NOTE  Some of these Press reviews refer to the book by its original title “Public Secrets and Justice – journal of a Circuit Court Judge.”  I knew that title wasn’t quite right, but it was the best I could  come up with under the time restraints of publication.  When it was republished to include a few changes, it came out under a more appropriate name – one that better describes the impact the children have had on me.  Footprints on My Soul – Journal of a Circuit Court Judge.

Amazing views from the bench … with fascinating insights to a truly Renaissance woman.
– Bill Campbell, columnist, Air Force veteran, and blogger.

Her courage is palpable …[as she] shows the heart of a judge who cares, and the spirit … struggling to be free of the shackles of cultural expectations. You will not be able to put it down.
– Thomas Lane Butts, DD, Pastor Emeritus, columnist,
Author of Tigers in the Dark

Brutally honest account of what it felt like to … carry out her job [as Judge] … until she no longer could.  … joy and humor in Melvin’s deeply moving memoir, as she discovers “life after law” and revels in the freedom of anonymity.… deeply personal way to pay homage to the unforgettable children she met as a judge, who taught her the value of listening, stubbornness, hope, and courage.”
Jan Pudlow, senior editor, The Florida Bar News

You can read Jan’s full article by clicking here 

Excerpt from Book review published in Friends JournalJun/Jul 2014
(Full review available here)

Public Secrets & Justice: A Journal of a Circuit Court Judge
Reviewed by John W. Steele

“Laura Melvin, dutiful daughter of an esteemed circuit court judge and of the Deep South, followed the path prescribed for her by her heritage: marriage, a son, the law, and ultimately the bench. But after ten years as a judge, she felt a great void in her life and a yearning to break free….at age 53 and at the peak of her career, she resigned her judgeship and embarked on a journey to find her true self and “justice.”

This book is an account of her yearlong travels around the country, punctuated by frequent retrospective looks at some of her more memorable experiences on the bench. The result is a fascinating memoir of a colorful, multifaceted, and adventurous woman and her search for meaning and a measure of truth…

Melvin is at her best, however, in helping us understand the challenge a judge faces in maintaining a neutral demeanor and state of mind in these difficult cases in order to insure fairness to all parties. She accomplishes this often by pulling back the curtain to reveal her actual thought processes during trials and hearings. One cannot help but be impressed with how conscientious she was in her efforts at evenhandedness despite frequently strong emotions that might have pulled her in an opposite direction. We can only hope that other judges do likewise, but one must wonder whether years of constant exposure to the inhumanity they see leave many of them jaded and cynical.”

(C) 2014 Friends Publishing Corporation. Reprinted with

An hour long interview on Northern Spirit Radio  Click Here

In 2011 I rode the outside perimeter of the U.S. on a 12,897 mile solo ride on my Goldwing motorcycle to raise awareness for and funding for four child-focused charities —  Kids House – a child advocacy center in Pensacola, Fla, Shriner’s Children’s Hospital; Ronald McDonald House, and Habitat for Humanity.  You can check out some of the press my 4 Corners 4 Kids motorcycle ride received:

The Florida Bar News

WEAR-TV 3 Angels in Our Midst

Miami CBS Local