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2024 Claude Pepper Award

The Government Lawyer Section of The Florida Bar presented Mr. Octavius Holliday with the Claude Pepper Award during last week's award ceremony at the 2024 Annual Convention in Orlando.

Mr. Holliday has a long record of distinguished service as a prosecutor, including currently leading the State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit's Human Rights Division, the first of its kind in Florida, and in utilizing community outreach to reduce crime.

He is a twenty-year lawyer, 16 as an Assistant State Attorney. He is currently the Director of the Special Prosecution and Human Rights Division for SAO - 4th Circuit where he investigates and prosecutes Elder Abuse, Hate Crimes, Law Enforcement Officer Misconduct and Human Trafficking. He serves on the office's Grand Jury Review Panel, Officer-Involved Shooting Review Team, Elder Abuse Fatality Review Team and Hiring Committee. He further oversees the SAO's Community Crime Strategies Unit that focuses on high crime areas and seeks to create dialogues and outreach with the community in an effort to reduce crime.

In 2020, he was awarded the State Attorney's Office Leadership Award. He served as an ASA in the 4th Circuit from March 2003 to September 2012 as a line prosecutor, variously prosecuting misdemeanors, felony, juvenile and repeat offender cases.

Melissa Nelson, the SA for the 4th Circuit, nominated him for the Claude Pepper Award and described in detail his many contributions to the office as a mentor and role model and his admirable impact on the broader Duval County community. She identified his greatest contribution as "his role as mentor and leader to [the office's] newest prosecutors." In addition to carrying a full caseload, he regularly participates in school career days and panels discussing juvenile justice and the criminal justice system.

He serves as a mentor through 100 Black men - a national mentorship group (in 2011 the group named him the Mentor of the year); he regularly speaks at local schools, neighborhood watch meetings and other community events. He has served on the board of directors for the Daniel Webster Perkins Bar Association. He is vice president of the Jacksonville Graduate Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and oversees all chapter committees, including its award winning in-school mentoring committee and the Lamplighter Male Mentoring program. He was honored as the fraternity's 2017 Omega Man of the year.

A graduate of Duke (he played football on a scholarship) and UF law, he was the first in his family to attend college. His path to law school was not easy, and it took quite a bit of grit to succeed. Indeed, this same sort of determination has led to his success as a prosecutor and has defined his career.


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