THE RIGHT BALANCE
Tara has done invaluable work in service to our community as a teacher helping shape the minds of the next generation. She has also exhibited a tenacious intellect as an assistant public defender - serving a crucial role as an advocate of those in need. She is a value-based woman, a wife, and mother of four. Tara’s varied and deep experience inform her judicial philosophies that center around service to others.
Tara is committed to bringing an equitable and unbiased perspective to the bench. Her belief in a balanced judicial approach stems from her background as an educator and attorney, which taught her to approach difficult decisions with logic and objectivity. Tara appreciates the importance of thorough examination of facts and legal precedence, which allow a judge to evaluate each case with sound, objective reasoning.
Nearly a decade of experience as an attorney, more than half of which spent as a defense attorney, has developed Tara’s ability to impartially and dispassionately examine all aspects of a legal problem while developing a robust defense for her clients. Tara is determined to bring her legal acumen and reasoned judgment to her seat on the bench.
Tara has deep roots in Polk County as a fourth generation Floridian and Polk County native. Born in Lake Wales, Tara grew up in Lakeland and Lake Wales and now resides in Winter Haven. She and her husband Randy have been married for 16 years and have four beautiful children.
Tara graduated cum laude from Florida Southern College with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration. She taught English at the secondary level for three years before enrolling in a part-time legal program at Stetson University College of Law. She taught her students by day, while pursuing her legal studies at night, all while raising a family.
Tara received her juris doctorate in 2012 and joined the Florida Bar in 2013. She continued teaching, eventually taking over as the director of the Academy of Legal Studies at George Jenkins High School. Tara taught for a total of ten years until she left to practice law exclusively. She has been an Assistant Public Defender for six years. Tara currently practices in the juvenile division, protecting the rights of children who are undergoing delinquency proceedings.
Tara's professional affiliations include the Willson Inn of Court, the Florida Association of Women Lawyers, the Polk County Trial Lawyers Association, and Phi Delta Phi. She is also active in her community as a member of the League of Women Voters, a board member of the Bartow Junior Service League, serving on the advisory board for the Academy of Legal Studies at George Jenkins High School, and attending her children's many school and extracurricular activities. She is a past member of the American Bar Association and Lakeland Bar Association.