Past President of the Saint Lucie County Chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Whitney Duteau born and raised in Tampa, Florida. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Upon graduating in 2010 Whitney began to pursue her law degree at Florida Coastal School Of Law in Jacksonville. She graduated in 2013 with Pro Bono honors for her outstanding dedication to the community. Prior to joining the Meltzer & Bell, P.A. family, Whitney worked as an Assistant Public Defender in the 19th Judicial Circuit (St. Lucie, Martin, Okeechobee, and Indian River counties) for 7 years. During her time at the Public Defender’s office, Whitney provided legal representation to those charged with misdemeanors and felonies.
While in law school Whitney took a trial advocacy class and earned one of the coveted “best trial team” awards. She also became a domestic violence victim advocate and helped countless women at the local domestic violence shelter. In addition to her work at the domestic violence shelter, Whitney also interned at the Newman Law Firm where she assisted in the preparation of cases for trial including preparing depositions, speaking with witnesses, assisting in developing trial strategy, and review of all evidence.
Whitney began her career with the Public Defender’s office in the County Court division handling a wide range of misdemeanor crimes including DUI, assault, battery, theft, driving while license suspended, possession of marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. In 2014, she was promoted to the felony division where she handled felonies of all levels including sex-related offenses, aggravated batteries, drug-related crimes, and homicides. She remained in this role until 2018 when she became the division head of the County Court Division. Whitney handled thousands of cases during her career and has taken many of those cases to trial. She has also overseen dozens of trials during her time as a county court supervisor. In 2018 she was awarded the Advocate of the Year award for her outstanding work ethic and dedication to the practice of criminal defense.
Since joining the Meltzer & Bell team, in 2021, Whitney has handled hundreds of cases from misdemeanors to felonies punishable by life. Of those hundreds of cases she been able to obtain a not guilty verdict for several clients facing a life sentence, as well as for clients in less serious cases. In addition to the many cases she has successfully taken to trial Whitney has also successfully defended cases involving firearms, drug trafficking, and child sexual abuse by filing motions which revealed the weaknesses in the state’s case or the failure of law enforcement to follow the law. These motions have led to outright dismissal of the charges. In the cases where the assessment led to the client’s decision to plea she has been able to successfully negotiate favorable sentences which has kept clients out of prison or jail and allowed them to continue to work and be with their families. Whitney has been quoted by the TC Palm on behalf of her clients’ whose cases garnered local media attention. She continues to handle all of her cases with diligence and to work hard to achieve the best possible outcome for each of her clients.
Whitney has been actively involved in the legal community as the past President of Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Inns of Court, St. Lucie County Bar Association, Martin County Bar Association, and on the board of the St. Lucie County Chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.