Hubbart: The Reaction

June 20, 2011 Phillip A. Hubbart

I have received a huge outpouring of support for Phil: blog comments, Facebook posts, emails, and phone calls from former and current assistant PDs, former law clerks, and a lot of lawyers. All of them from the heart and worth more than some piece of silverware with an inscription. The love and respect comes from everyone who worked with him.

Bennett Brummer, who took the reins of the Public Defender’s Office from Phil, wrote a wonderful comment to my piece on Hubbart. His last paragraph however was a shock. Bennett wrote:  “This week, some of us supported Phil’s nomination to become a “Legal Legend,” a recognition sponsored by the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Historical Society. Although this effort was unsuccessful, we will try again next year.”

The 11th Judicial Circuit Historical Society created the Legal Legends award, according to their website, for “those who have made substantial contributions to the law, legal system, or administration of justice over a period of 25 years or more.” Yet somehow they overlooked the contribution of Hubbart to the system of justice in this county. If anyone knows someone on this committee please reach out to them.

A lot of suggestions have poured in on how to honor him. I think we should follow the examples of how we have honored other revered judges in our legal community. We quite properly named a federal courthouse The James Lawrence King Courthouse. Judge King for decades charted the course of justice in the federal court in Miami. I was in the midst of a trial with Judge King when Hurricane Andrew slammed into and devastated South Florida. He took a day off in the midst of a four-month trial to fly by helicopter down to South Dade and oversee relocating the prisoners in the MCC. I call that multi-tasking. King, like Hurricane Andrew, is a force of nature.

Another perfect example is that the newest federal courthouse is named the Wilkie Ferguson Courthouse. Every lawyer looked forward to trying a case before Judge Ferguson. He was just a nice guy without any airs and always treated us as equals. In my (not so) humble opinion, courthouses should only be named after judges. I know Dick Gerstein had many fans; in fact I respected, admired and feared Gerstein, but the courthouse is the domain of judges and the best should be awarded with the naming distinction. How about Ft. Lauderdale for Jose Gonzalez? Or one for Bill Hoeveler (albeit that might not be enough, perhaps the Everglades or Coral Gables)?

Hubbart, being the renaissance man he is, has just written a wonderful book about the Civil War using the letters of his great great grandfather. The book is entitled: “An Iowa Soldier Writes Home: The Civil War Letters of Union Private Daniel J. Parvin.” The book is published by Carolina Academic Press in Durham, N.C. It is a paperback, is approximately 200 pages long, has 26 illustrations (photos, maps, and a family tree), and is an edited collection (with commentary) of 117 letters that Daniel J. Parvin wrote home to his wife and family. Parvin was in the Civil War for nearly its duration, 1861-65, and was in some of the war’s major battles: the Battle of Shiloh (where he nearly escaped death), the Vicksburg campaign (where he served in a reserve capacity), and the Atlanta campaign (where he was seriously wounded and almost died). His descriptions of these battles are absolutely riveting. Phil’s mother (Parvin’s great granddaughter) inherited these letters from the family, later donated them to a museum in Parvin’s hometown (Muscatine, Iowa), and made copies for Phil.  Phil has edited these letters with extensive commentary. You may inspect the book on Amazon, as well as from the publisher’s website. And you know how well Hubbart can write! Mark your calendars: On July 8, 2011 (Friday) at 8pm at Coral Gables Books and Books, Phil will be giving a talk and signing books.

Please try to make it and show your appreciation of a great lawyer, a great public defender, and a great man.