s i on s ai d w e c oul d r e nov at e t he ol d St ov al l P r of B l dg ne x t t o t he t he n T r i bune bui l di ng at our e x pe ns e T r ue t t and I dr e w a one s e nt e nc e am e ndm e nt t o t he D C A s t at ue aut hor i z i ng a B r anc h H qr s f or t he 2 D C A ; our M ar s hal f ound s om e $70, 000 t o r e nov at e t i ght s pac e f or 5 j udge s phone s and no r e c e pt i oni s t and t he T am pa B r anc h w as up and r unni ng. L at e r i t w as r e l oc at e d t o t he T E C O bui l di ng on F r ank l i n St t he nc e t o t he t o p f l oor of t he C ount y C our t hous e A nne x on T w i ggs St and pr e s e nt l y on t he t op f l oo r of St e t s on L aw Sc hool on T am pa St r e e t w he r e t he c our t s har e s t he v e r y ni c e c our t r o om on t he f i r s t f l oor T he f i nanc i ng f or t he s e m ov e s has be e n c r e at i v e t o s ay t he l e as t B ot t om L i ne : T r ue t t w as a f or c e f ul l e ade r and dogge d w or k e r t o obt ai n a T am pa B r an c h f or t he c our t H i s e f f or t s t ook c ount l e s s hour s and w e r e of gr e at be ne f i t t o t he op e r at i o n of t he C our t a t t or ne y s and t he publ i c T r ue t t w as t he uns ung l e ade r w i t hout que s t i on. T r ue t t a nd I w oul d w a l k a bout dow nt ow n a f t e r l un c h a nd t a l ke d a bout w ha t T a m pa w oul d s oon be c om e a s t he f i na nc i a l a nd l e ga l a nd c om m e r c i a l c e nt e r of w e s t c oa s t F l or i da I know t ha t t oda y T r ue t t w oul d ge t a bi g ki c k out of t he l ook of dow nt ow n T a m pa H e d a l s o b r e a k i nt o a bi g s m i l e i f w e w e r e j us t j a w boni ng a nd I r e m i nde d hi m of a c us t ody c a s e i n w hi c h he ha d a f f i r m e d t he t r i a l c our t a nd t he l os i ng pa r t y opi ne d t o t he S t P e t e T i m e s t ha t T he y r e j us t t hr e e ol d f ar t s ( r e f e r r i ng t o a pane l of T r ue t t m e and J ac k Sc he b. M any t i m e s w e di s c us s e d our v i e w of m ank i nd, t he pol i t i c al s c e ne of t oday and t he pas t and G od s hand i n i t al l T r ue t t w as a good m an w ho di d h i s be s t t o do good t hi ngs and good w or k s t o be ne f i t o t he r s L i k e y ou, I s hal l m i s s hi m

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8 O ne of T r ue t t s a dm i r e r s w a s T a m pa l a w ye r V a l e r i a H e ndr i c ks a nd t he f ol l ow i ng e xt e nde d r e m a r ks a t t e s t t o he r f e e l i ng a bout J udge T r ue t t O t t : I s e r v e d as a l aw c l e r k t o J udge O t t on t he Se c ond D i s t r i c t C our t of A ppe al f r om O c t obe r 1, 1984 unt i l he r e t i r e d i n D e c e m be r 1985. J udge O t t a t al l at hl e t i c m an, had an i nc r e di bl e e s s e nc e t hat w as am pl i f i e d by hi s r oar i ng Sout he r n ac c e nt N o doub t t hat v oi c e s t i l l e c hoe s t hr ough t he c ham be r s of t he F l or i da Se nat e ( w he r e he s e r v e d) as w e l l as t hr ough t he Se c ond D i s t r i c t H e adquar t e r s i n L ak e l and. C har l ot t e Si m s hi s j udi c i al as s i s t ant gav e m e s om e adv i c e w he n I s t ar t e d w or k i ng f or hi m : I f he y e l l s c hanc e s ar e he s y e l l i ng at t he c as e and no t y ou. I he e de d t h at adv i c e on s e v e r al oc c as i ons and j us t s at s i l e nt l y as he got hi s f r us t r at i ons of f hi s c he s t I s t i l l he ar hi s v oi c e o f w i s dom i n m y ow n he ad f r o m t i m e t o t i m e T he m os t m e m or abl e of l e s s ons I l e ar ne d f r om J u dge O t t i s t hat a j udge m us t f ol l ow t he l aw e v e n w he n i t c onf l i c t s w i t h t he j udge s pe r s onal m or al o r r e l i gi ous be l i e f s I obs e r v e d J udge O t t a de v out B apt i s t onc e gr appl e w i t h a de c i s i on t hat pi t t e d hi s f ai t h agai ns t hi s j udi c i al dut y t o f ol l ow t he l aw of F l or i da. I n r e s ol v i ng t he i s s ue ac c or di ng t o hi s j udi c i al dut y he c om m e nt e d t hat i t w as not hi s j udi c i al f un c t i on t o i m pos e hi s pe r s onal be l i e f s on t he c i t i z e ns of t hi s s t at e J udge O t t pos s i bl y be c aus e of hi s y e ar s i n t he F l o r i da Se nat e had an i nt ui t i v e s e ns e of t he l aw H e w oul d s om e t i m e s t e l l m e V I k now t he r e s a c as e out t he r e t hat s ay s Sur e e nough, m y l e gal r e s e ar c h w oul d t ur n up a c as e ( or t w o) t hat s t ood f or t he pr opos i t i on he w as quot i ng. H e t ol d m e w he n I f i r s t s t ar t e d m y c l e r k s hi p t hat he k ne w be t t e r t han I di d at t hat poi n t but s oon I w oul d be t e l l i ng hi m t he l aw H e w as e x t r e m e l y de v ot e d t o hi s w i f e and c hi l dr e n. I n addi t i on hi s c hur c h w as a l ar ge par t of hi s l i f e H e al s o l ov e d M i s s i s s i ppi and t he hom e he bu i l t t he r e A f t e r s e r v i ng on t he Se c ond D i s t r i c t he e nj oy e d hi s r e t i r e m e nt i n M i s s i s s i ppi T he f ol l ow i ng w or ds c am e t o m i nd w he n I t hou ght about J udge O t t : D y nam i c V i br ant E ne r ge t i c T ough G e nui ne F ai r H i s v oi c e w as boom i ng but he w as a ge nt l e m an. W he n he w as unabl e t o l oc at e a doc um e nt hi s v oi c e t hunde r e d: C H A A A L E T T ( i n hi s m os t s out he r n di al e c t ) I c an t f i nd t he Sm i t h opi ni on I w oul d e nt e r hi s of f i c e c al m l y c he c k t he s c at t e r e d pape r s on hi s de s k and l oc at e d t he l os t i t e m H e w oul d t he n qu i e t l y s m i l e and s ay T hank s H i s s m i l e w as qui c k and I ne v e r f e l t i nt i m i dat e d by hi m al t hough I k now t he r e w e r e ot he r s w ho w e r e w ar y i n hi s pr e s e n c e

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9 H e w as t he ul t i m at e Sout he r n ge nt l e m an and s c hol ar H e e x ude d c onf i de nc e and a di gni f i e d be ar i ng. H e v e r y m uc h e nj oy e d pl ay i ng t e nni s and s e l dom m i s s e d an oppor t uni t y t o pl ay I hav e t he un i que pl e as ur e of be i ng r e m i nde d of J udge O t t e ac h day J udge C hr i s A l t e nbe r nd, f or w hom I hav e w or k e d t he l as t s e v e nt e e n y e ar s doe s hi s w or k at t he s am e de s k t hat J udge O t t us e d w he n I w or k e d f or J udge O t t i n t he 80s ( I gue s s al l t hi s m ak e s m e pr e t t y ol d. ) I n a ddi t i on t o hi s ot he r pe r s ona l a nd pr of e s s i ona l a c c om pl i s hm e nt s J udge O t t s e r ve d a s a n a dj unc t pr of e s s or of pol i t i c a l s c i e nc e a t U ni ve r s i t y of S out h F l or i da H e w a s r e t a i ne d a s j udge of t he S e c ond D i s t r i c t C our t of A ppe a l i n 1982, a nd a l s o s e r ve d a s C hi e f J udge of t he c our t 1982 1984. H e de pa r t e d t hi s l i f e on M a y 14 2005 a t O s yka M i s s a s r e s ul t of a he a r t a t t a c k, l e a vi ng a s hi s s ur vi vor s hi s w i f e A ni t a da ught e r S a ndr a G a r dne r s ons T hom a s O t t G a r y O t t a nd H ugh O t t a nd hi s s i s t e r R uby M a e S t ubbs 12 gr a ndc hi l d r e n a nd 2 gr e a t gr a ndc hi l dr e n. T r ue t t O t t w a s t he s ubj e c t of a m e m or i a l t r i but e i n t he U ni t e d S t a t e s H ous e of R e pr e s e nt a t i ve s by R e p. J i m D a vi s of T a m pa on J une 8, 2005. T r ue t t O t t s r e c or d of de vot i on t o hi s w or k t o hi s f a m i l y a nd t o hi s G od a s s ur e s hi s pl a c e i n t he pa nt he on of H i l l s bor ough C ount y s f i ne s t publ i c s e r va nt s M or i s on B uc k A F T E R W O R D : A L P H A B E T F O R L I F E A c c e pt di f f e r e nc e s B e ki nd C ount your bl e s s i ngs D r e a m E xp r e s s t ha nks F or gi ve G i ve f r e e l y H a r m no one I m a gi ne m or e J e t t i s on a nge r K e e p c onf i de nc e s L ove t r ul y M a s t e r s om e t hi ng. N ur t ur e hope O p e n your m i nd P a c k l i gh t l y. Q ue l l r um or s R e c i pr oc a t e S e e k w i s dom T ough he a r t s U nde r s t a nd. V a l ue t r ut h W i n gr a c i ous l y. X e r i s c a pe Y e a r n f or pe a c e Z e a l ous l y s uppor t a w o r t hy c a us e A ut hor U nknow n


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