Schindlers' attorney is used to tough cases

Published April 1, 2005

David C. Gibbs III stood before the Hillsborough County Commission last year with a stack of petitions more than a foot tall. They came from 10,000 registered voters who wanted a referendum to ban public nudity.

Gibbs lost his fight that day, just as he did not succeed in his fight to save Terri Schiavo's life. But Gibbs, a Seminole lawyer who is president of the Christian Law Association, is used to the odds. He has traveled the country to defend religious freedom in a country that he says tries to oppress it.

He defended two Air Force sergeants who were court-martialed for appearing in uniform while praying at an antiabortion protest near an abortion clinic. He won an acquittal for a man arrested on disorderly conduct charges for preaching in the Franklin Street Mall in Tampa.

A Duke University law graduate, Gibbs followed his father into the profession. Gibbs' legal foundation received about $2.9-million in donations in 2002, according to tax returns. About $1.8-million went to his law firm.

Gibbs, who became the Schindlers' lead lawyer in September, has handled the Schiavo case for free. The 36-year-old Baptist and father of four says he works to spread the word of Jesus.

"I believe there's a God who puts those people (like Terri) in this world for a distinct reason, a purpose, a calling," Gibbs said on CNN's Larry King Live, "and to let people come in and say some people aren't worth living, that's a battle that we'll fight."