George R. "Bob" Dekle, Sr., became a legal skills professor at the University of Florida after retiring from the State Attorney's Office of the Third Judicial Circuit of Florida, where he served as an assistant state attorney from 1975 through 2005. The Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association awarded him the Gene Barry Memorial Award as the outstanding prosecutor in the state (1986); two distinguished faculty awards (1996 and 2003); and a lifetime achievement award (2005) for his efforts in continuing education for prosecutors. Professor Dekle has served as faculty at the National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina, and has lectured to prosecutor's associations across the nation. Before becoming a prosecutor, he served from 1973 to 1975 as an Assistant Public Defender.
When in the seventh grade, Dekle skipped school and went to watch a murder trial. That experience led to a lecture from the principal and a 32 year career as a criminal trial lawyer. During his career Dekle investigated, prosecuted, and defended all kinds of cases, from criminal mischief to capital murder. Although he enjoyed trying cases, he also enjoyed serving as “flight instructor” for rookie prosecutors trying their first jury cases. Mentoring young lawyers gave him a passion for legal education, which he continues as director of the Prosecution Clinic at the University of Florida, Levin College of Law. Dekle also has a keen interest in history and trial advocacy, which is reflected in his published works, which include:
Abraham Lincoln's Most Famous Case: The Almanac Trial: An examination of Lincoln’s performance in People v. Armstrong (The Moonlight Murder).
The Case against Christ: A Critique of the Prosecution of Jesus: Looking through the eyes of a prosecutor, the book reconstructs the course of the trial of Jesus and critiques the actions of the prosecutors and judge.
The Last Murder: The Investigation, Prosecution, and Execution of Ted Bundy: Gives a first-hand account of the prosecution of one of America’s most notorious serial killers.
Cross Examination Handbook: Persuasion, Strategies, and Techniques: Gives Sound, practical instruction on how to plan and execute a winning cross examination.
Prosecution Principles: A Clinical Handbook: Real-world advice for newly-hired prosecutors or law students serving clinical internships in a prosecutor's office.
Abraham Lincoln’s Most Famous Case: The Almanac Trial
Few people realize that Abraham Lincoln’s journey to the presidency began at age 22 with a wrestling match in the frontier village of New Salem, Illinois and years later detoured through a murder trial in Beardstown, Illinois where he used an almanac to successfully defend the son of his old wrestling opponent. When Lincoln ran for the presidency his supporters spent more time talking about his log splitting than his lawyering, but they used the story of the trial as campaign literature to cast Lincoln in the role of a saintly savior. It wasn’t long, however, before his opponents began to portray him as shifty shyster who used questionable tactics to free a murderer. In the years since Lincoln’s death both versions of the trial have been told and retold until they evolved from folktale to fairy tale and the truth became lost in a sea of rhetoric. The Almanac Trial investigates these differing stories, unravels the tangled skein of claim and counterclaim, reconstructs the actual events, and evaluates Lincoln’s stature as a criminal defense attorney. What emerges is an intriguing account of our sixteenth president’s most celebrated case.