Through My Eyes-How Being "Different" Factors Into Life, Office, and Courtroom (Discussion on Race, Gender, ...)

National Freedom Day commemorates February 1st as on that day in 1865 Abraham Lincoln, who was the nation's president at the time, signed a joint resolution that proposed the 13th amendment to the United States Constitution. The amendment was made to outlaw slavery and was ratified on December 18, 1865. This date is the base to present a discussion on minority status's and its impact in our legal world.

Live Webinar Date: February 1, 2021 from 1 pm to 3 pm.

Live Webinar Recording Only Registration Available

CLE: Approved by Florida Bar for 2 hours General/ Bias Elimination Credits

(Expires 8/31/2022)

Register by clicking the blue "register" button below: 

Live and Recorded Webinar Prices: 

FACDL Members..... $8.00
Non-Members..... $10.00
Public Defenders..... $5.00

Be sure to log in if you are a FACDL member in order to get the FACDL member rate!



1 pm: Lawyer Panel Moderated by Julianne Holt, Public Defender 13th Judicial Circuit

  • Discussion will be 50 minutes, followed by 10 minutes for attendee questions or break
  • Panelists: Shayla Lee, Travis Coy, and Theresa Coy

2 pm: Judicial Panel Moderated by Nicole P. Menz, County Court Judge Indian River County

  • Discussion 50 minutes followed by 10 minutes for attendee questions
  • Panelists: Roberto A. Arias (County Court Judge Duval County), Maxine Williams (Magistrate Judge 15th Judicial Circuit), and Maria Ruhl (Circuit Court Judge 12th Judicial Circuit)

Speaker Bios:

 Julianne M. Holt:
 Public Defender 13th Judicial Circuit. Ms. Holt oversees the day-to-day operations of a law firm with approximately 200 employees of which over 120 are attorneys. Ms. Holt has been a practicing attorney since 1981. Ms. Holt focuses her practice in the area of homicide cases including those involving the death penalty.

 Shayla Lee: was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida.  Ms. Lee graduated from Clark Atlanta University with a B.A. in Mass Media Arts concentrated in Public Relations.  She earned her J.D. from Florida Coastal School of Law.  During law school, Ms. Lee was Vice President of the Human Rights Society, a participant in the Wrongful Convictions Clinic, and a teacher’s assistant for the Lawyering Process Class.  Ms. Lee did all this while maintaining an externship with Children’s Legal Services in Jacksonville. Ms. Lee has a strong passion for ensuring all children have access to resources that will help them succeed in life, and so she began her career in child dependency law.  After graduating from law school in 2015, Ms. Lee joined the Guardian ad Litem’s legal team before subsequently returning to Children’s Legal Services.  Ms. Lee has helped hundreds of children and families achieve stability through the dependency process. Ms. Lee later joined the Office of the Public Defender in the Fourth Judicial Circuit.  She continued her work with children by defending juveniles in delinquency court.  Ms. Lee was the lead attorney for both juvenile specialty courts in Duval County, Girls Court and Crossover Court, which bridged her knowledge of dependency law with criminal defense.  Ms. Lee has also successfully defended hundreds of adult clients charged with DUI’s, drug offenses, traffic violations, violent crimes, and other misdemeanor offenses. Now working for Epstein and Robbins in Jacksonville, Ms. Lee brings years of litigation and trial experience into the private sector.  She is a member of the Florida Bar and the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Ms. Lee lives in Jacksonville with her husband and two daughters.  She enjoys volunteering with children in her church, spending time with family and friends, and cooking as a form of relaxation.

 Travis Coy: is an Assistant State Attorney with the Office of the State Attorney, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit wherein he is the Juvenile Division Chief. Prior to becoming Juvenile Division Chief, Travis was the Deputy Chief in Circuit Criminal Division A, where he prosecuted serious felony cases. Travis graduated from Stetson University College of Law where he served as Associate Chief Justice of the Moot Court Board and as Treasurer and Parliamentarian of the Black Law Student Association. He also graduated from The Florida State University with honors in Communication Studies and a minor in Sociology. Travis currently serves as President of the George Edgecomb Bar Association and Vice President of the Tampa Bay Chapter of the National Black Prosecutors

 Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy: is a criminal defense (state and federal) and personal injury law practitioner.  Before opening her own law firm in 2010, Jean-Pierre Coy P.A., she worked as an Assistant Public Defender in the 6th Judicial Circuit. She is a graduate of Florida A&M University and Stetson University College of Law. She currently serves as an adjunct law professor at Stetson Law where she teaches Trial Advocacy. She previously served as an adjunct professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School where she taught Negotiation Skills. She was the recipient of the  2020 Florida Bar G. Kirk Haas Humanitarian Award for her meritorious service to the legal profession and the 2019 Hillsborough County Bar Association Criminal Law Section “Bubba Huerta” Award for professionalism and pro bono service. She lives in Tampa Bay, FL with her husband, Travis Coy, and 3 year old son, Thaddeus.

 Nicole P. Menz: County Court Judge Indian River County 19th Judicial Circuit.  Menz took the bench in 2019. Originally from Minnesota and graduated with honors in 1990 from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. She received her law degree from Valparaiso University School of Law in Valparaiso, Indiana, in 1994.  After spending nearly nine years as assistant state attorney in Vero Beach working for State Attorney Bruce Colton, Menz entered private practice with law partner Jeffrey Battista, opening the firm of Menz & Battista in Vero Beach. She and Battista practiced in the areas of family law, dependency, adoption and criminal defense.

 Roberto A. Arias: County Court Judge Duval County 4th Judicial Circuit. Arias has served on the bench since 1995. Judge Arias received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Florida International University and a Juris Doctorate Degree from Ohio State University. He has served as an Assistant Public Defender for the Fourth Judicial Circuit and has been in private practice, where his practice covered criminal and civil cases. He has diverse interests in his community which includes the Hispanic American Business Association, Mentor- Justina Rd. Elementary, Hubbard House, and Lutheran Social Services.

 Maxine Williams: Magistrate, 15th Judicial Circuit (2006).  Education- B.A., English Literature, University of Florida (1990); J.D., University of Florida, College of Law (1993).  Prior Work Experience-Admitted to the Florida Bar (1994); Assistant Public Defender, Palm Beach County, FL (1994-2001); Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Inc. (2001-2006).

Maria Ruhl: was elected in 2018 and began service on the circuit court bench in January 2019. Judge Ruhl is currently assigned to the family division in Sarasota County. She attended Florida International University where she earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science. She then went on to attend St. Thomas University School of Law, where she was a member of Law Review and secretary of the Moot Court Board. During law school, Maria was privileged to intern as a law clerk for a Federal Judge in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida. In 2005, she earned her Juris Doctorate and became a member of the Florida Bar. She began her career in private practice and later founded her own firm, practicing in the areas of criminal, family, civil and immigration law. Maria  and her husband Rick reside in South Sarasota County with their four boys.