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Foundation to honor Judge Salcines with its Medal of Honor Award

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Judge E. J. Salcines

Judge E. J. Salcines

Retired Second District Court of Appeal Judge Emiliano Jose “E.J.” Salcines, Jr., has been selected as the recipient of The Florida Bar Foundation’s 2021 Medal of Honor Award, the Foundation’s highest honor.

The awards will be presented at the Foundation’s virtual award ceremony on June 17.

Judge Salcines is being recognized for his “trailblazing, diverse career” of more than 50 years, and his dedication to the administration of justice, public service, and education. He served on the Second DCA from 1998-2008.

“Judge Salcines joined the legal profession to serve the community and that has been his focus over the decades, honoring his parents to ‘haz bien’ – do good, do good deeds, whatever you do, do the right thing,” wrote Hernando Bernal, Jr., president of the Tampa Hispanic Bar Association, in the organization’s nomination of Salcines. “He is truly deserving of the Medal of Honor Award.”

Salcines graduated from South Texas College of Law in 1963 and was admitted to the Florida and Texas bars that year. For the next four years, he served as the assistant U.S. attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice for the Middle District of Florida. He then served as the first Hispanic prosecuting attorney in Hillsborough County from 1968 to 1985. There, he created a pilot program to divert first-time nonviolent offenders from the trial court process to a counseling and probation program, which led to the establishment of Florida’s Pre-Trial Intervention program.

He was also appointed as Florida’s first statewide prosecutor and advisor to the first statewide grand jury investigating narcotic smuggling. For 10 years, he served on the State Medical Examiners Commission, and spearheaded two national conferences on forensic sciences.

“During Judge Salcines’ tenure as the elected State Attorney of the 13th Judicial Circuit, he hired the first African American prosecutor, George Edgecomb, who later became a county judge,” wrote Judge Vivian T. Corvo in a letter supporting Salcines’ nomination. “He also hired the first female prosecutor, Gwynn Young, who later went on to become president of The Florida Bar. He hired the first prosecutor with disabilities, well before the ADA was in effect, and made changes to the office to provide wheelchair access. He was a champion for minorities at a time when that was not easy or appreciated.”

From 1974 to 2009, Salcines was a visiting lecturer at Northwestern University’s law school. He received honorary doctor of law degrees from Florida Southern College in 2002 and from Stetson University College of Law in 2008. He has had a close relationship with the University of South Florida since the 1970s, where he educated campus police officers, established the first Latino Community Advisory Committee and raised funds to develop their Latino Student Scholarships.

Salcines is the author of Trial Manual on Predicate Questions, published by the National District Attorneys Association, which is now in its third edition. He co-founded the Tampa Bay American Inn of Court in 1993. He is a member of the 13th Circuit’s Conviction Review Unit’s independent review panel. In 2014, Salcines received the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Foundation’s award ceremony will be held virtually. Registration is open now at

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