Attorney James T. Golden Dem Candidate District 73 Florida House of Rep Was Suspended for 90 Days by Florida Bar Who Then Sought his Disbarment in 1990

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Elections for the Florida House of Representatives will take place in November 2016. The primary election took place on August 30, 2016, and the general election will be held on Tuesday November 8th 2016.  James T. Golden and Joe Gruters are running in the Florida House of Representatives District 73 general election. James T. Golden ran unopposed in the Florida House of Representatives District 73 Democratic primary. Attorney James T. Golden currently is a member of the Florida Bar in good standing.

 Florida House of Representatives, District 73 Republican Primary, 2016

Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.png Joe Gruters 50.95% 10,346
     Republican Steve Vernon 49.05% 9,961
Total Votes 20,307

Joe Gruters defeated Steve Vernon in the Florida House of Representatives District 73 Republican primary by only 346 votes, see above. As in all elections, the general public is entitled to have some vetting of candidates for public office, the who, what, where, why, and how come is relevant. So why did the Florida Bar seek the disbarment of Attorney James T. Golden in 1990?

Attorney/Pastor/Politician James T. Golden is the Democrat Candidate for District 73 Florida House of Representatives in the November 2016 Election. Attorney James T. Golden was suspended from the Florida Bar for 90 Days by the Supreme Court of Florida in 1988 and in 1990 the Florida Bar sought his disbarment. According to the filing of the Supreme Court of Florida, attorney James T. Golden was accused of Dereliction of Duty in a Malpractice case in Manatee County and did not file an amended Complaint for his client in a timely matter, again and again. On October 24th, 1988 attorney James T. Golden was suspended from practice as an attorney for 90 days and was fined $1,331.41 with a stipulation that upon paying the fine James T. Golden will be on probation for 1 year, so says the Supreme Court of Florida., see

Despite his Suspension and Probation James T. Golden continued to practice law in Manatee County Fl. On February 21, 1989 the Florida Bar filed its Motion For Order to Show Cause, see

The Florida Bar v. Golden 563 So. 2d 81 (1990)
THE FLORIDA BAR, Complainant, v. James T. GOLDEN, Respondent.
Supreme Court of Florida. May 31, 1990.
Rehearing Denied July 26, 1990.
John F. Harkness, Jr., Executive Director, and John T. Berry, Staff Counsel, Tallahassee, and Jan Wichrowski, Bar Counsel, Orlando, for complainant. Richard T. Earle, Jr. of Earle and Earle, St. Petersburg, for respondent.
PER CURIAM. In this proceeding we are concerned with whether Golden practiced law while under suspension and, if so, the determination of appropriate discipline therefor. We have jurisdiction. Art. V, § 15, Fla. Const. On September 22, 1988 this Court suspended Golden from the practice of law for ninety days, beginning October 24, 1988, and until paying the costs of the proceeding. The Florida Bar v. Golden, 530 So. 2d 931 (Fla. 1988). We also placed Golden on a one-year probation to begin upon his reinstatement, but, although we usually do so, we put no restrictions on Golden’s securing new clients during the thirty-day hiatus between the filing of our opinion and the beginning of his suspension. On October 16, 1988, prior to the effective date of the suspension, a man contacted Golden about representing him on two separate traffic offenses. Golden agreed to represent him for a fee of $1,800 ($900 per case). The client paid him $600, and Golden drafted and filed two pleadings: a “written plea of not guilty, waiver of personal appearance” for one offense and a request for a continuance” for the other offense. The client signed the pleadings as pro se and, approximately two weeks later, paid Golden an additional $200.

On December 16, 1988 Golden arrived in Manatee County Court with his client, and the presiding judge notified Golden that he was aware of Golden’s suspension and asked him to leave the courtroom. The bar thereafter filed a motion for order to show cause why Golden should not be held in contempt for failing to abide by his suspension. Golden contends there is no clear and convincing evidence that he practiced law while suspended. We agree that his practice was minimal, but declare that counseling and attempting to assist his client in requesting two continuances constituted the unauthorized practice of law. It appears that Golden shut down his office because the client unsuccessfully sought to find him there. There is a dispute in the testimony on whether Golden told the client he had been suspended for ninety days. Golden claimed he did while the client testified otherwise. The referee found that Golden had not notified this client of his suspension. We also note that there is no evidence that Golden furnished his clients with a copy of the order of suspension as required by rule 3-5.1(h), Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. Although the bar initially requested a ninety-one-day suspension, the referee recommended a one-year suspension due to the seriousness of Golden’s failure to abide by his suspension, failure to inform the client of his suspension, failure to refund the $800, lack of remorse, and his lengthy history of past disciplinary actions. The Florida Bar v. Golden, 530 So. 2d 931 (Fla. 1988) (ninety-day suspension); The Florida Bar v. Golden, 502 So. 2d 891 (Fla. 1987) (ten-day suspension); The Florida Bar v. Golden, 401 So. 2d 1340 (Fla. 1981) (public reprimand).

In The Florida Bar v. Golden 401 So. 2d 1340 (Fla.1981) Complaint- James T. Golden was publicly reprimanded for borrowing $3,000, with his client’s permission, for a supposedly short period of time and then failing to repay the loan for approximately two years despite repeated requests for repayment. The funds had been placed in Golden’s trust account for a real estate transaction, which then fell through. Golden also failed to keep adequate records of trust accounting procedures for two years. The Florida bar, pursuant to action by the board of governors, now seeks disbarment of Attorney James T. Golden. SEE

Supreme Court of Florida Ruling:  We believe the referee’s recommendation is appropriate and should be approved. Had Golden’s practice been more direct or more substantial, we would agree with the bar. Unfortunately, Golden’s actions indicate he may have difficulty in fulfilling his role as an officer of the court, but we do not believe his presently determined malfeasance should cause disbarment. We therefore approve the referee’s findings that Golden violated the terms of his ninety-day suspension. As penalty therefor Golden is suspended as a member of The Florida Bar for one year and thereafter until he has proved that he is rehabilitated. This suspension is to begin thirty days from the date this opinion is filed, thereby giving Golden time to notify his clients and close out his practice. He shall accept no new business during that thirty-day period. He is enjoined from practicing law until reinstated. Judgment for costs in the amount of $1,271.86 is hereby entered against Golden, for which sum let execution issue. It is so ordered.
SHAW, J., recused.

According to the Bio posted for James T. Golden, he received his Juris Doctorate degree in 1974. Admitted to the Florida Bar in 1975, James T. Golden was a practicing attorney until he felt the call of a different vocation in 1981, (according to his bio he stopped practicing law in 1981 on his own accord but he was suspended in 1988 by a court order and faced disbarment in 1990?). He then began attending the Turner Theological Seminary at Atlanta University, where he received his Master of Divinity degree in 1984. Since 1993, James T. Golden has served his community as pastor of Ward Temple A.M.E. Church in Bradenton, he also served two terms on the Bradenton City Council after being elected in 1999 and 2003. James T. Golden is a 2016 Democratic candidate for District 73 of the Florida House of Representatives. Golden was a candidate for the District 5 seat on the Manatee County School Board in Florida. He faced Julie B. Aranibar, Mary S. Cantrell and Carlton “Les” Nichols in the general election on August 26, 2014.

Candidate Vote % Votes
Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJulie B. Aranibar Incumbent 37.1% 15,018
Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngMary S. Cantrell 35.3% 14,274
Nonpartisan James T. Golden 17.8% 7,193
Nonpartisan Carlton “Les” Nichols 9.9% 3,996
Total Votes 40,481

Golden received a total of $6,435.00 in campaign contributions and spent a total of $4,719.94, according to the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections. Golden did not receive an endorsement in this election.


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