Prosecutor Bernie McCabe died late Friday evening.
Although no official announcement has been made yet, McCabe’s death has been confirmed by multiple sources within the Tampa Bay legal community.
McCabe, 73, was the attorney general for the Sixth District Justice, which also includes Pinellas and Pasco counties.
He was first elected prosecutor in 1992 and served eight terms in his career until his death. During his life, McCabe served hundreds of young lawyers, including the current Florida House spokesman. Chris Sprowls, who in 2016 called McCabe “… the brightest prosecutor in Florida”.
McCabe attended Stetson University and graduated from Stetson University’s College of Law in 1972. McCabe was a past president of the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association and an associate professor at his alma mater.
A notable achievement in his career is the State Attorney Safe Schools Program (SASS), which McCabe launched in 1999. The program was designed to get prosecutors into middle schools to distract youth from the justice system. SASS is credited with a significant decrease in the number of on-campus crime and, therefore, referrals for prosecution. In 2008, the recommendations were reduced to the point that the program was discontinued.
McCabe is also reminded that he assumed responsibility for legal services related to child welfare and added the legal services for child welfare division to the prosecutor’s office in 2000. This unprecedented move to take on this responsibility turned out to be one of the most successful models of the state.
In 2001, McCabe worked to involve the community in the judicial process through the Community Prosecuting Attorney Service System (COMPASS). The system aimed to reduce the number of juveniles referred for criminal prosecution.
The longtime prosecutor was inducted into the Stetson Law Hall of Fame in 2009.
Politicians across Florida are reacting to McCabe’s recent death.
House Speaker Sprowls, one of McCabe’s most notable mentees, published a Explanation On Twitter it says: “Our hearts are with Denise and the entire McCabe family at this difficult time. Bernie McCabe was a towering, heroic figure among prosecutors and law enforcement officers. As a true civil servant, he led a life committed to justice, fairness, and truth. “
“Bernie was my mentor and friend,” Sprowls continues. “I will miss him more than words can describe, but I also know that the lessons I learned from him will carry with me through all the days of my life. Rest, protected in the arms of our Creator, my friend. Your job here is done. “
Pinellas County Rep. Nick DiCeglie remembers McCabe as “an incredible officer” and a mentor to many young lawyers.
“This is a huge loss for Pinellas County,” said DiCeglie. “He was someone who only showed respect. Bernie McCabe, he just had this person who really gave the office he held a lot of respect and dignity. People from across the state have asked Bernie McCabe for advice. “
Rep. Chris Latvala called McCabe a “legend” in the community and remembers his work.
“I’m heartbroken about the news,” said Latvala. “He was a legend in our church and a force for good versus evil. He’s the type that comes once in a generation and will be difficult to replace. One of the things I notice is how the cases of LEOs murdered on duty are being prosecuted themselves. I will miss him very much. “
Newly elected representative. Danny Burgess tweeted“We lost a legend in the Sixth Judiciary. Bernie McCabe gave us everything in his decades of public service as a prosecutor. May he rest in peace and may God comfort his family and loved ones during this difficult time. “
This is a developing story.