Gloria W. Fletcher is Founding Partner in the law firm Gloria W. Fletcher, P.A. She has earned a state and national reputation as a staunch advocate for the defense of justice, and a trusted ally of Florida’s most vulnerable citizens – its children.
Fletcher has worked on several groundbreaking child abuse cases. Fletcher was co-counsel in the case of 15 children tortured by their foster parent. Fletcher and child advocate attorney Howard M. Talenfeld won a $15 million settlement for the children. The two also successfully argued DCB1, et al, vs. Peg Shappell. The civil rights case was filed on behalf of 19 children abused while under the care of the Florida Department of Children and Families.
As a criminal defense attorney, Fletcher has worked on numerous high-profile cases. In 1994, she earned an acquittal for Gainesville, Florida, Mayor Rodney Long in a federal drug conspiracy charge. In 2002, as lead counsel Fletcher won an across-the-board acquittal of a Florida Department of Corrections Captain accused of five felony charges in the death of death-row inmate Frank Valdez at Florida State Prison.
In 2011, Fletcher worked diligently in her representation of a University of Florida Police Department Officer accused of aggravated stalking and obstruction of justice. As a result of her efforts all charges against the officer were dismissed.
A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, law was a second career for Fletcher – but advocacy always has been her first pursuit. Before becoming an attorney, Fletcher worked for the North Central Florida Mental Health Center. There she helped launch Turning Point, Florida’s first residential treatment program for emotionally disturbed adolescents.
In 1977, Fletcher joined the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services as a Mental Health Program Specialist, quickly rising to Program Supervisor. In 1982, Fletcher took over as Program Coordinator overseeing an $83 million budget and 3,200 employees in 16 counties.
At the time a single parent of a young child, Fletcher early on realized how little funding, support and services existed for vulnerable children, especially those needing substance abuse or mental health counseling. She also heard horrific stories of children under the care of HRS – children who were abused or neglected, yet forcibly reunited with families they’d sought to escape.
Fletcher decided to leave social work and at the age of 33, enrolled in law school as a means to enact real, systemic change. Upon graduation from the University of Florida School of Law in 1985, Fletcher was named an Assistant State Attorney for the 8th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s office. She soon was promoted to the Felony Division. Fletcher prosecuted young offenders who had committed violent crimes. Yet, she also learned the “back stories” that had shaped their lives – often for the worse. Imbued with a concern for kids, Fletcher often fashioned resolutions which would fit the circumstances of the case and individual. Fletcher is a strong believer in there is a difference in a child and/or person who makes a bad mistake and those who commit a crime. Fletcher still receives letters of thanks from those she helped – even as she was prosecuting their cases.
In 1990, Fletcher left the State Attorney’s office to enter private practice, and in 2004, she launched her own firm focusing on child advocacy, criminal defense and personal injury.
Fletcher is a Founding Member of the James C. Adkins Inn of Court; is on the Florida and 8th Judicial Circuit Criminal Defense Lawyers Association; twice appointed by Florida governors to serve on the 8th Judicial Circuit Judicial Nominating Committee; a gubernatorial appointment to serve on the 8th Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee; and a member of PALS (Partners in Adolescent Life Styles), an award-winning peer mentoring group focused on preventing teen suicide.