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Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett | Legal Blog

Oct  30,  2015

The attorneys at Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett's Spring Hill office have a strong reputation as dynamic and tenacious, representing comprehensive legal issues and delivering optimal results. For years, the practicing attorneys have followed a client-focused approach, allowing the firm to stand the test of time. Attorney Betty Whitman’s experience and devotion to service makes her an exceptional addition to the well-rounded group of attorneys.

As a Certified Continuing Education Instructor in the State of Florida, Betty is passionate about leading speaking engagements and presentations that provide legal guidance for industry leaders. Betty is also passionate about the environment and currently serves as Chairman of the Florida Agriculture and Wildlife Expo celebrating heritage, culture and community. In 2010, she was named a Florida “Super Lawyer” and in 2012 achieved the honor of being named “Boss of the Year” by the Marion County Legal Support Association.

Betty’s extensive legal experience began even before she started practicing law in 1987. Betty worked as secretary to her father, a general practitioner in Melbourne, Florida. She continued work as a legal secretary before obtaining her B.A. Degree and attending law school at the University of Florida. In 1987, after becoming a member of the Florida Bar, Betty began practicing law in Marion County. Her areas of specialty include Personal injury, Automobile Accidents, Slip and Fall Accidents, Products Liability, Workers’ Compensation and Wrongful Death.

Betty has achieved an AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® for high ethical standards and professional ability, a testament her peers rate her at the highest level of achievement. Her high level of success ensures sound legal advice and innovative strategies for clients.

Betty Whitman has repeatedly proven her commitment to client-centered representation,” explained J. Larry Hart, Esq. “Her dedication to serving others in our practice and within the community is remarkable. We are thrilled to have her join our team.”

Betty will be joining the firm's Spring Hill location as lead attorney for personal injury and workers’ compensation. For more information or to set up a free consultation, Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett P.A. invite you to call 352-247-4400 or visit the firm’s website at

Posted in Announcements|Personal Injury|Criminal Defense|Community|News and Media|Workers Compensation
Oct  21,  2015
By Laurie Davidson, Bay News 9

The autopsy on a child's body found in a freezer Sunday in Bradenton was inconclusive.

Authorities said that means they haven't been able to positively identify whether the body is that of a missing child, Janiya Thomas, 11.

Her mother, Keishanna Thomas, will be back in court on Thursday for contempt of court charges. She was held in contempt of court and taken to the Manatee County jail without bond after refusing to tell a judge anything about Janiya's whereabouts or condition.

Legal analyst Kevin Hayslett is not working this case but he said Thomas' silence doesn't surprise him.

"The question is how long can she be held for refusing to answer those questions? At some point, we might find this in the hands of the Second District Court of Appeals to have them weigh in on whether or not she can continue to be held," Hayslett said.

Police presume the body found is Janiya but Hayslett said the complete autopsy results may take a while.

"DNA will take days if not weeks. So don't expect DNA to come back tomorrow, expect it a month from now," he said.

Police said right now the investigation is on hold and no murder charges have been filed since they're waiting for the autopsy results.

Hayslett said it could become difficult for prosecutors to keep Thomas in jail on the contempt charges alone.

"If the only evidence they have is an unidentified body, they may not be able to connect the dots to allow probably cause for that judge to hold her," he said.

Thomas is also facing child abuse charges in a different case with a different child, but if she's able to pay the $100,000 bond for that, she could go free, if the contempt charges were to get dropped.


By Laurie Davison, Bay News 9

Posted in News and Media
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