Ralph has been practicing law for over 40 years. He was a well-respected prosecutor, and the Chief Assistant prosecutor for our Circuit, for a number of years earlier in his career. Now he practices in the areas of criminal defense, family law and personal injury. He has tried hundreds of jury trials and is a seasoned litigator and trial attorney.
Ralph was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan, while his father was serving in the United States Army during World War II, but he mostly grew up in Jacksonville, graduating from Landon High School (when it was one of only three high schools in Jacksonville). Ralph was also actively involved in Scouting, and achieved the highest scouting rank possible . . . Eagle Scout! While growing up on in the St. Nicholas area of Jacksonville, Ralph loved fishing and boating and he spent many happy hours of his child hood and young adult hood on the St. Johns River. After graduating from Stetson University with his undergraduate degree and from Emory University with a Masters degree, both in English, Ralph joined the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant.
After Ralph’s army training was completed, the army sent him to Vietnam, where he was first assigned to the 34th General Support Group in Saigon. While there he was tasked with conducting an investigation as to whether a civilian military employee had perished in a plane crash, even though the body was never recovered among the wreckage. The extensive investigation took Ralph all over South Vietnam, and even Guam, interviewing witnesses, reviewing plane manifests, and combing through the wreckage of the crash. Conducting this investigation whet Ralph’s appetite for the law, which he was already interested in before going to Vietnam. His penchant for the law was further increased after he was transferred to the 604th Transportation Company in Pleiku, Vietnam, where he was appointed to act as counsel for military personnel in a number of court marshals. Ralph’s legal skills were evident even at this early point in his career, and even before he went to law school, as he was able to successfully defend a number of his clients in these court marshals from the charges which had been brought against them. After returning from Vietnam, Ralph served one more year on active duty, at Ft. Rucker, Alabama, where was also a Scout Master for an Explorer Scout Troop on the army base.
After leaving the military, Ralph enrolled in law school at Florida State University, where he graduated in record time, and with honors, in 1971. When Ralph started law school, his daughter Deborah Greene, started first grade. And twenty years later, Deborah also graduated from FSU Law School high honors!
After law school Ralph served as an Assistant State Attorney (prosecutor) under Ed Austin, who was the elected State Attorney at that time for the Fourth Judicial Circuit. Ralph quickly rose through the leadership ranks at the State Attorney’s Office, and he ultimately served as the Chief Assistant to Ed Austin for several years. While at the State Attorney’s Office, Ralph oversaw the “computerization” of the office, and put in place a system of forms and form numbers which, in large part, is still in use today. He also tried countless high profile and serious felony trials and murder trials during his time at the state attorney’s office. In fact, in 1983 Ralph was featured in an article in Life magazine regarding one of his higher profile murder trials.
Ralph left the State Attorney’s Office after serving there for over a decade, and went into private practice, where he practiced criminal defense, personal injury and family law, which he still practices today. Ralph has tried the impressive number of 200 or more jury trials during his 42 years as an attorney, both as a prosecutor, and while in private practice.
Ralph is now of counsel at Combs Greene, and he is proud to be associated with the firm founded by his son-in-law, Steve Combs, and his daughter, Deborah. Ralph, and his wife, live on Black Hammock Island in Jacksonville. Ralph enjoys fishing and hunting (where he still puts all of that boy scout and Eagle Scout knowledge to good use). In fact, if you ever have a chance to hang out with Ralph, you’ll surely hear some great, interesting, and funny, fishing and hunting stories . . . sometimes about the one that got away . . . sometimes about the successes . . . sometimes about the hilarious mishaps along the way . . . and Ralph is a great story teller! That’s one of the things that makes him such a great lawyer!
Ralph also enjoys reading great books (and poetry too)! Not surprising, since he has a bachelors degree and a masters degree in English! In fact, when asked about his favorite books, he couldn’t chose a favorite, stating that there are so many great books that there is just no way to chose just one, or even a few. But his daughter, Deborah Greene, said that Moby Dick was sure to be among his top picks. And . . . low and behold . . . when Ralph finally agreed to name his favorite books and movies, Moby Dick was the favorite book, and the Wizard of Oz and the Searchers were his favorite movies! Wow . . . what a range of favorites! But it’s that appreciation for art, and fun, and people, and human nature, and life . . . from being an avid outdoors-man . . . to reading great literature . . . to appreciating art and entertainment from the high brow to the common place . . . that makes Ralph a truly unique individual with a keen intellect, a great sense of humor, a brilliant legal mind and a highly tuned understanding of life and law.
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