State Attorney Eddins has two-fold focus as he retires from the job he loves

Posted on April 29, 2020 by Romi White

First Judicial Circuit State Attorney Bill Eddins said it was a tough decision to retire, but he’s focused on ending his 15-year term strong and ensuring a smooth transition for incoming State Attorney Ginger Bowden Madden, who will be the first female to serve in the role, starting this fall.

“It has been the high honor of my life to serve the people of Northwest Florida as their State Attorney. I have always enjoyed and loved the job,” Eddins said, noting although his health is still good that family members were putting “representative” candles on his birthday cakes to indicate his 73 years. 

Eddins’ early years were spent north of DeFuniak Springs in Walton County, where he was raised until he was 12 years old by a grandmother who was on welfare. “I had a very humble beginning and was very fortunate to even become a lawyer, much less State Attorney,” he said.

So far he has no definitive plans for his next step – other than he doesn’t plan to sit home. 

“My focus is to finish my career in a strong manner until the last day and the second is to help Ginger Madden prepare to be the best state attorney we’ve ever had in Northwest Florida,” he said.

Eddins described Madden as “uniquely situated” to continue the success the First Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office has experienced during his service and that of his predecessor, Curtis Golden, who remains the longest serving State Attorney in Florida’s history. Eddins attributes the office’s success to a concentration on felony prosecution. “We have been among the top offices in the state in felony conviction rate for the 15 years I’ve been in office,” he said. “She’s indicated she’s going to continue that focus.”

During Eddins’ tenure the State Attorney’s Office also established child advocacy centers and fought hard to prosecute cases involving sexual and physical abuse of children. He said Madden also intends to continue that effort.

Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson says Eddins has been a “great supporter” of law enforcement in the First Judicial Circuit. 

“He will be sorely missed by me and the other members of the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office,” said Johnson.