News Release

Judge William Hoeveler to Receive Defense Bar Award

Washington, DC (July 19, 2006) – Senior U.S. District Judge William M. Hoeveler of the Southern District of Florida will receive the prestigious Judicial Recognition Award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers at the association’s Annual Meeting in Miami. The award will be presented at the association’s awards luncheon at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel at noon, Friday, July 28. Only 13 judges have been so recognized in NACDL’s 48-year history.

Former U.S. Attorney General and Dade County State Attorney Janet Reno will be the luncheon keynote speaker.

Hoeveler was appointed to the federal bench in Miami by then-President Jimmy Carter in April 1977. Since then he has refereed a number of high-profile cases, such as the drug trial of Gen. Manuel Noriega, the Everglades environmental litigation and Elian Gonzales. Miami New Times named him “Best Judge,” then, deciding later that that title was “a bit restrictive,” named him its “Best Hero.”

“Judge Hoeveler is the most respected jurist in South Florida if the annual Dade County Bar Association Judicial Poll is any indication,” said NACDL Past President Neal Sonnett, of Miami. “He was at the top of the list almost every year that he served on the bench.”

Hoeveler was nominated for the NACDL recognition by Past President Albert Krieger, also of Miami. “He is truly a wonderful man. I don’t think that there’s a lawyer who has appeared before him who could not say that he personifies everything a judge could be.”

The recipient of many honors and recognitions over the years, Judge Hoeveler also has at least two professional awards named after him: the Florida Bar’s William M. Hoeveler Judicial Award and the University of Miami Law School’s William M. Hoeveler Ethics and Public Service Award. Several years ago, the Eugene Spellman American Inn of Court in Miami honored him by renaming it the Spellman-Hoeveler American Inn of Court.

He is a graduate of Bucknell University, Harvard University Law School, and is a former Marine officer. His many public service memberships include the American Bar Association, the American Law Institute, the Florida Bar Association, the Dade County Bar Association, and the American College of Trial Lawyers, among others. He has been a member of St. Stephens Episcopal Church for over 50 years, serves on the board of trustees for Transition, Inc., assisting persons in the transition from prison life to the outside, serves as a board member and reader for Recording for the Blind, Miami Unit, and was the 1987 recipient of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Judicial Distinction Award.

By all accounts, Judge Hoeveler is one of the most distinguished and respected citizens in the state.

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“His hallmarks on the bench have been his brilliance, his professionalism, his judicial courage, and his reputation for absolute fairness,” Sonnett said. 

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NACDL Communications Department

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.