Manny Machin – attorney, father, husband, friend to many, and Seminole fan – died of cancer Monday night.
Manny was a great guy. I met him as a baby prosecutor, and got to know him over the years. I don’t recall ever going to trial with him personally, but I saw him in trial and in hearings. He was always well-prepared and exceptionally articulate. And, of course, always immaculately dressed in a bangin’ suit!
What strikes me most about Manny was his reputation in the community. In the legal field, all the lawyers and judges liked him, and respected him. But in the community at large, he was a legend. I heard many, many times that people who came to me had tried to get Manny first, and for whatever reason could not. That did not insult me (people lawyer-shop all the time), but it made me know that he was considered top-shelf by the people of Tampa.
Prosecutor Mark Lewis told me the story of when Manny went to trial for shooting a possum (yes, I’m a Florida cracker and that IS how you spell it). In typical Manny style, his defense was to bring in a possum wrangler to show one of those obnoxious critters to the jury. After the possum let out his screech in the courtroom, Manny was quickly found not guilty. A move only Manny could pull off – classic!
Manny always had a smile, and a kind word. When I was first invited to his annual FSU/UF football game party years ago, I thought that I had arrived! I was somebody because Manny thought I was somebody. I will always remember that. Every year I looked forward to his “subpoena” for the party.
When an infamous Tampa prosecutor was causing everyone grief several years ago, Manny called me to enlist my help in fighting him, both in court and by appealing to the State Attorney to fire him. I recall telling people at the time how honored I was that Manny Machin thought enough of me as an attorney and member of the defense bar that he thought he needed me on board. I still am honored by his call.
I am so sad for his family. I lost my father when I was in high school – he was only 57. My prayers are with you. I will raise a glass in honor of you during this year’s FSU game, brother ‘Nole. I ask each of you who read this to take a moment to remember a great guy, a great lawyer, a friend, and a husband and father, who was taken away far too early. Pray for him and his family, then always remember him fondly.
You can read about him here: http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/oct/09/na-gutsy-lawyer-dies/.