White, Elizabeth “Betsy” L.
Elizabeth White has practiced law continuously in Jacksonville since 1981, and has established a widespread reputation in the fields of criminal defense, civil rights, and appellate practice. Her experience includes extensive litigation on behalf of criminal defendants, as well as civil rights litigation to protect the constitutional rights of individuals and protected groups, including women and minorities. She has litigated at all levels of the judicial system, including the United States Supreme Court. Currently, the bulk of her practice is the representation of people from pre-arrest through appeal. Her practice encompasses both state and federal defense, with four decades of experience as an appellate practitioner.
Ms. White has deep local ties, having attended Duval County public schools and Jacksonville University on a merit scholarship for local students. She graduated cum laude from J.U. at 19, and from the University of Oregon School of Law, at age 22. Upon her admittance to the respective Bars, she became one of the youngest people admitted to practice in both Florida and Oregon.
Ms. White was the first female private criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville when she began her practice. From the beginning, she has defended individuals charged with serious crimes. From sexual assault prosecutions to the federal prosecution of complex white collar crimes, Ms. White’s experience enables her to meet any prosecution with a vigorous defense.
In Doggett v. United States, 505 U.S. 647 (1992), she argued before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and successfully obtained certiorari review from the United States Supreme Court. As a result of Supreme Court review, Mr. Doggett’s conviction was vacated, and the prosecution was dismissed.
Ms. White also devotes a large portion of her practice to pre-indictment investigation and negotiation in federal criminal matters; if a case ends in the appellate courts, she is thoroughly familiar and is able to present those issues that will most likely lead to court consideration.
In Brenner v. Armstrong, 135 S.Ct. 890 (2014), Ms. White successfully prevented the State from obtaining a stay in the United States Supreme Court. This decision resulted in the timely implementation of the court’s order. Although at issue was the successful challenge of Florida’s ban on same sex marriage, the case also presented a complex procedural issue to the Court which was resolved in her clients’ favor.
Ms. White has gained considerable peer recognition, including: AV Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell and her listing in Best Lawyers in America in the fields of appellate law and non-white-collar criminal defense law. Ms. White is also a member of the National Trial Lawyers; membership in this organization is limited to the top one hundred civil plaintiff and criminal defense lawyers from each state. She also is recognized as a Super Lawyer in the area of criminal defense and a former director of the Board of Directors of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers “FACDL”. She has previously lectured and prepared course materials for the Criminal Law Certification Review Course presented annually by the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Ms. White is admitted to practice law in both Florida and Oregon and in the United States Supreme Court, the United States Eleventh and Fifth Circuit Courts of Appeal, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida and Southern District of Florida. She also has been admitted to practice pro hac vice in a number of state and federal courts.
Ms. White’s view of her responsibility to her clients was best summarized in an article written about her in The Defender, “A good criminal defense attorney holds the system accountable and keeps it honest. If people don’t respect the system, it might as well not be there. I wish more people understood that.” (Brandenburg, “A Pioneer for Women in The Defense World”, Florida Defender, Winter 2018). She brings her “compassionate and creative approach” to each case she defends.
- Criminal Defense
- White Collar Crime
- Civil Rights
- Professional Licensure
- Post Conviction Relief
- Criminal Trial Practice
- Criminal Appeals
- Sealing and Expungement
- University of Oregon School of Law, Eugene, Oregon
- J.D. - 1980
- Jacksonville University
- B.A. - 1977
- Honors: cum laude
- Florida, 1981
- Oregon, 1980
- U.S. Supreme Court, 1984
- U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 1982
- U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit, 1981
- U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida, 1981
- U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida
- Best Lawyers in America
- Super Lawyer
- Martindale Hubbell's Pre-eminent Female Lawyers in the US in the Areas of Appellate Law and Criminal Trial Practice
- Voted one of The Best Lawyers in America, 2010
- AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale Hubbell
- Criminal Law Certification Review Course, Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- Doggett v. United States, 505 U.S. 647 (1992), United States Supreme Court
- Brenner v. Scott, 999 F.Supp.2d 1278 (N.D. Fla. 2014), Northern District of Florida
- Jacksonville Bar Association
- Oregon State Bar
- The Florida Bar
- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Member, Board of Directors, 1991 to 1996
- Chester Bedell Inn of Court, Master
- Florida First District Judicial Nominating Commission, Member, 1998 to 2002