May 22, 2022

TAMPA — When Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy joined the safety group that may deal with the high-profile situation of a white gentleman accused of capturing a Black man in an argument round a parking room, she was greatly surprised by the actual assaults that arrived her means.

Some often called it shameful that Jean-Pierre Coy, a Black felony protection authorized skilled, could possibly be part of some of these a case. For her, nevertheless, it was not so significantly a make a distinction of race, however of creating sure that the U.S. Structure was upheld and justice prevailed.

“You symbolize individuals not for who they’re and what they’ve completed,” she instructed the Tampa Bay Moments in 2019. “However you depict them to guarantee that the governing administration is executing their place.”

Jean-Pierre Coy, acknowledged as a fighter for the authorized rights of the accused, died Monday instantly after a recurrent bout with most cancers. She was 41.

In a 17-yr authorized occupation, she rose to close by prominence by way of her zealous advocacy for purchasers and her prolific neighborhood involvement. She served as president of the George Edgecomb Bar Affiliation and on the Tampa Mayor’s African American Advisory Council, amongst many different boards and neighborhood groups. Broadly observed as a growing star, she’d confided to friends her intention to function for political workplace setting.

“We’ve misplaced an enormous,” mentioned U.S. District Select Mary Scriven.

Attorney Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy and defendant Michael Drejka speak during a break in his 2019 trial.
Authorized skilled Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy and defendant Michael Drejka converse all via a break in his 2019 demo. [ SCOTT KEELER | Times ]

A daughter of a Haitian-American members of the family, Jean-Pierre Coy was born in Rochester, N.Y., however used significantly of her childhood in Brooklyn. Increasing up, she formulated an curiosity in laws by watching Tv demonstrates in regards to the lawful course of. She instructed individuals she can be a lawyer, and most well-liked to use “mergers and acquisitions,” she recalled in a 2019 job interview with the Tampa Minority Enterprise Development Corp.

“I skilled no clue what that meant,” she reported. “But it surely sounded positively good and it impressed each individual.”

She moved to Florida when she was halfway because of substantial college. She afterwards attended Florida A&M School, during which she double-majored in political science and public administration. She earned a regulation diploma in 2004 at Stetson College Increased training of Regulation. It was there that she met her accomplice, Travis Coy.

The pair would work reverse sides of the courtroom, he as a prosecutor for the Hillsborough Situation Legal professional’s Workplace, she as a protection lawyer.

She commenced her occupation within the Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender’s Office. In 2010, she opened her particular person company.

“She took on points that will presumably not have been well-liked,” talked about fellow safety lawyer Grady Irvin, a very good pal and mentor. “However she thought-about in our Structure and that everybody was entitled to the precise of counsel, no matter state of affairs or their place in existence.”

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She launched a personal perspective to her customers, possessing a brother who served time in jail. She knowledgeable friends she fought for her shoppers the identical means she fought for her brother.

Joseline Jean-Louis Hardrick, an affiliate professor on the Hillsborough campus of Western Michigan College’s Cooley Regulation School, recalled as a younger lawyer taking a look at Jean-Pierre Coy as a useful cope with amid the bustling Pinellas County courthouse. They turned close to buddies.

“I assume typically, as legal professionals, we get began out with these beliefs and we get cynical actually rapidly,” Jean-Louis Hardrick acknowledged. “She rarely purchased burned out or cynical. She thought within the beliefs of individuals needing illustration.”

Jean-Pierre Coy skilled spoken overtly about her effectively being and hardships. She endured 6 miscarriages proper earlier than she and her partner skilled a son, Thaddeus. Not lengthy quickly after offering beginning, she was recognized with most cancers. She underwent chemotherapy and radiation therapy technique at Moffitt Most cancers Center.

Attorney Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy is seen in a family snapshot with her son, Thaddeus. She continued to serve as president of the George Edgecomb Bar Association while undergoing cancer treatment.
Lawyer Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy is observed in a household snapshot along with her son, Thaddeus. She ongoing to function president of the George Edgecomb Bar Affiliation though going via most cancers remedy.

Her struggles introduced new this implies to a nickname: “Tenacious Theresa.”

When the Pinellas County situation of Michael Drejka, the parking whole lot shooter, drew nationwide headlines in 2018, Jean-Pierre Coy volunteered to be a part of the protection workforce to assist straightforward greater than a state of affairs that had come to be enmeshed in controversy.

Safety legislation agency Bryant Camareno, who shared an office making with Jean-Pierre Coy, claimed they agreed to ship her on for her authorized abilities. Her participation introduced criticism from individuals representing the members of the family of the sufferer, Markeis McGlockton.

Throughout trial, there have been being anonymous threats, Camareno recalled. Jean-Pierre Coy remained publicly unrattled. Her goal all alongside was to make certain equity and due to course of.

“It was a lawful downside,” Camareno reported. “She beloved that impediment.”

Defendant Michael Drejka talks with his attorney, Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy, during his 2019 trial.
Defendant Michael Drejka talks together with his lawyer, Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy, at some stage in his 2019 trial. [ SCOTT KEELER | TIMES | Tampa Bay Times ]

In January, Jean-Pierre Coy joined the enterprise of Hillsborough Level out Authorized skilled Andrew Warren to information the conviction consider unit, which examines shut conditions during which defendants declare to have been wrongfully convicted.

“Theresa’s joyful spirit, infectious chuckle, ardour for advocacy and braveness throughout her struggle with most cancers influenced us all,” her members of the family wrote in an announcement posted to Fb. “Theresa was additionally a beacon of lightweight on this earth that can rarely really exit as in depth as each of us choose up her mantle and proceed on her perform of transforming the lifetime of the downtrodden in the midst of our neighborhood.”

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