State Attorney's Race

By: Amy Morris
By: Amy Morris

The race for state attorney is heating up. Thursday we took a closer look at candidate Sister Blackmon Milligan's record after candidate Steve Meadows ran a negative ad. Friday we look at Meadows’ record.

Sister Blackmon's ad accuses Meadows and the state attorney's office of having the worst record in the state of Florida.

Watch TV and in the last few months and you've seen this ad:

"The worst criminal trial rate in state."

But according to Sister Blackmon's opponent, her numbers are misleading.

Steve Meadows, state attorney candidate, says, "This office, which I was a part of, had one of the highest conviction rates in the state and a conviction rate is the percentage of criminal defendants who have been held accountable for their crimes."

From 2000 to 2001 according to the State of Florida, State Attorney Jim Appleman's office had an almost 94 percent conviction rate, the third highest in the state. But the overall conviction rate excludes many cases like those with pre-trial intervention, and includes some cases Sister calls a miscarriage of justice.

“If a case is reduced from rape to a lesser charge that counts as a conviction in those statistics, which is not something I would be bragging about."

Sister's claim is based on the 40 cases that went to trial out of more than 3,000 filed that year. Of those, more than half were dismissed or acquitted, giving the state attorney's office the worst record in the state that year.

"It is a complete mistake and fabrication on her part to say that all of these people who pled, pled down."

But Sister says victims are not getting justice if only 1.2 percent of all cases filed go to court. Meadows says the victim's are involved in every step of the process and even give input on sentencing when someone pleas out.

It boils down to the candidates using the stats that benefit them most. The race may come down to who you trust more.


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