Attorney Profile

  • Leo Thomas

  • Shareholder
  • Levin Papantonio Thomas Mitchell Rafferty & Proctor, P.A.
  • Pensacola
  • Florida
  • (850) 435-7000
  • (888) 435-7001
  • (850) 435-7020

Leo Thomas received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University in 1963, and his law degree, with honors, from the University of Florida in 1972. He was an agent with the Federal Bureau of Narcotics from 1963-1968, and with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement from 1968-1970. He is licensed to practice law before all Florida state courts, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits.

Mr. Thomas, pursuant to an appointment by the Governor of the State of Florida, served a term as a member of the Sentencing Guidelines Commission; pursuant to an appointment from the Insurance Commission of the State of Florida, Mr. Thomas also served a term as a member of the Bail Bond Regulatory Board. He has also served as an instructor at the University of Florida, College of Law, Criminal Law Workshop in 1985 and is past chairman and vice chairman of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure Committee and past vice chairman of the Criminal Jury Instructions Committee. He is a former member of the Criminal Law Executive Council, the Florida Bar Ethics Committee and the Criminal Certification Committee.

He is presently a member of the Escambia/Santa Rosa Bar Association and the American Board of Criminal Lawyers. Mr. Thomas is listed in the publication "Best Lawyers in America", and is certified as a Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is also certified by the Florida Bar as a specialist in Criminal Trial Law and has an AV rating in the Martindale-Hubbell law directory. He has authored the article The Battered Woman -- A Legal Defense, 6 Champion 4 (1982). He also was the first defense attorney to successfully pursue the battered woman syndrome defense in a homicide case, which eventually resulted in the dismissal of a first degree murder charge against his client.

Mr. Thomas limits his practice to criminal defense work in state and federal courts and criminal appellate work in state and federal courts.

In 2000, a Florida Circuit Court Judge (and now former Florida Supreme Court Justice) had this to say about Leo Thomas:

“Mr. Thomas is a highly experienced, capable and very seasoned criminal defense attorney who for many years has been routinely involved in the most high profile, contentious and difficult criminal cases in the First Circuit.  He tried one such high profile and contentious case before this Court in 1997.  That trial allowed this Court to personally observe Mr. Thomas' ability and methodology.  Mr. Thomas prepares well and is a masterful trial tactician.  He knows the law.” 

Litigation Percentage:

  • 70% of Practice Devoted to Litigation


  • Specialist, Criminal Law, Florida Bar Association
  • Certified Criminal Trial Advocate, National Board of Trial Advocacy

Bar Admissions:

  • Florida
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit


  • University of Florida College of Law, Gainesville, Florida, 1972
    Honors: With Honors
  • Columbia University, 1963

Published Works:

  • Article, The Battered Woman - A Legal Defense, 6 Champion 4, 1982

Representative Cases:

Classes/Seminars Taught:

  • Prosecutor/Public Defender Workshop, Public Defenders Association
  • Instructor, Public Defenders Association, Gainesville, Florida
  • Speaker, Various Seminars, Criminal Law, Public Defenders Association
  • Instructor, Criminal Law Workshop, University of Florida, College of Law, 1985

Honors and Awards:

  • Best Lawyers in America

Professional Associations and Memberships:

  • Sentencing Guidelines Commission
  • Member
  • State of Florida, Insurance Commission
  • Member
  • Bail Bond Regulatory Board
  • Member
  • Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure Committee
  • Past Chairman and Vice Chairman
  • Criminal Jury Instructions Committee
  • Past Vice Chairman
  • Criminal Law Executive Council
  • Former Member
  • Florida Bar, Ethics Committee
  • Former Member
  • Florida Bar, Criminal Certification Committee
  • Former Member
  • Escambia-Santa Rosa Bar Association
  • Member
  • American Board of Criminal Lawyers
  • Member

Past Employment Positions:

  • Federal Bureau of Narcotics, Agent, 1963 - 1968
  • Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Agent, 1968 - 1970


  • Spanish

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