Sep 2, 2020
When E.J. Salcines ’59 became a lawyer in Tampa in 1963, he and other young legal professionals “with brand-new, shiny briefcases” would mingle with more experienced judges and lawyers in the lobby of the Hillsborough County Courthouse.
The significance of those days — when the court’s old-timers, with their scratched and scuffed briefcases, would help usher newcomers into the justice system — was much on the mind of Judge Salcines as he addressed a crowd of friends and supporters outside that same courthouse 54 years later.
The longtime attorney, prosecutor, and judge received a remarkable honor with the unveiling of a bronze statue of him on the courthouse grounds.
“It’s too much to fathom,” Judge Salcines told the assembled crowd.
The statue project was undertaken by members of the Mayor’s Hispanic Advisory Council, who raised more than $45,000 in partnership with the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay. They commissioned sculptor Steve Dickey to pay tribute to the accomplishments of Judge Salcines, the son of poor immigrants from Spain.
“I’m especially pleased that you all selected this courthouse plaza for the Salcines statue,” the judge said. “I’m going to be here, welcoming all the young lawyers.”
After graduating from Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Ga., young Emiliano José Salcines studied history and political science at Florida Southern College.
After going on to the South Texas College of Law in Houston, he returned to Tampa for a job in the State Attorney’s Oce. He later was appointed assistant U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida, then returned to the 13th Judicial Court for four terms before spending 13 years in private practice.
Governor Lawton Chiles, a longtime friend — appointed Judge Salcines to the Second District Court of Appeals.
At the unveiling ceremony, Judge Salcines thanked the crowd of friends and coworkers and said he could not be there without their support.
“Every single one of you has had people in your life who have helped you,” he said, shortly before he and his wife, Elsa, removed the sheet concealing his life-sized likeness. “Nobody makes it on their own. All of us owe many, many thanks to those that have helped us along the way.”
After the statue was revealed, as a bagpiper played and onlookers applauded, Judge Salcines smiled and shook the outstretched hand of the statue, jokingly comparing the expertly sculpted hairline to his own.
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When E.J. Salcines ’59 became a lawyer in Tampa in 1963, he and other
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