Stephen G. Cobb - Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

Introducing Florida Criminal Defense Attorney Sherry I. Jones


Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

Good morning and welcome to a very special edition of Florida Criminal Law TV online. Today, I will be interviewing a longtime friend and respected colleague, Florida criminal defense attorney Sherry I. Jones. Sherry, good morning and welcome to the program!

Attorney Jones: You and I have joined our firms together by co-founding Florida Criminal Defense Legal Group, PLLC. In your own words, what would you say is the biggest difference between working cases by yourself and using a fully staffed legal team?

Attorney Jones: You and I go back at more than ten years. We’ve worked a lot of cases together from DUI and murder investigations to violent domestic crimes and sexual offenses. Is there any one “John or Jane Doe” case that sticks out in your mind?

Attorney Jones: That’s easy! The lewd or lascivious case we tried in Walton County in front of Judge Bell. He lost at trial but won on appeal.

Well, I feel like the one who got the credit when the truth is you are the one who spotted the judge’s error. It just goes to show that a team really makes a difference.

Now, like me, you have a history with the Office of the Public Defender and at some point felt you had to leave. What is the biggest difference to you between practicing criminal defense law with the Florida Public Defender system and private practice?

Attorney Jones: You always feel like you never have enough time for all of your cases as a lawyer, but when I was an assistant public defender, I had real concerns about being able to handle volume of cases. As a public defender, there really isn’t enough time to work on all of your cases.

Agree wholeheartedly!

On January 31st of this year, the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report exposed the Louisiana Public Defender system as a fraud perpetuated on the most defenseless people in the criminal justice system, people without the money to hire a lawyer. The story profiled an assistant public defender who had 194 felony cases on a single day. They referenced the impossible workload of another one who had 413 cases. Is this a serious problem in Florida for people who look to the Public De-fender’s Office as their only hope of a fair shake in Florida’s courts?

Attorney Jones: That example gets it right. The Florida Bar has been concerned for years and years about criminal caseloads. There is just no way someone can properly defend two to four hundred felony cases in a year. But the people who run state government across the country don’t even care that people are not getting a fair shake in the justice system.

Exactly, and this slides into my next question, can you tell our viewers about your Work The Case System and how it helps people?

Attorney Jones: Work the Case requires time but it eats a prosecutor’s time even more. Just like public defenders, they have too many cases and not enough prosecutors. Sometimes just setting depositions will educate a prosecutor about weaknesses in the case they were too busy to notice. These weaknesses can be the difference between a felony conviction and reduced or dropped charges. In other cases, filing a motion to suppress unfavorable evidence so that it cannot be used at trial will make a prosecutor come to the negotiating table with a better plea bargain. Even better, for some clients charges may be completely dropped.

Does all of this leave you with a feeling that there are two lanes for justice in the US like there are two lanes for the security line at the airport? A first class and a second class criminal justice system, perhaps?

Attorney Jones: (laughs) I think it’s a lot worse than the lines at the airport.

Finally, I would like to conclude with what I think is a critical question behind all of the others people may ask: What is the most important thing you want someone who is scared, facing jail or prison or has a family member facing time to know?

Attorney Jones: Don’t stick your head in the sand and wait until the last minute to hire a defense lawyer. I hear you tell people all of the time that “problems don’t get better with time” and that is so true.

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

For more information on Affording A Criminal Defense Attorney In FL, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (850) 423-0035 today.

Stephen G. Cobb, Esq.

Get your questions answered - call me for your free, 20 min phone consultation (850) 423-0035

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