Community Mourns Death of Alvin Entin: Attorney, Advocate and ‘True Gentleman’

Alvin Entin

Alvin Entin with his wife Lois in front of Tamarac City Hall when he and volunteers filed a recall petition to remove Patricia “Patte” Atkins-Grad from office. Photo by Adam Baron.

By Alicia Ceccarelli

Attorney Alvin Entin recently fought off Covid-19 and survived a stroke before dying at 75, leaving behind six loving children and his devoted wife, Lois.

A Brooklyn-born Dodgers fan who enjoyed his pugs, Entin loved the Florida sunshine while golfing, boxing, and was an avid theater lover.

When the reputable criminal defense attorney of Entin & Della Fera, PA, wasn’t in the courtroom protecting the accused’s rights with professionalism, dignity, and dedication, he could probably be found in the theatre taking on supporting roles — one of many passions that he enjoyed.

Entin not only participated on-stage, but he was also a decade-long chairman of the board of Pembroke Pines Theatre of Performing Arts. His civil service and wide reception ushered Entin into an appointment as a judge for South Florida’s version of the Tony Awards.

His long-time friend and criminal defense colleague, Keith Tynan, recalls how enjoyable a stage presence he had.

“He would even sing in some of these productions — they had just some tremendous voices in that troop.”

Tynan says these theatrical skills were effective in delivering his compelling arguments during trial.

“He was a guy who could read a transcript and after he’s read it, tell you what line and page the information is on,” says Tynan.

Though Tynan never got to witness Entin in action in front of a jury, he did work in Entin’s office while cutting his teeth in criminal law. He began their relationship when Entin ran for Congress as a Republican in 1980.

“It was a constant cast of characters that came through [Entin’s] office,” said Tynan, who recalls that Entin and his firm represented several boxers with legal problems. “The boxers were constantly in trouble for something.”

In 2000, Entin’s experience advocating for boxing clients led to his appointment by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush as Chairman of the Florida State Boxing Commission. Entin was the reputable attorney the state needed to clear up controversies and conflicts of interest in boxing regulations. Entin also litigated against Don King Productions and the World Boxing Organization.

Over the years, Entin’s devotion to justice and ethics, plus his record for success through acquittals, made him the underdog attorney that high-profile clients wanted fighting on their side.

Both nationally and at the state level, he has fought for his clients with charges ranging from violent crimes to political corruption. His exoneration of the City of Miami Code Enforcement Commissioner and former State Representative, Eladio Armesto, was a rare win in Florida judicial history for officials charged by the State Attorney’s office.

That win led to being hired for defense teams of the Snoop Doggy Dogg murder case and the Mario Fortunato murder case in New York. Other cases included the popularly known “Bubba Bust” case in Key West, Florida, with Entin’s cross-examination of the principal witness instrumental in the jury’s favorable verdict. Another remarkable win was in the federal government’s four-year prosecution of the “Moscow Posse,” in which his client was the only one to be acquitted.

Throughout his career, Entin was a fierce opponent in the courtroom, gaining the respect of not only his clients and colleagues but his adversaries as well.

His standards for ethics and legal abilities have resulted in Entin receiving the highest rating by Martindale-Hubbell every year since 1980, as well as his inclusion in several editions of “Who’s Who in American Law.”

While raised in Brooklyn, New York, he came to Florida to study law at the University of Miami and eventually settled in Pembroke Pines.  In 2004, he lived moved to The Woodlands Country Club in Tamarac, where his late brother Richard Entin lived.  Richard would predecease Alvin by three weeks.

“Leaving in 30 minutes to bid my brother goodbye for the last time. It’s surreal, and I feel like I am having an out of body experience. I cannot conceive of a world where my brother Richard is not a phone call away. There is now a black hole in my life,” he wrote on October 6.

He was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1970 and practiced both civil and criminal litigation. Early in his career, he served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys Association. 

In 1978, he authored “The Law of Mobile Homes in Florida,” a continuing legal education booklet for landlords and tenants, while serving as an Associate Judge-Mediator for the City of North Miami-Beach, People’s Justice Court. A few years later, he authored Trial Tactics in Multi-Defendant Cases” for the South Carolina Bar.

Entin served on various boards, including Directors for the North Dade Bar Association and The Federal Bar Association, and become a member of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers.

Tynan reflected on this pivotal and tenacious moment in Entin’s public service, stating, “He believes in something, he saw it through. That’s Alvin.”

In 2013, Entin organized the campaign to remove Tamarac Commissioner Patte Atkins-Grad from office.

Arrested for taking payment from developers to help lease a BMW 525i and pick up the $6,300 tab for her 2006 election victory party, Entin said she was an “embarrassment to us as her constituents and to the City.”

“Patte Atkins Grad was not vindicated. She never denied taking money and a car in return for her vote. Instead, her defense was she was too stupid to understand she was being bribed. At Christmas, a jury acquitted her, based on their statements, because they believed she was dumb as a rock.”

Even with all these accomplishments in career and civic spaces still, Entin gave more to the community through his faith.

He has served as past president of Beth Torah Adath Yeshuran Congregation and through associations such as Greater Miami Jewish Federation, the David Posnack J.C.C., the Aventura – North Miami Beach Lions Club Boys Town Jerusalem, Grand Palms Community Association, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the Republican Jewish Committee.

Entin was laid to rest on October 28, 2020, at Star of David Memorial Gardens Cemetery & Funeral Chapel, North Lauderdale, Florida.

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