D. Gray Thomas

Florida bar board certified appeals expert, admitted in Florida and Georgia.

Gray Thomas is board certified by The Florida Bar as an appellate practice specialist, and he also practices criminal defense in federal and state courts, as well as representing clients in attorney discipline and attorney admission cases. Since being admitted to practice in both Florida and Georgia in 1992 he has achieved the highest Martindale-Hubbell rating of "AV-Preeminent" and is recognized by Best Lawyers in America in the areas of Appellate Practice, Criminal Defense: White Collar and Criminal Defense: General Practice. He also has been recognized as a Florida Legal Elite in criminal defense by Florida Trend magazine and by Florida Super Lawyers in criminal defense. Gray is currently a member of the board of directors of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and its Northeast Florida (Jacksonville) chapter.

Gray has been a sole practitioner since 2011, and while he continues to maintain a separate practice, since 2013 he has also been a member of the appellate specialty firm, Creed & Gowdy, in an of counsel capacity.

Prior to opening his own firm, he practiced 20 years with the renowned criminal defense, civil rights and appellate firm Sheppard, White, Thomas & Kachergus.

A North Carolina native, Gray grew up in Georgia before obtaining his undergraduate degree, cum laude, in history at Washington University in St. Louis. After a decade as a newspaper journalist, he earned a law degree, with honors, at the University of Florida, where he was named to membership in the Order of the Coif.

Courts Admitted

D. Gray Thomas is admitted to practice law in the following jurisdictions.



U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida

U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida

U.S. District Court, Southern District of Georgia

U.S. District Court, Middle District of Georgia

U.S. Tax Court

Notable Cases

Long v. State, 151 So. 3d 498 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2014) (reversing conviction on charges of child sexual abuse because of inherently prejudicial effect on jury of conduct at trial of members of Bikers Against Child Abuse)

Hendricks v. State, 34 So. 3d 819 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2010) (challenging conviction for failure to allow favorable evidence and irregularities relating to the jury)

Menefee v. State, 980 So. 2d 569 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2008) (challenging conviction for stalking by use of HAM radio transmissions on ground that state enforcement is preempted by Federal Communications Act)

U.S. v. Hunter, 319 Fed. Appx. 758 (11th Cir. 2008) (challenging conviction for healthcare fraud)

Alessi v. State, 969 So. 2d 430 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2007) (vacating murder conviction because of ineffective assistance of counsel provided by defense lawyer before and during trial)

Buchanan v. State, 927 So. 2d 209 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2006) (reversing bail bondsman’s conviction and 25-year mandatory prison sentence for aggravated assault with a firearm while trying to recapture a fugitive because he was denied the proper number of challenges to remove prospective jurors)

U.S. v. Matthews, 411 F. 3d 1210 (11th Cir. 2005) (unanimously reversing drug distribution conspiracy conviction because trial court allowed inadmissible prior offense evidence), 431 F. 3d 1296 (11th Cir. 2005) (on its own motion, court vacating prior opinion reversing conviction and denial of Government motion for rehearing, and affirming conviction, with one judge concurring by saying prior binding 11th Circuit cases required affirmance but that those cases were decided incorrectly)

Wardell v. State, 901 So. 2d 289 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2005) (reversing drug trafficking conviction)

Jones v. State, 886 So. 2d 257 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2004) (reversing conviction for attempted second-degree murder for failure of judge to instruct jury properly on self-defense)

State v. Demeniuk, 888 So. 2d 655 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2004) (state challenging defense expert opinion evidence regarding insanity defense and effects of antidepressant medication on a woman charged with first-degree murder and for whom the prosecution was seeking the death penalty for the fatal shootings of her 4-year-old twin children)

Chappell v. Rich, 340 F. 3d 1279 (11th Cir. 2003) (challenging dismissal of civil rights lawsuit by children of murder victim where law enforcement cover-up and evidence tampering prevented them from discovering the truth before the statute of limitations expired) (presented oral argument for victims’ attorney who had filed briefs)

Leveritt v. State, 817 So. 2d 891 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2002), vacated, 896 So. 2d 704 (Fla. 2005), 924 So. 2d 42 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2006) (reversing DUI manslaughter conviction)

State v. Bradford, 787 So. 2d 811 (Fla. 2001) (filed brief amicus curiae in companion case to Cronin, also holding the solicitation statute violated First Amendment)

Adler v. Duval County School Board, 174 F. 3d 1236 (11th Cir. 1999), 205 F. 3d 1070 (11th Cir. 2000) (en banc), cert. granted, judgment vacated, 531 U.S. 801 (2000), on remand, 250 F. 3d 1330 (11th Cir. 2001), cert. denied, 534 U.S. 1065 (2001) (First Amendment challenge to public school policy regarding prayers at high school graduation ceremonies)

State v. Cronin, 774 So. 2d 871 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2000), approved, 801 So. 2d 94 (Fla. 2001) (affirming trial judge’s dismissal of RICO and other charges against chiropractors for violating a statute prohibiting certain types of business solicitation, finding that the anti-solicitation statute violated the right to free speech under the First Amendment)

Smithwick v. Television 12 of Jacksonville, Inc., 730 So. 2d 795 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1999) (upholding right of public access to documents filed in court unless high standard is satisfied to warrant documents not being open to the public)

U.S. v. Scheer, 168 F. 3d 445 (11th Cir. 1999) (reversing bank fraud conviction because of prosecutor’s undisclosed threat to key witness)

Robinson v. Power Pizza, Inc., 993 F. Supp. 1458, 1462 (M.D. Fla. 1998) (denying motion to dismiss civil rights public accommodations suit and granting an injunction to prohibit a pizza delivery restaurant from refusing to deliver in a prominently African-American neighborhood when it had no factually supported security or other lawful justification to refuse)

Johnson v. U.S.,520 U.S. 461 (1997) (challenging perjury conviction for infringement of right to have jury determine all elements of crime beyond a reasonable doubt based on a Supreme Court decision that changed the law after trial)