Judge Patt Maney - US Army (Retired) - Shalimar, FL

Judge Thomas Patterson Maney, Brigadier General, US Army, retired, has had a remarkable career as a jurist in both the military and in state levels of service. His final years of military service included serving as the Political Sector Coordinator and Senior Advisor to the US Ambassador to Afghanistan focused on bottom up, citizen targeted, enterprise driven, and private sector assisted economic development under fire. He held the diplomatic status of Attache’. He was seriously wounded in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack on August 21, 2005, and spent almost twenty months recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

A key element of the rationale for honoring Judge Maney (ret.) is his TBI recovery and the extension of it to treat and serve others. His story involves a long series of Hyperbaric Oxygen treatments which enabled a truly remarkable regaining of mental functioning capability. Even gaining the authority tc undergo this treatment regimen involved literally battle with the Army medical bureaucracy as it not been a standard authorized TBI treatment in the past. Today it is among available treatment options because of the persistence and determination to not only avail himself of what literally is a medical miracle, but he has continued with a strong positive and successful effort to make this capability available to many other similarly affected wounded warriors. Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment was so successful with Judge Maney (ret.) that his mental capability recovery enabled him to return to the bench as a serving County Judge . 

​Once he was able to return to the bench, Judge Maney (ret.) undertook a wide variety of personal efforts to assist veterans however he could. He focused on finding ways to enable the existing legal system to develop an alternative manner of assisting with legal civil and criminal situations created or affected by TBI/PTSD. Judge Maney (ret.)’s efforts lead directly to the passage of FS 394.47891, the T. Patt Maney Veterans’ Treatment Act, which created today’s Florida Veterans Courts program in Florida’s legal system. The first Veterans Court was created in his County and since 2012 there are now 30 existing Veterans Courts, one in almost every major city in Florida.

The long term positive impact upon thousands of veterans finding themselves legally involved is the fact that Veterans Courts now exist to assist not only with appropriate case adjudication, but also with finding services to deal with very difficult problems of justice-involved veterans with a military related substance use and/or mental health disorder including TBI and PTSD. Under the program, veterans are diverted to treatment programs or provided other alternatives that allow them to avoid jail time if they can stay on track. Veterans Court requires the participant to appear regularly before the Court, attend mandatory treatment sessions, and submit to frequent testing for substance abuse.

The personal efforts of Judge Maney (ret.) also extend into other aspects of veterans assistance such as Suicide prevention, family support, and civil rights. He is a passionate patriot who thinks and acts in every way he can to ensure that those who elect to voluntary serve our Nation through military service have the recognition and support which a grateful Nation must provide to those who protect our vital national interests and our personal and national Freedoms. He is particularly dedicated toward assistance to severely wounded warriors and their families, and to ensuring they receive lifelong support earned by their military service and personal sacrifices.

Education and Training Accomplishments:

  • Patt Maney attended the University of Kentucky (BA 1970),
  • the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville (JD 1974),
  • Troy State University (MS, 1995),
  • the Army War College (1989), and
  • the US Army Capstone course for new General officers (2000).

Professional History:

Judge Maney (ret.) has a total of almost 36 years combined active and reserve service, 1970-2007. After initial entry on active duty for training, Judge Maney (ret.) attended law school and served in the Ready Reserve. After graduating from law school, he remained in the Reserve. Judge Maney (ret.) practiced law for 15 years before being appointed to the bench as Okaloosa County Circuit Court Judge in 1989.

As a Reservist, Judge Maney (ret.) had several tours of active duty. Due to page maximums, not all have been provided but can be made available. After each period of active duty, he reverted back to reserve status and continued with his civilian profession as a County Judge. Contingency deployments to Panama (Operation Just Cause), Haiti, Bosnia (Operation Joint Endeavor) and Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom) followed where he was called to duty, served and returned to the bench. The most dramatic of the two periods of active duty were service in Bosnia and service in Afghanistan for almost 17 months with subsequent recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for almost 20 months.

Before deploying to Afghanistan and Bosnia, Judge Maney (ret.) taught as an adjunct professor at both Okaloosa Walton Community College (now Northwest Florida State College) and the University of West Florida. He has won non-partisan elections successively since, one whilst deployed. In 2016, Maney became the longest serving county or circuit judge in Florida’s First Judicial Circuit. Judge Maney (ret.) will retire 21 May 2018 after 29 years on the bench.

Advocacy on Behalf of Veterans:

Judge Maney’s activity is unique in duration as during his service in the US Army Reserve, while he was also a sitting County Judge, his activity in community and veterans organizations has been continuous. This differs significantly from qualifying activities which here-to-date have occurred following active duty military service. He has long been active in patriotic events as a guest speaker, community advocate for veterans, and in supporting local defense community efforts on behalf of military service members and their families which reside in his defense dependent community near Eglin Air Force Base in NW Florida.

Following his severe injuries incurred in an IED attack in Afghanistan in August of 2005, and a more than two year recovery period including lengthy hospitalization and follow-on treatments, and his medical retirement, he has rededicated his service to veterans and wounded warriors for the last eleven years. As a blast brain injury wounded soldier, his recovery challenges were extensive and as each evolved he evaluated every step in the recovery process for its applicability to not only his case, but the hundreds of other soldiers hospitalized alongside of him. His lengthy recovery period also allowed him to experience the many significant mental health and member family support challenges which severely wounded veterans and their families must deal with for a lifetime. He became the voice of the soldier in recovery, and following his medical retirement in 2007, he has continued being the voice of the wounded warriors in Florida and local military dependent communities. A portion of this education about living in a new normal is a unique understanding of the severely wounded service person with support needs beyond any normal families’ capabilities. A good portion of this included mental health challenges for veterans dealing with PTSD, rehabilitation and new career retraining opportunities, stresses of families dealing with never expected or planned for new responsibilities, and even dealing with situations regarding encounters with the justice system.

This view of veterans in his locale created clear visibility on the need for a new capability within our states legal system to deal with veterans and legal encounters. Judge Maney (ret.) saw this urgent need and rose to the occasion by becoming the driving force to create the first Veterans Court(s) in Florida. Today more than 30 Veterans Courts exist, one in almost every major city in Florida because he saw the need and strove to lead to a viable new program to address this need. As a part of this program he also works to solve associated problems related to mental health, training, employment, justice-involved veterans, and obtaining earned and needed veterans services from the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

  • Initiated a community-based Stand Down for Homeless Veterans, now in its 11th year. The Okaloosa County Stand Down is VA supported but not VA sponsored. As part of the initial Stand Down and continuing annually since is the inclusion of a voluntary misdemeanor court.
  • Worked with then-US Representative Jeff Miller for the establishment of a Vet Center in Okaloosa County to provide counselling services to combat veterans who were readjusting to civilian life.
  • Started the first Veterans Treatment Court in Florida. It grew to include justice-involved veterans from throughout the First Judicial Circuit of Florida as well as from other counties. Judge Maney (ret.) successfully testified before various Florida Legislative Committees in support of the bill and later for amendments to the bill. The Legislature named the T. Patt Maney Veterans’ Treatment Act.
  • Successfully advocated with the Legislature for laws to protect the right for deployed military members and their dependents who move to Florida after the books have closed to register to vote. Judge Maney (ret.) also supported a bill to protect the personal addresses for service members from disclosure.
  • Served a four year term on the Florida Defense Support Task Force as an appointee of the President of the Florida Senate, 2011-2015.
  • Served three Secretaries of the US Department of Veterans Affairs as an appointee to the Congressionally authorized Readjustment Advisory Committee.
  • Made presentations on Veterans Treatment Courts to the Florida Conference of County Court Judges, the Florida Advanced Judicial College and various regional VA conferences on homelessness of veterans.

Civic Activities and Contributions:

  • Judge Maney (ret.) has been involved in his local community in every aspect of civic veterans’ related activities for over thirty years. Because of his leadership with creation of Veterans Courts, which are now assisting hundreds of legally involved veterans each year. Judge Maney (ret.) has been active with local job placement organizations, with the local NAACP organization which honored him for his continuing efforts in support service, citizenship and civil rights in his local veterans communities, with his local Chamber of Commerce, and of course, with leading his peers in judicial service in NW Florida.
  • Judge Maney (ret.) has been active in his area Suicide Prevention Council, in seeking and supporting TBI/PTSD veterans in need of Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment, the same miracle treatments which literally saved his personal recovery and enabled a reentering a valuable professional career and future for himself and his family. He uses his personal recovery treatment and its success as a viable personal success story to enable other TBI veterans being afforded this remarkable capability.
  • In 2012, Judge Maney (ret.) was appointed by the Florida Senate President to serve as a member of the newly formed Florida Defense Support Task Force. This TF is charged with ensuring that Florida federal military installations and their missions are protected and enhanced should another round of Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) be enacted by the Congress. His four years of service on this TF have contributed to each of Florida’s 20 major military installations being more prepared not only to survive a BRAC, but to be able to actually absorb growth from consolidations which will occur nationwide. He was particularly effective as the voice of the veteran and the military family on this state Defense Task Force.
  • Obtained a UH-1 Huey helicopter for display at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport to honor a local veteran who received the Medal of Honor for his service in Vietnam as well as all Vietnam veterans.
  • Worked with then-US Representative Jeff Miller to get the bell of the World War II Liberty ship, USS Okaloosa, transferred to Okaloosa County for display at the airport. In conjunction with that effort, he located five of the original crew, two of whom attended the dedication. Successfully suggested that the Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners erect highway signs noting that Okaloosa County was the home of two medal of Honor recipients.
  • Was appointed by the Governor to the statutory Suicide Prevention Coordinating Council, 2010-2014.
  • Has served as a speaker, in partnership with his wife, to the Northwest Florida Nursing Program students about wounded warrior care and caregivers.
  • Established a Purple Heart scholarship at NWFSC for recipients and their descendants with his wife.
  • Was appointed by the Chief Justice and served three terms on the Florida Supreme Court’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse Task Force, 2010- present, and was involved in a major re-write of the Baker Act. The Task Force also supported the passage of the Veterans Treatment Court bills.
  • Made presentations to the Eglin AFB and Hurlburt Field legal offices on Veterans Treatment Courts.
  • After returning from Bosnia, started a quarterly (approximately) half day program with the Air Force Special Operations School, Hurlburt Field, to introduce foreign military leaders to the US justice system.
  • Started the Okaloosa Mental Health Court in 2003, the fourth or fifth such court in Florida, and it continues today.
  • Served on the DUI Program Review Board for the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for a decade and a half.
  • Made presentations on “leadership” to the Youth Leadership Program for high school students for the Military Order of World Wars, 2014-2017.

Awards and Honors:

  • 1993 – Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Okaloosa County Chapter, Willie Bankston Award for Civil Rights.
  • 1993 – Judicial Distinguished Service Award, Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency, Okaloosa County Chapter. Received this award again in 2004.
  • 1997 – Private audience with His Holiness Pope John Paul, II, at the conclusion of the Pope’s visit to Sarajevo (during Bosnia deployment).
  • 1998 – Okaloosa-Walton Bar Association, Liberty Bell Award.
  • 2001 – Military Order of World Wars, Okaloosa County Chapter, Silver Patrick Henry Award.
  • 2004 – National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Okaloosa County Branch, Linda Baptiste Miller Award.
  • 2004 – Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 11367, Citizen of the Year Award.
  • 2005 – Afghan Ghazi Mir Batcha Kahn Superior Medal, presented by the former King of Afghanistan, Zahir Shah (during Afgan deployment).
  • 2005 – US Department of State Meritorious Honor Award.
  • 2005 – Florida Supreme Court Proclamation.
  • 2006 – Secretary of Defense Outstanding Public Service Award.
  • 2006 – Florida Conference of County Court Judges, Distinguished Service Award.
  • 2006 – Crestview (FL) Chamber of Commerce Military Member of the Year.
  • 2006 – Florida Freedom Newspapers Spirit of Freedom Award.
  • 2007 – Okaloosa Walton Bar Association, “for outstanding contributions to spreading democracy throughout the world”
  • 2007 – Civil Affairs Association Hildreth Award (national).
  • 2009 – Okaloosa County Jobs Plus (now known as CareerSource Okaloosa Walton) Veterans Service Award.
  • 2010 – Military Order of the Purple Heart, Patriot of the Year (state, regional and national.
  • 2010 – Mental Health Association of Okaloosa and Walton Counties for Extraordinary contributions to Mental Health.
  • 2010 – National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Okaloosa County Branch, Men of the Century Award.
  • 2012 – Gulf Coast Veterans Advocacy Council, “Colonel George E. Bud Day Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • 2014 – Daughters of the American Revolution, Choctawhatchee Bay Chapter, Distinguished Citizen Medal.
  • 2014 – Florida Conference of County Court Judges, Harvey Ford Award. The award is presented to one county court Judge a year from among the 318 county court Judges for dedication to the legal profession, the community and the conference.
  • 2015 – Brain Injury Association of Florida, Valiant Heart Award for strength, courage and leadership and also reaching out to others offering rare compassion.
  • 2016 – Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Kentucky.
  • 2017 – Governor’s Medal of Merit.
  • The Chief Judge of the First Judicial Circuit named the Okaloosa Veterans Treatment Court after him in March 2018.
  • 2018 – The City of Fort Walton Beach (April 10) and the Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners (April 17) voted to name a roadway by the South Okaloosa County Courthouse Annex Extension “Judge Maney Way.”