From Public Defender to Guardian ad Litem, attorney urges others to help

Some of Randy Moore’s best legal work over the years occurred after his client had been found guilty of a horrendous crime.

That’s when Moore, who was chief assistant public defender for many years until his retirement in 2014, would have to dig deep, look under proverbial rocks, investigate, interview people in a bid to find the one mitigating factor that might save his client from a lethal injection.

No matter the outcome, he was, more often than not, usually able to present a compelling case to the jury why his client’s life should be spared. Usually the argument Moore made had to do with how his client had been raised.

“It became apparent to me, from the beginning of my career as an assistant PD, that bad or nonexistent parenting played a significant role in shaping many of the people I represented and the decisions they made,” Moore said last week. “From the beginning I thought “what if” someone ― a teacher, a coach, a counselor, a responsible adult ― had recognized the abuse and the neglect suffered by a defenseless child and cared enough to intervene and stop it; maybe that child’s life would have taken a completely different direction, maybe that child would have made better choices and not become someone I had to defend as an attorney.”

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That is what prompted Moore to become a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) in 2017. And it’s that important volunteer work of advocating for and representing neglected, abused and abandoned children in dependency court that resulted in Moore winning the Florida Bar 2023 Pro Bono Award for the 18th Judicial Circuit.

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Attorney Jessica Travis said Moore is a perfect fit to volunteer as a Guardian ad Litem.

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