Howard Finkelstein received his Bachelor of Arts degree in the Social and Behavioral Sciences from the University of South Florida in 1975. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Miami School of Law in 1978.
He has practiced both as a government lawyer and in the private sector. As a public defender he has represented indigent citizens charged with crimes ranging from misdemeanors to murder in the first degree. While in private practice he was a partner in the law firm of Brackey, Finkelstein and Dallas, and specialized in the defense of people charged with drug crimes. As a Chief Assistant, Howard was instrumental in forming Broward County's drug court and initiating the first mental health court in the country and later a felony mental health court in Broward County. See his commentary on mental health issues.
Howard is the elected Public Defender of Broward County. He also serves as the on-air legal analyst for the Fox networks local affiliate, WSVN Channel 7 News. In that capacity he has provided gavel to gavel legal commentary in the case of the State of California vs. O.J. Simpson and has provided ongoing commentary during the USA vs Timothy McVeigh and Nichols Oklahoma bombing trials, the Marv Albert Sodomy trial, the President Clinton impeachment proceedings, the Terry Schiavo right to die case and the Michael Jackson child molestation case. He presently has his own regular news spot on Channel 7 that airs twice weekly called "Help Me Howard".
Howard has been recognized by many organizations for his work and his community service. He has been honored as "Man of the Year" by the Deerfield Beach Democratic Club (2013). He is the recipient of the E.P.I.C.(exceptional People Impacting the Community) Award(1996) from the Mental Health Association of Broward County, the Harry Gulkin Award for Honesty and Integrity(1996) from the Broward Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Humanitarian of the Year (1996) from the Broward County Young Democrats, the Citizen of the Year(2000) from the National Association of Social Workers, The Independent Spirit Award (2002) from the Center for Independent Living, and the Distinguished Service Award(2003) from C.C.O.H.A.L.N. In addition the Broward County Commission has declared May 21, 2000, February 8, 2003 and September 12, 2003 as Howard Finkelstein Appreciation Day. He has also received the Civics in Action Award, Broward League of Women Voters, 2008, Stars of the Rainbow, Gay and Lesbian Community Center of South Florida, 2008, “Elected Official of the Year”, Coalition to End Homelessness, 2007, Distinguished Achievement in Public Service Award and Presidents, National Medal of Patriotism Award from the American Police Hall of Fame, 2005, and the Profiles of Excellence Award from Henderson Mental Health Center, 2004.
His hobbies include reading, exercise, philosophy, yoga, and meditation. He is a man whose passion in life is his family and helping others.