By Michael Caruso
Our friend and colleague Fletcher Peacock has passed away. Sadly, we all have far too many reminders that life is fragile and fleeting. But this is a real gut punch. The lesson we should take and rarely do, but that Fletcher exemplified, is not to waste a moment and embrace life completely. And to Fletcher, that meant treasuring each other, whether family, friends, or colleagues.
I first met Fletcher while clerking and had the privilege to see him in action defending his clients that came before Judge Zloch. His commitment to his clients and his zealous advocacy stood out and cemented my desire to join the office.
When I first started at the FPD, I tried my first case as "lead counsel" with Fletcher by my side. Before trial, we had decided that Fletcher would direct our client. But, that morning, a critical defense witness who lived in Delray Beach--and who was going to testify after our client--had no way to get to court. Fletcher said he would get her, and I would put our client on the stand. Fletcher surely saw the look of terror that overcame me at this suggestion. But, he explained that this was best for our client and the case, and I was ready. Of course, he was half-right. I always will remember his willingness to do--without hesitation--what was best for the client and his confidence in me.
For most of his time in Miami, Fletcher had the office next to our boss--now Judge Kathleen Williams. It was a testament to Fletcher's personality and friendship (and not the box of Goldfish he always had at the read) that his office routinely overflowed with colleagues for brainstorming or other less lawyerly exchanges. In most offices, the person who occupies the office next to the boss is quite lonely. Not Fletcher.
After Fletcher left to become the FPD in the Middle District, running into him at a conference or seminar was a highlight. He always was a welcome face, whether we would talk family, trade war stories, or celebrate/lament the Gators. Sitting next to Fletcher at these events was a prime spot because you not only obtained his insight as a seasoned lawyer and manager, but you also laughed yourself silly at his dry wit.
We were very, very fortunate to have Fletcher come back to our office. Although older, he was still the same committed and zealous advocate, but more importantly, the same friend. Rest in peace, Fletcher.