Leo Thomas | Criminal Defense Attorney | Levin Papantonio

Attorney Profile

  • Attorney Leo Thomas
  • Leo Thomas

  • Shareholder
  • Levin Papantonio
  • (850) 435-7000
  • (888) 435-7001
  • lthomas [at] levinlaw.com

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 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; Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor, P.A.

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

  • Listed in “Best Lawyers in America”
  • Recognized as a Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and the American Board of Criminal Lawyers

Published Works

  • The Battered Woman - A Legal Defense, 6 Champion 4, 1982 (See Representative Cases, Hawthorne v. State, et al)

Classes/Seminars Taught

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

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Association of Former Federal Narcotic Agents (AFFNA), member
  • City-County Drug Abuse Commission, member, 1974-1977
  • Escambia-Santa Rosa Bar Association, member
  • Florida Bail Bond Regulatory Board, appointed by Florida Insurance Commissioner Bill Gunther, 1984-1986
  • Florida Bar, Certified Specialist in Criminal Trial Law, 1988-2013
  • Florida Bar, Criminal Jury Instructions Committee, 1984-1986, former vice-chairman
  • Florida Bar, Criminal Law Executive Council, 1979-1988
  • Florida Bar, Ethics Committee, 1978-1980
  • Florida Bar, Rules of Criminal Procedure Committee, 1977-1988, former chairman and vice-chairman
  • Florida Sentencing Guidelines Commission, appointed by Governor Bob Martinez, 1988-1990
  • Society of the Criminal Defense Bar, 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)
  • Hawthorne v. State, 470 So. 2d 770 (Fla.App. 1 Dist. 1985)

Prior Employment

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


  • Spanish