Gov. Ron DeSantis has ordered flags at half-staff on Saturday to honor Associate Deputy Attorney General Chesterfield H. Smith, Jr., who died Sept. 25.
Smith served a 31-year tenure at Florida’s Office of the Attorney General, working for five attorneys general and seven governors. He spent 18 years serving as a Bureau Chief of the Civil Division.
Smith died last week after he was struck by a vehicle while riding a bicycle in Wakulla Springs. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the circumstances regarding the afternoon collision remain unknown. He was 69-years-old.
“Heartbroken at the sudden loss of our Associate Deputy Attorney General Chesterfield Smith,” Attorney General Ashley Moody said in a statement last week. “Chet was a brilliant attorney and more importantly a great human being. I’m shocked, and our entire office is grieving as we mourn a man who meant so much to us personally and professionally.”
A University of Miami School of Law graduate, Smith began his career with the Attorney General’s Office in 1994. The Bartow native specialized in several areas of law including civil rights law, civil trial practice, class actions, deceptive and unfair trade practices, intellectual property, Medicaid law and securing outside counsel.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, Smith advised more than 260 employees in general civil litigation and also served as chief of state programs litigation.
He was admitted into the Florida Bar in 1990.
“Terribly sorry to hear this news,” the Florida Bar said on social media. “Condolences and best wishes to the Smith family during this difficult time.”
Smith shares the same name as his father, a renowned lawyer and former president of the American Bar Association. The elder Smith famously criticized former President Richard Nixon after he terminated Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox and forced the resignation two Department of Justice heads.
Flags will be flown at half-staff at the Leon County Courthouse, the City Hall of Tallahassee and at the State Capitol.