COTTO: Voters should retire Angela Corey

She's already been fired once, and the time has come for history to repeat itself. Photo: AP

FLORIDA, July 17, 2013 — Angela Corey has become a hot topic of conversation lately.

Her seemingly illegal actions in the prosecution of George Zimmerman have attracted a great deal of public attention, and for good reason.

SEE RELATED: It is time to disbar the Zimmerman Prosecutor

Famed attorney and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has been one of her strongest critics.

“I think there were violations of civil rights and civil liberties — by the prosecutor,” he said in a Sunday interview with Newsmax. “The prosecutor sent this case to a judge, and willfully, deliberately, and in my view criminally withheld exculpatory evidence.”

“They denied the judge the right to see pictures that showed Zimmerman with his nose broken and his head bashed in,” he explained. “The prosecution should be investigated for civil rights violations, and civil liberty violations.”

Afterward, Dershowitz stated that Corey “possess(ed) photographs that would definitely show a judge that this was not an appropriate case for second-degree murder. She deliberately withheld and suppressed those photographs, refused to show them to the judge, got the judge to rule erroneously this was a second-degree murder case. 

SEE RELATED: State Attorney Corey fires key whistleblower in George Zimmerman case

“That violated a whole range of ethical, professional, and legal obligations that prosecutors have. Moreover, they withheld other evidence in the course of the pretrial and trial proceedings, as has been documented by the defense team.”

That’s not all, though. Last Friday, Corey fired her office’s information technology director, Bud Kruidbos. 

Communities pundit Judson Phillips notes that Kruidbos “recovered images from Trayvon Martin’s cell phone. These images were in addition to other information that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement had recovered. Ben Kruidbos sought the advice of an attorney after he became concerned that prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda had not turned those images over to the defense, and he was concerned he might have legal liability for that. 

“That attorney turned the images over to the defense. On June 6, Kruidbos testified at a hearing where defense lawyers sought sanctions against Corey and her office for refusing to turn over exculpatory materials. The judge has not yet ruled on that motion.”

SEE RELATED: Justice has been served for George Zimmerman; Angela Corey questioned

Kruidbos is going to sue Corey for his termination. 

Long before any of this, though, Corey was already considered to be trouble. She was fired from the state attorney’s office in 2007 for poor job performance. A year later, she was elected Metro Jacksonville’s top prosecutor. Some might find this to be confusing, but she is a Republican in an area which has been known to reflexively vote GOP.

This was yet another victory for the voters who prioritize partisan labels above competence and personal character.

Perhaps the biggest red flag in Corey’s electoral career is that her former boss Harry Shorstein declined to endorse her. This should be no surprise since he is the one who fired her.

Scott Johnson of Jacksonville’s WJXT reports that he “spoke to former State Attorney Harry Shorstein by phone. Corey replaced Shorstein as state attorney. He said, ‘A lot of us are very concerned and very upset’ by Corey’s handling of the Zimmerman trial, and other scandals such as the firing of a state IT official who she said leaked information.

“But Shorstein wouldn’t say much more, saying he’s, ‘concerned things will be held against clients’ if he speaks out too strongly, and told Channel 4 that other local attorneys feel that way.”

He has good reason to be concerned. 

“When Corey came in, she cleaned house,” states Ian Tuttle of National Review.

“Corey fired half of the office’s investigators, two-fifths of its victim advocates, a quarter of its 35 paralegals, and 48 other support staff — more than one-fifth of the office. Then she sent a letter to Florida’s senators demanding that they oppose Shorstein’s pending nomination as a U.S. attorney. ‘I told them he should not hold a position of authority in his community again, because of his penchant for using the grand jury for personal vendettas,’ she wrote.”

Tuttle also recalls the story of The Florida Times-Union’s Ron Littlepage, who “wrote a column criticizing [Corey’s] handling of the Christian Fernandez case — in which Corey chose to prosecute a twelve-year-old boy for first-degree murder, who wound up locked in solitary confinement in an adult jail prior to his court date.” 

In a nutshell, Corey threatened to file a lawsuit against Littlepage, much in the same way that she did after Dershowitz pointed out her apparent crimes. No court action ever grew out of her threats.

Perhaps former American Bar Association President Sandy D’Alemberte sums it up best: “I cannot imagine a worse choice for a prosecutor to serve in the Sanford case. There is nothing in Angela Corey’s background that suits her for the task, and she cannot command the respect of people who care about justice.”

After he said this, Corey made a public records request designed to scrutinize him.

It does appear that she is not only a bad prosecutor, but a woefully insecure person. 

Her behavior and her fits of pique are like temper tantrums that she throws until she gets her way. Many people grow out of this anti-conceptual mindset, and others do not. Unfortunately, some of these others go on to become prosecutors in one of America’s largest cities.

Soon, civil charges will be filed against Corey. There is the chance that criminal charges will follow. We can hardly expect Corey to change her ways; her choices seem to be guided by select personality traits instead of rational decision-making. 

If Corey is not forced to resign due to legal issues, then it would be best for her constituents to vote her out office at the earliest available opportunity. Then, the Florida Bar Association can investigate her and raise the possibility of suspending her law license.

This ought to be an issue on which Republicans, Democrats, independents, Libertarians, Greens, and others can heartily agree.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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