Longtime Top Murder Prosecutor Brian Cavanagh Retires This Week





He grimaced when referring to the accused murderer. He pounded the table for emphasis. He threw both his hands in the air as if he was beseeching God for a conviction….which he usually got.

Cavanagh was the best free show in Fort Lauderdale for years.

At the end of this week, the curtain will come down. The hulking 6-foot 5-inch prosecutor is retiring after four decades putting bad guys where they belong.



Brian Cavanagh in trial


Starting at the State Attorney Mike Satz’s Office in 1978, Cavanagh moved into the homicide unit 11 years later. He never left.

He loved locking up murderers. It was his life.

In the end Cavanagh’s passion for his job, best evidenced by his courtroom histrionics, which may have done him in. Physicians warned him that working non-stop to obtain convictions was no longer an option for a 64-year-old. Physicians said that getting so emotionally involved in his work might result in a stroke if he didn’t slow down.

“It’s a big deal that Brian is retiring to get healthy;  his knowledge, leadership and sheer presence will be greatly missed,” Satz’s spokesman Ron Ishoy said.

Jim Tylock, a retired prosecutor, wrote Browardbeat.com that “Brian Cavanagh, after 39 years and over 20  in homicide, is retiring from the SAO.   We are having an open house at on Thursday July 28t.  All invited to wish him well.”

The retirement celebration starts at 5:30 p.m., Thursday at Maquires Hill 16, 535 N. Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale.


Brian Cavanagh and Women

Brian Cavanagh, with Gerrie Hynes and Carolyn Burns at campaign fund raiser for Mike Satz in May. (photo: Carolyn Burns) 

An earlier post about Brian Cavanagh when he was named Broward’s Irish Person of The Year can be found here.  






3 Responses to “Longtime Top Murder Prosecutor Brian Cavanagh Retires This Week”

  1. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    A decent gentleman who made a serious contribution to the public he served long and well

  2. Stormwatch says:

    One of the greatest lawyers to ever grace the hallways and courtrooms of the Broward County Courthouse. A true gentleman who must have seen it all. He took on all the heavyweights with style and class. He represented the citizens of Broward as well as anyone ever has. My favorite local headline of all time was “Little Tony is going to the big house.” So did Big Tony. Thank you, Brian Cavanagh.

  3. Kevin Tynan says:

    He is a good man – he will be missed.