Attorney at Law

1932 Perry Place - Change of Address Effective June 26, 2015 - 24 North Market Street, Suite 300, Jacksonville, Florida 32202
Jacksonville, Florida 32207
(904) 398-8000,  Email at  kent@williamkent.com

As of  May 6, 2014, William Kent has been attorney of record on 521 criminal appeals, consisting of 333 federal criminal appeals and 188 state appeals.


The Bolles School 1970 Jacksonville, Florida

Graduated first in class; National Merit Scholar Finalist; Florida Regents' Scholar; Class Officer; Boarding Student Proctor

Harvard College A.B. cum laude 1974 Cambridge, Massachusetts

Harvard Scholarship Recipient; German Literature Major; Harvard language qualification in German and Arabic; Published in "Harvard Yardling"

Junior Year Abroad under Harvard auspices at Ludwig Maximillians Universitaet, Munich, Germany

Special study at Adam Mickiewicz Universitaet, Poznan, Poland

University of Florida College of Law J.D. with honors 1978 Gainesville, Florida

American Jurisprudence Book Awards in Constitutional Law, Agency and Estates and Trusts; graduated in top 11% of class; Research Assistant to Professor Winston P. Nagan, Private International Law; Research Assistant, Center for Governmental Responsibility (Florida Constitutional Revision Project)

Bar Admissions

The Florida Bar (1978)
United States Tax Court (1979)
United States District Court, Middle District of Florida (1989)
United States District Court Northern District of Florida (2004)
United States District Court Southern District of Florida
Second Circuit Court of Appeals (2007)
Third Circuit Court of Appeals
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (2006)
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (2001)
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (2007)
Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (2005)
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (2003)
Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals (2007)
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals (1989)
District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals (2005)
United States Supreme Court (1993)

Member of American Constitution Society

Honors and Publications

Designated a Super Lawyer for Appellate Practice

2012 and 2013

Florida Bar Appellate Court Rules Committee, 2004 - 2008.

Member of Florida Bar Committee which proposes rules governing appellate practice in all Florida courts.  

Harvard Law Review, Volume 112, Issue 5, March 1999

Erica Grosjean analyzed United States v. Willie Washington, 151 F.3d 1353 (11th Cir. 1998) in Volume 112, Issue 5, March 1999.

Sentencing and Post-Conviction Relief,

The Florida Bar Continuing Education Committee and the Criminal Law Section of the Florida Bar Annual Program, Author and Speaker, Tampa, Florida, "Criminal Law: The Nuts and Bolts of Trial Practice," 1996-1997.

Creative Appellate Advocacy,

Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Annual Program, Orlando, Florida, 1997

Federal Sentencing,

Criminal Justice Act Panel Training Program, Tampa and Orlando, Florida.

Kent's Federal Criminal Defense Update,

Internet web site with monthly newsletter at www.jacksonville.net/~wkent, May 1998 to 1999.

Federal Judicial Appointment Merit Selection Finalist

One of five finalists (from among over eighty applicants) chosen by Merit Selection Committee for the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida, for appointment as a United States Magistrate Judge, June 1996

Moot Court Judge Florida Coastal School of Law

Moot Court Judge for moot court of William J. Sheppard, Esq.'s argument of Johnson v. United States, ___U.S.___, 117 S.Ct. 1544 (1997)

Moot Court Judge for Benitez v. INS

Moot Court Judge for petitioner, Benitez, in Benitez v. INS, John S. Mills, Mills & Carlin, Petitioner's counsel.

Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow, 1987

Fellow of German foundation fellowship program aimed at future American business and public service leaders to promote better German-American understanding; fellowship consisted of one month training at German government Federal Academy of Administration in Bonn, and three month internship at Northrhine Westfalia Ministry of Housing and Urban Development in Duesseldorf, Germany

Professional History

Law Office of William Mallory Kent, 1932 Perry Place, Jacksonville, Florida,  since June 30, 1999.

Federal Public Defender, Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, Assistant Federal Defender, July 1989 to June 29, 1999.  

State Public Defender, Fourth Judicial Circuit, Jacksonville and Fernandina Beach, Florida, January 1988 to June 1989.

Rogers & Wells, now known as Clifford Chance Rogers & Wells, 200 Park Avenue, New York, New York and 201 North Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, California, July 1983 to February 1987.

Lawler, Felix & Hall, 700 South Flower Street, Los Angeles, California, March 1981 to June 1983. My practice group, transactional real estate, is now a separate firm known as  Pircher, Nichols & Meeks.

Adams, Duque & Hazeltine, 523 West Sixth Street, Los Angeles, California, January 1980 to February 1981.  My practice area, real estate, was headed by Alan Wayte, who went on to establish the  Los Angeles branch of  Dewey Ballantine LLP.

Smathers & Thompson, 1301 Alfred I. duPont Building, Miami, Florida, July 1978 to January 1980. My practice group became the Miami office of Kelley, Drye & Warren LLP.

Professional Experience

Opened solo law practice specializing in federal and state criminal defense, trial, appeal and post-conviction relief, at 503 East Monroe Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32202, June 30, 1999.  We moved the office to The Law Exchange Building at 24 North Market Street, Jacksonville, Florida January 1, 2000.  February 2004 we bought our own building at 1932 Perry Place, Jacksonville, Florida 32207 and moved the practice there July 2004. 

The Perry Place building is a bungalow home built in 1918 and  designed by Jacksonville's most famous architect, Henry John Klutho.  This home is one of over 100 houses that Klutho individually designed and supervised the construction of as part of a federal government housing project during World War I to provide housing for the shipyard workers needed in Jacksonville to build ships for the United States Merchant Marine.  The house was designed in the Arts and Crafts style with distinctive Arts and Crafts features.  

For the previous ten years I worked as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in Jacksonville, and for one year before that as an assistant state public defender in Jacksonville and Fernandina Beach, Florida. My practice as an Assistant Federal Public Defender was limited to federal criminal and habeas cases, at both the district court and appellate level. Approximately two thirds of my case load was at the district court level and one third at the appellate level. My appellate work included one case which I argued before the United States Supreme Court and one case which I argued before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals en banc.  I was named "Outstanding Assistant Federal Public Defender," in 1998. 1996, 1993 and 1991.

Prior to that for seven years my practice was limited to corporate real estate related matters of every type handled by a New York based  national law firm.


Trial and Appellate Practice

I have tried over thirty jury trials to conclusion as sole or lead counsel in federal and state courts.

My appellate practice has resulted in numerous published federal opinions. As of November 12, 2008, William Kent has been attorney of record on 318 criminal appeals, consisting of 202 federal criminal appeals and 116 state appeals.  Most notable was the opinion of the Supreme Court in Stinson v. United States, 508 U.S. 36, 113 S.Ct. 1913, 123 L.Ed.2d 598 (1993), holding that Sentencing Commission commentary that is not inconsistent with the pertinent guideline, statute or the constitution is binding on courts of appeal, but remanding the question whether the commentary in question was to be applied retroactively, and on remand United States v. Stinson, 30 F.3d 121 (11th Cir. 1994), holding that Amendment 433, which provided that the offense of felon in possession of a firearm was not a crime of violence for purposes of application of the career offender provision, was clarifying commentary and as such entitled to retroactive application. Other notable appellate opinions include United States v. Willie Washington, ___F.3d___(1998 WL 546174)(11th Cir. 1998), holding that consent to search a bus passenger who was found to be carrying a minimum mandatory quantity of cocaine was coerced, focusing on the failure of the federal officers to advise the defendant that he had a right to refuse to consent to the search, United States v. James Arthur Grimes, 142 F.3d 1342 (11th Cir. 1998) holding that: (1) the underlying statute did not facially exceed Congress's authority under the Commerce Clause; (2) apartment building damaged in explosion had sufficient connection with interstate commerce; (3) defendant was not entitled to procedural benefits afforded to defendants in capital cases; (4) claim of rights form signed by defendant when he was arrested on state worthless check charges could not anticipatorily invoke defendant's Fifth Amendment right to remain silent; (5) statements that defendant made to his former employer were not result of custodial interrogation for Miranda purposes; (6) applying amended seven year limitations period to defendant did not violate Ex Post Facto Clause; and (7) sentencing judge's imposition of sentence did not violate Ex Post Facto Clause, United States v. Lopez-Iraeta, 129 F.3d 1206 (11th Cir. 1998), holding that the "exculpatory no" doctrine did not apply to false claims of United States citizenship cases, Anderson v. Singletary, 111 F.3d 801 ((1997), holding that the Prison Litigation Reform Act's filing fee requirements did not apply to state or federal habeas corpus petitions of indigent petitioners, United States v. Thigpen, 989 F.2d 1116 (11th Cir. 1993), 4 F.3d 1573 (11th Cir. 1993) (en banc), holding that a criminal defendant is not entitled to a jury instruction on the consequence of a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity, United States v. Brown, 71 F.3d 845 (11th Cir. 1995) (petition for certiorari pending), holding that a defendant is not entitled to trial by jury on multiple petty offenses when the aggregate maximum penalty exceeds six months, United States v. Bell, 22 F.3d 274 (11th Cir. 1994), reversing a denial of a motion to withdraw plea and holding that Container Royalty Funds were not covered under the statute criminalizing embezzlement from ERISA related funds, United States v. Williams, 958 F.2d 337 (11th Cir. 1992), holding that a court may not impose an additional term of supervised release upon revocation of a term of supervised release (since statutorily overruled), United States v. Charles Young, 953 F.2d 1288 (11th Cir. 1992), setting aside a $1,500,000 restitution order under the Hughey doctrine (since statutorily overruled), United States v. Lazarchik, 924 F.2d 211 (11th Cir. 1991), holding that the gross weight of pharmaceutical compounds or mixtures is used in applying the quantity tables of the drug guidelines (since overruled by the Sentencing Commission) and United States v. Gilbert, 942 F.2d 1537 (11th Cir. 1991), denying a motion to suppress based on execution of a state search warrant the execution of which was concededly illegal under state law. In addition, I have had one district court decision published, United States v. Grimes, ___F.Supp.___, 1996 WL 11837 (M.D.Fla. 1996), in which Judge Schlesinger denied a motion to suppress statements based upon a claimed violation of a Fifth Amendment right to counsel.

Transactional Real Estate, Tax Shelters and Real Estate Syndications

My corporate real estate experience included acquisitions and dispositions of major commercial real estate (multi-family housing, office buildings and shopping centers) nationwide; joint venture and development of major commercial projects nationwide; representation of borrowers and lenders in construction, gap and permanent financing, including numerous tax exempt municipal bond financings of multi-family housing under Section 103(c) of the I.R.C., letter of credit enhanced issues, ground leases and sale-leaseback transactions; commercial lease and master lease representation, landlord-tenant disputes and unlawful detainer; tax shelter syndications, both publicly registered and issued under Regulation D exemption.

Notable transactions included representation of Chemical Bank as gap lender in $250,000,000 acquisition by VMS Realty Corp. of four Southern California office buildings; representation of Saudi Arabian investors in $60,000,000 work-out negotiations with FSLIC appointed managers of Sunrise Savings & Loan involving four properties (office building, shopping center and two residential condominium projects) in Southern Florida; representation of tax shelter syndicator in joint venture of major multi-family housing project in Virginia including negotiation of tax-exempt bond financing issued by municipal housing authority; representation of American Diversified developer/lender in joint venture disposition of $50,000,000 package of six properties in three Western states; representation of American Diversified in joint venture disposition of $30,000,000 two project package (office building rehabilitation tax credit venture and multi-family housing project) involving issuance of credit enhanced tax exempt financing; representation of tax shelter syndicator in joint venture development of numerous multi-family housing projects across United States; representation of JMB Realty Corp. publicly registered tax shelter partnerships in $90,000,000 sale of nine projects in Texas and Arizona to Hall Realty; representation of Chemical Bank in gap loan to VMS Realty in $500,000,000 acquisition of apartment projects in California; numerous joint venture development deals for JMB Realty including the Tiger Building, Century City, California, Permian Mall, Odessa, Texas, Virginia Beach Mall, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 2001 Building, Seattle, Washington, the DeBartolo Malls, and others; and joint venture lending representation for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Lloyds Bank, and others secured by office buildings and shopping malls in Southern California.


Born July 24, 1952 (61 years old) at Live Oak, Florida. Married to the former Caroline Burgess Dickens of Fernandina Beach.  Caroline, who did her Ph.D. work at the University of Miami, was a research technologist at Mayo Clinic Jacksonville's Research Laboratory under Dr. Matthew Farrer, whose research focused on Parkinson's Disease and before that she worked for Prof. Dr. Michael McKinney, whose research at Mayo focused on Alzheimers.  She has a number of publications to her credit in the field of brain research.See e.g.Kiminobu Sugaya, Michael Chouinard, Rhonda Greene, Michael Robbins, David Personett, Caroline Kent, Michela Gallagher, and Michael McKinney Molecular Indices of Neuronal and Glial Plasticity in the Hippocampal Formation in a Rodent Model of Age-Induced Spatial Learning ImpairmentJ. Neurosci. 1996 16: 3427-3443.  Caroline is currently doing graduate work at the University of North Florida.

Bill is an instrument rated private pilot and enjoys flying his Beechcraft V35B Bonanza aircraft, which he uses as much as possible to make client prison visits and out of town court appearances.  Bill also has 33 hours as a helicopter pilot and is working toward his helicopter add on rating. 

William Kent Beech V35B Bonanza


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