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FL Commission on Ethics Launches Investigation of Prosecutor Angela Corey

FL Commission on Ethics Launches Investigation of Prosecutor Angela Corey

Sometimes what comes around, goes around.

The Washington Times is reporting that the Florida Commission on Ethics has launched an investigation of controversial State prosecutor Angela Corey over her firing of IT director Ben Kruidbos in the aftermath of the prosecutorial debacle that was the George Zimmerman trial: Zimmerman prosecutor Angela Corey now under state investigation

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Florida State Prosecutor Angela Corey

Ben Kruidbos, you might recall, was working for Corey’s office during the discovery period of the Zimmerman trial.  At one point he discovered what appeared to be violations by State prosecutors of their discovery obligations.  Such violations, if true, could result in serious penalties, including criminal charges.  Fearing that he himself could be criminally liable if he remained silent, Mr. Kruidbos sought legal counsel.

Ben Kruidbos

That counsel was no other than Wesley White, who himself used to run the State prosecutor’s office that oversaw Sanford, FL and surrounding towns.  Attorney White had been among the police/prosecutorial task force that agreed that it would be inappropriate to bring criminal charges against George Zimmerman based on the facts in evidence–facts which strongly supported Zimmerman’s claim of having killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense.  Eventually the political pressure to nevertheless bring such charges rose to such a crescendo that Attorney White elected to resign from his position.

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(Incidentally, Attorney White was not the only innocent victim of the State’s bloodlust to charge and try George Zimmerman, even if we set aside George himself.  The then Chief of the Sanford Police Department was fired from his job over the case, and the department’s chief investigator was demoted to patrolman.  In the end, of course, the jury’s verdict of not guilty affirmed that their actions in the case were appropriate.)

Being an officer of the court, Attorney White felt obliged to bring these concerns of discovery violations to the attention of the defense counsel, Mark O’Mara and Don West, who in turn filed a motion for sanctions against the prosecution team with the Judge Nelson, shortly before the trial proper was due to begin (but immediately after the possible violations were brought to their attention).

Both Ben Kruidbos and Attorney White appeared as witnesses at the sanctions hearings, as did defense attorney Don West.  Ultimately Judge Nelson elected to defer the sanctions hearing until after the trial had been completed–a decision consistent with her apparent general tendency to aggressive advance the prosecution even at the cost of due process to George Zimmerman.

After the State prosecutor’s office learned of Ben Kruidbos’ communication of his concerns, Mr. Kruidbos found his work environment substantially constrained in terms of staff and autonomy.  Very shortly after the jury returned their acquittal of George Zimmerman, Mr. Kruidbos was terminated from his position by Angela Corey.  In her letter of termination she explicitly references Mr. Kruidbos’ exposure of the alleged discovery misconduct.

Separately from the State investigation of Corey, Mr. Kruidbos has filed a wrongful termination suite against her in which he is seeking $5 million in compensation.

Corey was no stranger to controversy prior to the Zimmerman trial and her firing of Mr. Kruidbos.

She had already earned headlines for an odd manipulation of State retirement funds that added several hundred thousand dollars to her own retirement account (and smaller sums to the retirement accounts of several of her staff).  She denies there was any wrongdoing in these matters.  It was also widely reported, however, that in retaliation for the coverage of the matter by the Jacksonville Times-Union newspaper Prosecutor Corey’s office refused henceforth to communicate with the paper as they had in the past and as they continued to do so with other news outlets.  This had all been widely reported before and during the Zimmerman trial.

Perhaps more well known was her interaction with famed Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz.  Professor Dershowitz had been extremely critical of Corey’s professional conduct in the months leading up to the Zimmerman trial.  On June 5, 2012 Professor Dershowitz wrote a newspaper column in which he said that Corey, in response to his criticism had called the Dean of Harvard Law School to complain.  When transferred to the Office of Communications, “she proceeded to engage in a 40-minute rant, during which she threatened to sue Harvard Law School, to try to get me disciplined by the Bar Association and to file charges against me for libel and slander.” One would expect that Corey’s intent in making such a call was to reduce any negative impact of Dershowitz’s comments–obviously, the effect was quite the opposite.  Indeed, this controversy certainly gained  Corey (presumably unfavorable) attention at the national level.

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Even as close a follower of the Zimmerman trial as me, however, was not aware that before Corey was elected to be the top prosecutor of Metro Jacksonville she had been fired from that State Attorney’s office by her predecessor, Harry Shorstein.  Shorstein explains that a law student intern working for Corey and reported to her professor, as part of a standard debriefing at the conclusion of the internship, that Corey was abusive, profane, and unprofessional.  Concerned, the law school contacted Attorney Shorstein, who oversaw Corey.  Shorstein reprimanded Corey.  Corey, in response, called the school and told the Dean that the professor involved should be disciplined for his role in reporting her misconduct.  Again the school called Shorstein and reported the matter.  Shorstein ordered Corey to apologize to the Dean of the law school as well as to the professor.  She failed to do so, was ordered again, again failed to apologize, and was then terminated.

Florida often presents from its citizenry remarkably interesting specimens of humanity to the greater world, and no less so with its elected State Prosecutors.

Angela+Corey+Bond+Hearing+Held+Trayvon+Martin+uVoDlBtlmqUl

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer in his third decade of practice, an attorney member of the Armed Citizen Legal Defense Network, and a Guest Instructor on the Law of Self Defense at the Sig Sauer Academy. He is the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition”.

Andrew conducts Law of Self Defense Seminars all around the country, and he has also launched a series of LOSD State-Specific Supplements that dive deep into every relevant statute, jury instruction, and court case that defines the law of self-defense in a particular state.  NOTE: Seats still available for Law of Self Defense Seminars in Pensacola Florida, Oct. 5 and Columbia, South Carolina, October 19.

You can follow Andrew on Twitter on @LawSelfDefense and using #LOSD2, on Facebook, and at his blog, The Law of Self Defense.

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Comments

I’m positively SHOCKED!

NO ONE here saw this coming. No one! /sarc

ROFL. What comes around goes around.

    PersonFromPorlock in reply to Paul. | September 27, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    “ROFL. What comes around goes around.”

    Very true. The trick, in politics as well as management, is to have moved up by the time what’s going around gets back.

Those who think the Warren Court was soft on criminals–this is why they ruled the way they did on so many cases. Angela Corey’s behavior is nothing new among prosecutors. Fortunately, most prosecutors have higher ethical standards than this.

Now putting that photo of Mz Corey up is just plain mean and cruel to the readership here. The one at the end is not better. For shame!! 🙂

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Aridog. | September 27, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Yes it makes her look like Michael Jordan’s latest “baby mama”.

    ( Google “jordan paternity”. I generally don’t like the cruder comments on web sites but in this case the one I found on one site. “Must have done her from behind.” I have to agree with.

Oh, and don’t forget the firing of the ME who did the autopsy on Trayvon.

    I don’t count Bao as an “innocent victim,” he badly needed to get fired.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      legacyrepublican in reply to Andrew Branca. | September 27, 2013 at 4:55 pm

      Andrew,

      Who else would be on your list to be removed or demoted from their job and why?

      I, for one, would like to see Judge Nelson removed myself too.

      And, another good question, who needs to be reinstated?

      The senior homicide detective comes to mind along with the IT whistle blower Kruidbos.

        Who would I induce to find alternative employment, and perhaps seek legal representation for criminal charges, were it up to me?

        Every lawyer on that prosecutorial team, and everyone up the chain of command from them, to include the Governor of Florida.

        But that’s just me–I tend to be thorough. 🙂

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Ragspierre in reply to Andrew Branca. | September 27, 2013 at 5:59 pm

          What was the name of the crazy witch (doctor) who followed Bao, and was so contentious on the stand?

          See, our memories DO protect us from unpleasant experiences.

          The woman ME dragged in to mock the dangerousness of having one’s head smashed onto a sidewalk was Rao.

          It led to one of my better headlines, I thought: “Bao-Rao-Rao”: Who let the MEs out?

          But I think that one got tossed in the editing process, wasn’t SEO friendly. 🙂

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          By the way Rags, if it was you who had mentioned the “Powder & Smoke” event in Houston, I’m afraid life has intervened and I won’t be in town for the GPCR conference, after all.

          Next time.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Andrew Branca. | September 28, 2013 at 12:47 am

          But what about Corey’s blatantly false affidavit for the arrest warrant?

          Nothing to ever come of that?

          Another person who needs to be investigated is Crump…..and his band of artful dodgers.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | September 28, 2013 at 2:35 am

          Well I hope it wasn’t wrong for me to do my “Happy Dance” when I read this headline.

          Andrew, have the sanction proceedings happened as of yet? I really want that loud mouth Barry or Bernie or whatever his name was to be under the gun and see if he screams then.

          If anything is happening with the sanctions hearings–as there well should be–they’re keeping it out of the news. I haven’t heard anything on it.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        Bravo Branca, lol. I see you believe in a strong broom to clean the place out and then a bit of Lysol and a maybe a few insect foggers to get into the nooks and crannies.

        One other specific person I would like to see get her walking papers is Dr. Rao, the medical examiner from Jacksonville who claimed GZ’s injuries were insignificant. She was a evidently a big buddy of Corey and probably owed her job to Corley as she was appointed based on Corey’s recommendation to the panel the hired her. (Corey is a member of the panel by the way.) She has a history of being inefficient and hard to work with. She was just an outside shill for Corey’s team brought in because they knew she was the only one who would follow the prosecution’s line. One has to wonder how many other cases she had probably rolled over on in Corey’s Jacksonville office.

        Unfortunately in this case she could not be accused of perjury because all she gave was opinions based on photographs which she told the court were not satisfactory. According to reports her term as ME actually expired in 2012 but she remained in the job evidently. I presume there is a good chance she is gone already or will be soon.

      I wasn’t implying that he was “innocent”, just a mention as a means to establish a pattern of activity.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Andrew Branca. | September 27, 2013 at 10:14 pm

      The only reason Rao was still employed is to be Corey’s stooge.
      I’m not sure that is the case for Bao ( isn’t he not directly under Corey or Corey’s office ), but I suspect a [picture like taht was painted for him.

        Bao is a strange case for sure. You are right about him not being under Corey. He was the Associate ME for the local county (actually 2 counties, Seminole and Volusia) who just happened to be on duty the night TM was brought in. He was subsequently terminated for his handling of the TM case. It is hard to tell from reports whether it was because of specific problems with the autopsy itself or whether it was more because of his disastrous testimony.

          Paul in reply to Baker. | September 28, 2013 at 2:13 am

          My understanding is that it was as a direct result of his “Change of opinion” during the trial.

          While I understand completely, that no side in a prosecution wishes to be blind sided during a testimonial, it is a doctor’s professional prerogative to change their opinion once more information becomes available.

          If the prosecution wasn’t so political, they may have taken the time to realize that the facts were never on their side.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Baker. | September 28, 2013 at 2:36 am

          Yea, Bao really needs some professional help.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | October 2, 2013 at 6:37 pm

      Andrew, I noticed that you aren’t listed as a “contributor” here anymore and your blog seems to be down for the past couple of days, is everything alright?

About time isn’t Florida?!

Ethics do count, even in the Barry era.

But for God sakes, demeanor, attitude and u-g-l-y, shoulda’ kinda’, sorta been first clues. Republican or not!

Count 1 of the indictment,

That said Angela Corey did manifest and act upon a really ugly and arrogant disposition towards anyone who disagreed with her; and further that she has no discretion or judgment as evidenced by her choice of clothing.

About darn time.

What I find funny is that there is a segment of the ‘Justice 4 Trayvon’ crowd that rabidly hate Corey and the whole prosecution team. I don’t mean ‘dislike’ her and the team. I mean hate them. They think the prosecution’s game plan from the beginning was a set up. The whole plan was for the prosectuion to be so bad that it would be impossible for Zimmerman to be convicted. I think many of them hate Corey and her team more than they do the defense team (even Don West, lol).

    healthguyfsu in reply to Baker. | September 27, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Baker, its not that hard to believe. It’s just another distraction to get the ignorant masses riled up about a trumped up injustice fed to them like drooling zombies. It’s simply a chance to think of any other excuse to explain how GZ could be found not guilty other than the clear-cut fact that he was not guilty.

    healthguyfsu in reply to Baker. | September 27, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    The part where Corey gets her just desserts is definitely in here. Karma is a b____.

    The real irony in the ignorance and neanderthal stupidity of the masses is that Corey et al. actually went out on a limb for these people. It was a very fragile limb as the logical, intelligent, and thorough case followers know. Thus, it was a limb that was bound to snap…these idiots just pulled out a saw and helped it fall faster.

    sequester in reply to Baker. | September 27, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    That means that Corey is doomed. A scape goat is needed and she will get it from both sides. She was very close to State Attorney General Pam Bondi and Pam Bondi wants to run for higher office.

    Watch Pam Bondi will run from Corey.

      gmac124 in reply to sequester. | September 27, 2013 at 7:37 pm

      The net that scoops up Corey needs to be big enough to fit Bondi also. Bondi created much of this fiasco by using Corey as her personal attack dog.

        rabidfox in reply to gmac124. | September 27, 2013 at 8:17 pm

        Bondi might not find elected office so easy to get in the future.

        Estragon in reply to gmac124. | September 27, 2013 at 9:59 pm

        Bondi’s best hope is the ignorance of the electorate. Most people won’t know she put Corey in charge of the case.

        Let us not forget to educate them when and if she does seek office again.

          healthguyfsu in reply to Estragon. | September 27, 2013 at 10:20 pm

          If the narrative in this article that includes Corey magically resurfacing as “special prosecutor” courtesy of Pam Bondi is painted alongside Corey’s termination from the state attorney’s office, I don’t think Pam will be teflon.

    ConradCA in reply to Baker. | September 28, 2013 at 1:25 am

    I had someone post that Trayvon was shot in the back! Pretty amazing how low they will go.

      That ‘shot in the back’ claim probably came from an internet blow-up a couple of weeks ago when some website ran the initial bogus stories about Dr. Bao’s law suit and his claims that the prosecution did not listen to him and that he had ‘proof’ that TM was not the aggressor. In the stories that got coverted to ‘shot in the back’.

      A lot of the conspiracy sites ran with the story like it was the Holy Grail. One of the prominent source sites which had run the original accusations later corrected what they called the ‘potential inaccuracies’ in their original post. The story quickly died when it couldn’t be supported by any facts but unfortunately it has became just another part of the myth making absurdities surrounding this case.

Everybody duck…I’m waiting for a drive by.

    I don’t have a dog in this fight, sorry. But I do have a prediction: Nothing will come of this, Angela will leave office with a nice retirement. Political hacks rarely pay any “true” price for misconduct.

      healthguyfsu in reply to DriveBy. | September 27, 2013 at 10:16 pm

      Oh really? So you’re saying Corey deserves to go?

      Could that be because GZ should have never been charged in the first place and this was a witch hunt?

      Yeah right…we know better. You would be in that ignorant, neanderthal mass that thinks Corey didn’t do enough to trump up evidence and charges against GZ and should go because injustice was not served…served up for the mob.

      I will stop posting on this site forever if:

      1. You can post this exact statement, “Angela Corey deserves to go because Trayvon Martin’s death was not a murder by George Zimmerman and therefore should have never been brought to trial.”
      AND
      2. Never recant on that statement by bringing up Trayvon’s death as a ‘tragic loss of life’ for an ‘innocent young boy’ who was ‘gunned down in cold blood by a wannabe cop’

      I expect to be posting here for a long, long time.

        I told you that I have no interest in this story either way. And your interest, IMHO, only relates to Zimmerman. He was acquitted, you can move on now; maybe take down the GZ posters that you have in your bedroom, that would be a good start.

        I understand your frustration with others, like me, that may post something that differs from your opinion(s). Really, I do. There is something that you can do about it, call 1-800-CRY-BABY.

          healthguyfsu in reply to DriveBy. | September 28, 2013 at 12:11 pm

          I called your number and all I heard was wahhhh from liberal idiots like yourself.

          The truth is, “you have no interest” but you stated that Corey is a “politic hack” that participated in misconduct. If you have no interest, why state an opinion?

          I’ll move on when you do, sweetheart.

          SmokeVanThorn in reply to DriveBy. | September 28, 2013 at 3:37 pm

          Why would you expect a proven liar to respond honestly to your points, healthguyfsu?

        healthguyfsu in reply to healthguyfsu. | September 28, 2013 at 11:04 pm

        I do not…I love to continue eviscerating him. Maybe if he gets enough he will do the internet a favor…

I’m shocked, SHOCKED Corey is being investigated. Thank God.

That bottom photo of her is the most evil one I’ve ever seen.

I am not an attorney but would like to ask if this information could be used by all who have filed or will file laws suits to increase their monetary recovery?

seems to me there was another controversial case where she tried to imprison a gun owner over something, possibly 4 yrs ago or so.
does anyone else remember that?

        gmac124 in reply to Amy in FL. | September 27, 2013 at 7:05 pm

        “apols, this was the second link: http://famm.org/orville-lee-wollard/

        Ironically from what I read if he would have shot the boyfriend Stand Your Ground would have protected him. Another instance were you are better off not shooting a warning shot. Of course he should have filed a report right away and pressed charges against the boyfriend….he could have always said he was scared for his life and just missed. 😉

          Gremlin1974 in reply to gmac124. | September 29, 2013 at 5:35 pm

          “Warning Shots” are nothing more than a way to get yourself in trouble and frankly are dangerous. Most modern ammunition will most likely go through an exterior wall of anything but a brick home and will most assuredly go through and interior wall.

          When I first got my CCW my class was taught by a State Trooper, a County Deputy, and a Local City Cop and they all 3 agreed on the following.

          1: Do not draw the weapon unless you intend to fire.
          2: Do not fire the weapon unless you are shooting to kill.
          3: Never “shoot to wound” or “Fire a warning shot”.

          Something I had to actually come to grips with when I decided to start carrying is that if my gun clears leather someone is going to die. If you haven’t had this conversation with yourself then you should have it soon. I pray and hope with all my heart and soul that I will never have to fire another shot except for sport on the range, however, if I do have to fire that shot it will be aimed to be deadly, period.

          The whole “shoot to wound” crowd are frankly deluded by Hollywood movie magic and fiction. Even a very experienced marks man would be lucky to get a “wounding shot”. Also with the power of modern firearms just because you hit someone in a limb doesn’t mean it isn’t a lethal shot. On a average person my .40 cal would darned near take someone’s arm off.

          Also, lets say you do “shoot to wound” and you are a firearms prodigy, you get someone in the leg, are you going to put your self in danger by rendering aid to the person you just shot? So how does that work out?

          Now as far as a warning shot? So, who here thinks it is a good idea to fire a shot that you don’t know where its going to land or hit? If you raised your hand please put your guns away and don’t carry them until you get some actual training.

          What it comes down to is if you are in so much fear of your life that you feel you need to use a gun to defend your life then the time for warnings and half measures has passed.

          Yes, his sentence was excessive and I disagree with it, however, he should have never fired a warning shot, it is not a responsible, reasonable, or particularly smart practice.

          Gremlin1974 writes: “Something I had to actually come to grips with when I decided to start carrying is that if my gun clears leather someone is going to die.”

          Really?

          The fact that your gun has “cleared leather” is not lawful justification for the use of deadly force in any state of which I’m aware.

          What if, as you clear leather, the bad guy throws up his hands and backs away, realizing he brought his fists to a gun fight? Is he still “going to die” even though he’s no longer an imminent threat of any sort?

          Statements like that, if uncovered by prosecutors, will be used to argue that you shot that guy not for any lawful reason, but merely because you wanted to, that you’d come up with your own standard, above and beyond what the law permits, to take a human life.

          And it’s an argument many jurors will find compelling.

          My professional recommendation would be that you discard your personal, extra-legal standard for the use of deadly force and instead adopt a standard that’s consistent with the law.

          If you insist on adopting an extra-legal policy towards the use of deadly force I would suggest that talking about doing so on the internet may be imprudent.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    Olinser in reply to dmacleo. | September 27, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    I don’t know, but I know that she attempted to prosecute a 12-year old boy as an adult (Cristian Fernandez).

    ConradCA in reply to dmacleo. | September 28, 2013 at 1:29 am

    Was she involved in that case were a women got 20 years for firing a warning shot? Conviction was just overturned.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/court-overturns-20-year-sentence-woman-fired-warning/story?id=20387742

She deserves to get Nifonged.

“Powder & Smoke” event in Houston, Andy.

Always next year!

What the heck took them so long?

I thought that Florida prosecutors that railroaded innocent people got appointed US Attorney General where they could kill children under the guise of “protecting” them.

Connivin Caniff | September 27, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Did the Zimmerman after-trial sanctions hearing occur? If so, what was the outcome? If not, why not?

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Connivin Caniff. | September 29, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    I asked Andrew about this above, and he said either they haven’t happened or they are keeping it out of the News, and with such a compliant and bias media, I don’t believe that even if the Prosecutors that were actually arguing the case were disbarred that the news would cover it they way they should.

Hey Corey. You should heed. Karma can get you in the behind.

http://i1.wp.com/www.dogshaming.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/image319.jpg

One of her most egregious actions was when she called George Zimmerman a “murderer”. I don’t think I will ever forget that that happened. Is this ethics board going to look into her comments following the trial as well?

    Callig someone a “murderer” in a VERY high profile case, where the defendant was just acquitted by a jury of his peers, is tantamount to slander.

    You can be sure the ethics committee will be reviewing all pertinent information.

I am glad that this case is moving along and that it will get some attention at least locally and state-wide. I know that most of the visitors here are familiar with the background of some of these issues, but I also know that most people are only superficially aware of the details of the trial and the background. It is good that more of them will be exposed to these issues away from the emotion of the trial itself.

Anything bad that happens to this sick woman, is good.

She’s a real looker, too.

Just heard on the news yesterday morning that Pam Bondi is in hot water for cancelling an execution because she had a fund raiser in Tampa. When questioned she said she made a mistake but the felon had already filed another stay of execution but she wouldn’t grant the stay. Although Bondi is quite photogenic she does not seem to be very sharp.

    Her profile was raised considerably when FL became party to the national lawsuit vs. Obamacare.

    It seems her record since then hasn’t been one worthy of being raised to the limelight.

NC Mountain Girl | September 28, 2013 at 9:44 am

Why do I suspect Corey used her firing to play the victim card in order to elected? And why did no one run against her in 2012? She has had an uncanny ability to unite voices across the political spectrum for her nasty habit of grossly overcharging her cases.

Her history as a prosecutor seems to be a textbook example of the technically competent subordinate who utterly lacks judgement and people skills and thus had to be kept on a short leash. Allowed to run her own show she has been a disaster.

I hope she goes down in flames. It also really kind of irks me that this waste claims to be a Republican.

    It also really kind of irks me that this waste claims to be a Republican.

    It is kind of odd, because the county which actually elects her, Duval County, is only 37% Republican. There are certainly some staunchly conservative seats in Florida, but Jacksonville is Democrat country. How is it that she, a “Republican”, manages to run unopposed there? Gotta love Florida politics.

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