Tag Archives: fair trial

Issues Mount for Angela Corey, the George Zimmerman Prosecutor

Angela Corey and assistant prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda

Angela Corey and assistant prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda

She’s being criticized all over for losing the prosecution of George Zimmerman for killing Trayvon Martin, and problems continue to mount for prosecutor Angela Corey. We covered the news that she fired the whistleblower employee , Ben Kruibdos, who revealed that she was unlawfully suppressing evidence on this blog a few days ago when the news broke. As I predicted, a whistleblower lawsuit against Ms. Corey’s office has been announced by Mr. Kruibdos’ attorney. In a bit of delicious irony, the attorney Mr. Kruibdos has retained is himself a former employee of Ms. Corey, who resigned last year due to disagreements with the way she ran the office.

Mr. White was subpoenaed to testify at the hearing for sanctions, and it got pretty contentious when he was examined by prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda, his former boss at the SAO. So, basically Angela Corey’s State Attorney’s Office is kind of a shitshow. Defense attorney Don West was called to the stand during that hearing, alleging under oath that they had caught de la Rionda “hiding the information.” The judge reserved ruling on the discovery violations at that time, saying they would be better handled after the trial.

Now that the trial is concluded, the Defense team is pushing for the issue to be revisited. Mark O’Mara went so far as to tell Reuters, “This is not acceptable, and is not going to be tolerated in any case that I’m involved in.” He continued,  “They are a disgrace to my profession.” That’s the kind of harsh rhetoric that is more likely to come from his co-counsel on the case. Mr. O’Mara’s demeanor has consistently been more low-key, but the alleged violations have really riled him up. And rightly so, if the allegations are true, that the State Attorney’s office deliberately suppressed Brady information, that is a serious breach of the public trust and the right of the Defendant to a fair trial. It will be interesting to continue watching the fireworks.


Murder Defendant Simpkins Fires Lawyer, Then Takes Him Back

Shane Simpkins Mug Shot

Shane Simpkins 

I have to confess this is the first time I’ve ever seen a Defendant who fired his attorney take the attorney back in the middle of trial. It is not unusual for Defendants to want to change attorneys late in the game, even during the course of the trial. However, I have never seen a Defendant go back to their old attorney in the middle of the same trial! Shane Simpkins expressed dissatisfaction with his attorney, Steve Smith, yesterday after a cross-examination, but decided to keep him. Things changed this morning, and he fired the attorney, who stayed around as standby counsel. That was a good call, because the court re-appointed Smith to Simpkins for the presentation of the Defense case. NaplesNews.com reporter Jacob Carpenter is live blogging the trial: http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2013/mar/14/live-blog-murder-defendant-fires-attorney-represen/

“Gideon’s Army,” a Documentary on Public Defenders Premieres at Sundance

Public Defender Travis Williams in "Gideon's Army"

Public Defender Travis Williams in “Gideon’s Army”

I pay the highest respect to those public defenders- who work for low salaries, while paying off their law school debts, to defend the rights of the poor and downtrodden. These are the people who are the first line of defense for justice. Both public defenders and prosecutors are underpaid for the service they perform in our state; I know this firsthand having started my career as an Assistant State Attorney. I am looking forward to seeing this film: http://gideonsarmythefilm.com/


This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Gideon v. Wainwright decision, a case that originated here in Florida. That case established that those accused of serious crimes are entitled to be provided competent representation. It’s easy to dismiss the accused as mere criminals, but the public defenders that represent the accused help protect the rights that all of us enjoy, and are the last line of

defense for the wrongly accused.