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The firm is dedicated to the provision of legal services in the areas of criminal defense, personal injury, wrongful death and general areas of litigation in both state and federal tribunals. Cases are handled aggressively while the lawyers maintain the highest level of professionalism and a spirit of collegiality.
ralph e. fernandez, esq.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Ralph Fernandez and his parents left Cuba as political exiles moving to Puerto Rico for a short time before making Tampa, FL his home for the past 60 years. After graduating from Jesuit High school in 1969, he attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He graduated in 1972, completing his engineering degree in three years. At MIT he was a recipient of the Clapp and Poliak Engineering Design Award as well as the Admiral Luis de Flores Award for Creativity and Ingenuity.
Fernandez worked as a nuclear engineer for Westinghouse Electric in the design of nuclear power plant components. In 1974 he became a club professional at the Club Tennis complex in Tampa and began tournament competition in the sport of racquetball. He became one of the top ranked players in Florida while at the same time enrolling at the Stetson College of Law. He graduated with a juris doctorate in 1977. Upon graduation he became a criminal prosecutor for the State Attorney’s Office of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in Florida. He left the State Attorney’s Office after having become the chief of narcotic prosecutions for the circuit at the age of twenty-seven.
In 1980 Fernandez began the practice of law as a solo practitioner, specializing in trial work. He is now the managing partner of the Law Office Ralph E. Fernandez, P.A., in Tampa. He has belonged or belongs to a number of professional associations. He has had the privilege of handling a significant number of high profile cases. Fernandez has been married since 1972 to his high school sweetheart. His daughters have attended undergraduate and graduate school at Harvard, Yale Law, Brown, Duke and Georgetown.
CIVIL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE
Throughout his career Fernandez has engaged in civil service. His activities include the founding directorship of SER Jobs for Progress, Inc.; LULAC in Tampa Bay; lead trial counsel for the Hispanic Defense League; general counsel to the World Federation of Cuban Former Political Prisoners; counsel for the Tampa Bay Area Exile Council; counsel for the Cuban Civic Club; a gubernatorial appointment to the Florida Commission for a Free Cuba; counsel for the Circulo Cubano Inc.; member of the Hispanic Advisory Council and the Tampa Advisory Council; and three term President of the Academy of the Holy Names Dads Club. He has also been appointed counsel to the Brigade 2506 as well as an honorable member of the Brigade by the Los Angeles chapter.
His advocacy and commitment to a better life for others earned him the 1984 Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Award; the 1993 City of Tampa Human Rights Award; the 1987 Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award; the 1991 Joaquin Del Cueto Freedom Fighter Award; the 1995 Solidarity Award; the AICEP Human Rights Award of 1999; the Cuban American National Foundation Special Recognition of 1999; and the Ray Fernandez Human Rights Award for 1997. Fernandez was selected in 1990 as the second Hispanic Man of the Year, the first being then Florida governor Bob Martinez.
Since 1988 Fernandez also has been continuously involved in the provision of what has been characterized as “invaluable service” to the FBI and other government agencies engaged in intelligence and counter-intelligence operations. In a letter authored on June 20, 2007, a domain coordinator for the FBI recounted twenty years of service by Fernandez as “voluntary and patriotic assistance on multiple, sensitive foreign intelligence investigations conducted by the Bureau.” The investigations were characterized in the letter as dealing “with sensitive national security issues and a hostile intelligence service.” The letter acknowledged the “positive impact” made by Fernandez on behalf of the United States. More importantly the note confirmed the great deal of respect the FBI has for Fernandez based on his “professionalism and discretion in maintaining a pledge of confidentiality in matters of national security.” Fernandez continues to work closely with old associates and new agencies in government, including the Department of Homeland Security. During the entire time period Fernandez has yet to accept remuneration or even cost reimbursement from the United States for travel or expenditures associated with his services.
On March 31, 2011, Fernandez was summoned to render testimony in the case of United States of America v. Luis Posada Carriles, federal district case number 07-CF-87-KC, tried in the Western District of Texas. The Honorable Kathleen Cardone, United States District Judge, presided over the trial. During testimony specific missions and measures that Fernandez had participated in over many years up until that very day were the subject of interest. A history of service to the country was detailed. Fernandez was qualified by Judge Cardone as an expert on Cuban intelligence, counter-intelligence and espionage practices of the Republic of Cuba.
Stetson University College of Law, J.D. 1977
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), B.S. 1972
U.S. Supreme Court
United States Court of Appeals Eleventh Circuit
United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit
United States District Court Middle District of Florida
Florida Supreme Court
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