A MESSAGE FROM JACK Gutman
After 31 years of diverse legal experience with a longstanding record of honesty and integrity, I now seek to further support my community and the citizens of the State of Florida by running for County Court Judge in Hillsborough County in the 2018 election cycle.
My legal background is broad and deep. I began practicing in Hillsborough County thirty-one years ago. The first fourteen years of my career were spent both as a State Prosecutor and as a defense attorney practicing criminal law. As a prosecutor for eleven years, I rose through the ranks and served as a Senior Trial Attorney, Deputy Division Chief and Felony Division Chief with the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office. I prosecuted some of Florida’s most serious crimes which included First-Degree Murder, Armed Robbery, Kidnapping, Drug Trafficking and Racketeering among others. As a Felony Division Chief, I was the lead prosecutor in charge of a felony division which included the supervision of four other prosecutors assigned to the division. As a defense attorney, I represented many defendants accused of serious crimes such as First-Degree Murder, Sexual Battery, Armed Robbery, Drug Trafficking, Racketeering and Burglary in addition to many other serious felonies. Further as a defense attorney, I was awarded a contract by Hillsborough County to serve as conflict counsel for indigent defendants whom the Public Defender’s Office could not represent due to conflicts of interest.
In 2001, I transitioned to a civil trial practice and began work with the State of Florida Office of the Attorney General where I served as a Senior Assistant Attorney General for five years. During that time, I focused on Eminent Domain litigation representing the Florida Department of Transportation in numerous valuation litigation matters. I was promoted during that time to Deputy Bureau Chief where I was responsible for supervising a staff of attorneys and paralegals in the Eminent Domain Section of the Attorney General’s Tampa Office.
In 2006, I opened my own firm in Tampa and practiced predominantly eminent domain litigation for the next seven years. During this time, I was certified by the Florida Supreme Court as a Circuit Court Civil Mediator and mediated numerous eminent domain cases and residential foreclosure cases throughout the State of Florida. At the same time, I and my firm were hired by various cities and counties to represent them in their eminent domain litigation matters. My firm and I represented the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County, Indian River County and Leon County in various eminent domain matters. I also represented numerous property and business owners throughout the State of Florida whose property was taken by various governmental entities through their eminent domain power.
In 2013, I joined the staff at the Pasco County Attorney’s office to serve as a Senior Assistant County Attorney to represent fast-growing Pasco County in its eminent domain matters to help acquire the right of way needed to accommodate that growth.
In addition to my diverse professional experience, I have striven to demonstrate the highest levels of professionalism and integrity throughout my career. I have been awarded an AV rating from the Martindale Hubbell attorney rating service as recognized by my peers. The AV rating demonstrates the highest level of ethics and professionalism.
I have continuously demonstrated a commitment to my community. I previously served on a Grievance Committee for the Florida Bar investigating complaints made by citizens against members of the Florida Bar. I also served as committee chair and was recognized with a Certificate of Meritorious Service by the Florida Bar. In addition to my work on the Grievance Committee, I previously volunteered and served as a Teen Court Judge for the Hillsborough County Teen Court Program. For the past 12 years I have served on the Board of Directors of the MacDonald Training Center (MTC) whose mission is ‘to empower people with disabilities to live the lives they choose’. During my time with MTC, I have served as both Vice Chair and Chairman of the Board and currently serve on the Executive Committee of the Board and its Strategic Planning Committee.
As a resident of Hillsborough County for the past 45 years, I grew up in South Tampa, attending Gorrie Elementary, Wilson Jr. High School and Plant High School before obtaining a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University and my law degree from the University of Miami School of Law. I reside in Lutz with my wife of 25 years, Carlene. We have two adult children of whom we are very proud. Samantha is a 2016 graduate from the University of Florida and she currently resides in Nashville Tenn. Matthew is a junior at the University of Central Florida majoring in aerospace engineering.