Bill Sheppard Jacksonville lawyer dies at 80 after 50 year career

Nelita Collins

For nearly half a century, William “Bill” J. Sheppard worked as a criminal defense, civil rights and appellate attorney in Florida, leaving a mark not only on Jacksonville but on the entire state of Florida. 

On Saturday he died at 80 years old after an extended illness, leaving behind his wife and law partner, Elizabeth “Betsy” White, children and grandchildren.

In a Facebook post, White wrote that Mr. Sheppard “lived in excruciating pain for the last 10 years” but that he “used that pain to understand the pain of others, clients included, and it made him a better man.” 

Mr. Sheppard argued before the U.S. Supreme Court for three separate cases and helped to progress rights for Floridians, including establishing that a delay between indictment and arrest can violate the constitutional right to a speedy trial.

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