Hillsborough Circuit Judge James D. Whittemore received the Outstanding Jurist Award at the 1998 Law Day lunch held Wednesday by the Hillsborough County Bar Association.
Whittemore, who has been on the bench since 1990, was surprised by the announcement and accepted the award with members of his family watching from the audience at the downtown Hyatt hotel.
Whittemore presides over civil matters, which seldom make headlines. But he was in the news two years ago when he rejected the first legal challenge by former Mayor Bill Poe to the NFL stadium project.
The winner of the bar's Liberty Bell community service award was King High School teacher Robin Jackson, who started a peer mediation program for resolving student conflicts.
Law enforcement awards went to Tampa Police officers Michael D. Brower and Michael G. Griffin and Hillsborough sheriff's Cpl. Lee Baker.
Art awards went to Gina Pfeil and Jessica Barber, both of Armwood High School, and Abby London and Alice Hammer, both of Plant High School.