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Mollo to Run for Public Defender in Pinellas and Pasco

Sara Mollo | Pinellas Pasco Public Defender | Politics

She is seeking to replace Bob Dillinger, who is retiring in 2020.

LARGO – Local attorney and Chief Assistant Public Defender Sara Mollo is seeking to replace Public Defender Bob Dillinger, who is retiring after 20-plus years of public service.

“With my upcoming retirement in 2020, Sara Mollo has my total support to fill the vacancy,” Dillinger said.

Dillinger has been the Public Defender since 1997.  His career is saturated with accolades from the community for being a champion for the most vulnerable citizens in the Pinellas and Pasco communities.

Mollo, 48, of Belleair Bluffs, was hired by Dillinger in 2003. Admitted to the Florida and Missouri Bar in 1996, her experience includes management of Monroe County’s Public Defenders’ Office in Marathon, being appointed by the governor of Missouri to serve as the prosecutor for two counties, working as an associate at a family law practice, and civil law litigation. Mollo said her unique background gives her a balanced perspective on the criminal justice system.

“My extensive experience in senior management and current position as the Chief Assistant Public Defender for Pinellas and Pasco Counties gives me the advantage of being able to hit the ground running,” Mollo said.

“Mr. Dillinger’s contributions to our community and his legacy need to be protected and continued. I am the most qualified person to take the reins at the Public Defender’s Office. I’ve worked at the Public Defender’s Office longer than I lived in my parents’ home. It’s where I belong, and I will work hard to garner the same respect Mr. Dillinger has earned. The tremendous support I have already received has been truly humbling.”

Mollo’s campaign said she is endearingly referred to as the “incompetent expert” because of her passion for mental health advocacy.

Mollo said she believes that having a mental illness doesn’t define you, but how we as a society treat mental illness does define us. Mollo’s passion for mental health advocacy was ignited while serving as the Baker Act attorney. She has presented to numerous groups of attorneys on issues pertaining to mental health law. Mollo said she believes empowerment is a cost-effective way to help people become independent. She said she also believes that all people should be treated fairly, with the dignity and the civility they deserve as fellow human beings.

Mollo earned her Bachelor of Science in Communication Management in 1992 and her Juris Doctorate in 1995. Her father, a retired army lieutenant colonel, and mother live on a horse farm in Missouri near her siblings. When she is not advocating for citizens’ rights and wearing her red shoes, she enjoys sailing, and spending time with her husband Ben; daughter, Ada; cat, Puss; and dog, Luna.

Thus far, Mollo, a Republican, is the only announced candidate for the position, which will be on the ballot in November 2020.

For information about the Pinellas-Pasco public defender, go to

For information about Mollo, go to

Sara Mollo | Bob Dillinger | Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender | Public Defender | Politics | Elections | Tampabay News

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Mollo to Run for Public Defender in Pinellas and Pasco
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Mollo to Run for Public Defender in Pinellas and Pasco
She is seeking to replace Bob Dillinger, who is retiring in 2020.
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TB Reporter
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