Leo Thomas | Criminal Defense Attorney | Levin Papantonio

Attorney Profile

  • Leo Thomas Criminal Defense Attorney
  • Leo Thomas

  • Shareholder
  • Levin Papantonio Thomas Mitchell Rafferty & Proctor, P.A.
  • Pensacola
  • Florida
  • (850) 435-7000
  • (888) 435-7001
  • (850) 435-7020
  • lthomas [at] levinlaw.com
AV rated

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 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 Courts of Appeals for the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits.

He is presently a member of the Escambia/Santa Rosa Bar Association. Mr. Thomas is listed in the publication "Best Lawyers in America" and has an AV rating in the Martindale-Hubbell law directory. He also was the first criminal defense attorney in Florida 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.

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.”

Present Position with Law Firm

  • Shareholder

Areas of Practice

  • Criminal defense and criminal appellate work in state and federal courts.

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, Levin College of Law, Gainesville, Florida, 1972, with honors
  • Columbia University, 1963

Honors and Awards

  • Best Lawyers in America

Published Works

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

Classes/Seminars Taught

  • Instructor, Criminal Law Workshop, University of Florida, College of Law, 1985

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Board of Criminal Lawyers, member
  • Bail Bond Regulatory Board, member
  • Criminal Jury Instructions Committee, past vice chairman
  • Criminal Law Executive Council, former member
  • Escambia-Santa Rosa Bar Association, member
  • Florida Bar, Criminal Certification Committee, former member
  • Florida Bar, Ethics Committee, former member
  • Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure Committee, past chairman and vice chairman
  • Sentencing Guidelines Commission, member
  • State of Florida, Insurance Commission, member

Representative Cases

  • Hawthorne v. State, 377 So.2d 780 (Fla.App. 1 Dist. 1979)
  • Hawthorne v. State, 408 So.2d 801 (Fla.App. 1 Dist. 1982)
  • Alexander v. State, 627 So.2d 35 (Fla.App. 1 Dist. 1993)
  • State v. Stevens, 694 So.2d 731 (Fla. 1997)

Prior Employment

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


  • Spanish

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