Leon County Sheriff’s and the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel, Region One– Join Forces: Tallahassee Legal Group Unethical Practice

After being charged with two counts of 1st Degree Murder, 17-year-old DeShon Thomas and his mother looked to Florida’s Second Judicial System to provide a fair and equal balance of justice. Thrust into the adult judicial system, DeShon’s knowledge of the judicial process was that of any typical teenager—severely limited. As time progressed, DeShon and his mother’s view of the judicial process became completely distorted.

First there was the hiring of Criminal Defense Attorney Gregory Cummings. Hiring Cummings was like putting a poisonous snake in a child’s playpen. His intentions were deceitful. The communication between Cummings and State Prosecutor Jack Campbell was unethical. When DeShon Thomas’ court record showed that Circuit Court Judge James C. Hankinson withheld vital information from DeShon Thomas’ Court Docket—the corruption alarm sounded!

Unbeknownest to DeShon Thomas and his mother, they were in a “Triangle of Deception”—dealing with a powerful “Axis of Evil!”

DeShon’s mother, a single mother of four (2 biological & 2 relatives), paid Gregory Cummings $29850 over sixteen months. Cummings did absolutely nothing to build a defense on DeShon Thomas’ behalf. In mid 2012, when DeShon’s mother was reviewing his court docket, she saw where Cummings clearly cut the throat of his colleague, Attorney Baya Harrison, in order to be hired to represent him (DeShon). DeShon’s mother knew then that if he could cut the throat of his own colleague, then he was definitely capable of corruption on any level. DeShon’s mother immediately told her son to fire Cummings. For DeShon and his mother to walk away from $29850 was not a tough decision–especially with DeShon’s life at stake.

AXIS OF EVIL–Simultaneous to firing Cummings, the Leon County Sheriff and the State Attorney’s Office charged DeShon Thomas with solicitation to commit 1st Degree Murder. DeShon Thomas was put in solitary confinement—his phone and visitation privileges permanently taken away—his only means of communication is through mail. As of today, DeShon Thomas has been in solitary confinement for nearly sixteen months. He is still not allowed to call home or have visitation.

With little to no money to hire another attorney, DeShon’s mother advised him to go with a court-appointed attorney. Since Gregory Cummings had not done anything on DeShon’s behalf—there was no evidence on the table. DeShon was sitting in jail solely based on Trentin Ross’ unconfirmed statements—no deposition.

With the new charge of solicitation to commit 1st Degree Murder, a couple of other Tallahassee attorneys were recruited to represent other inmates that were named as having played a role in the plot. Tallahassee attorney Alex Morris represents the hitman, Dawaun Williams and Anabelle Dias’ office represents Walter Rayborn, a trustee at the time. Attorney Paul Srygley has long represented Trentin Ross—the state’s key witness and target for hitman Dawaun Williams. Before the solicitation to commit 1st Degree Murder charges were handed down, it was Gregory Cummings who told DeShon Thomas’ mother that Paul Srygley didn’t want to travel to Daytona Beach to accompany his client (Trentin Ross) for a deposition because he (Srygley) would not get paid to make the trip. Also, Trentin Ross didn’t want to give a deposition in this case at all. It took the State Attorney’s Office to show Trentin Ross that his life was in danger in order for them to get him to come to court—a tactic that was obviously their own plan–considering all that’s been said and done in this case.

The Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel’s office was re-assigned to the case. From August 2012 until June 2013 absolutely nothing was done on DeShon Thomas’ case. First his case was assigned to Regional Counsel Samuel Olmstead and then Regional Counsel Daren Shippy—both attorneys filed motions to conflict off of the case. It was brought to DeShon Thomas’ mother’s attention that Circuit Court Judge James C. Hankinson had granted an order for Samuel Olmstead to conflict off of the case back in March 2011 (an order that DeShon Thomas and his mother were completely unaware about—DeShon, the Leon Clerk of Courts or the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Cousel’s receptionist knew that DeShon had an attorney prior to Cummings for the murder charges—he had since learned that he had 2 previous attorneys—including Baya Harrison). For whatever reason, in September 2012, Samuel Olmstead was re-assigned to DeShon’s case. Six months later, because of the lack of action on his case, DeShon Thomas filed Pro Se. At the Faretta Hearing, Regional Counsel Joshua Bryant stood in for Samuel Olmstead. In March 2013, Regional Counsel Daren Shippy was assigned to DeShon’s case.

Despite DeShon Thomas’ mother’s offer to hire a private investigator to assist with her son’s defense, Daren Shippy refused to acknowledge DeShon’s mother. The Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel’s Office never informed DeShon’s mother of any court dates. When DeShon’s mother called the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel’s Office from her out-of-town (area code) cell phone number, she rarely got an answer from the person answering the office’s phone. But when she called from her Tallahassee cell phone (Tallahassee area code) she’d get an answer every time. DeShon Thomas and his mother are not looking for favors from those within the judicial system. They’re goal was merely to have an attorney, whether a private paid attorney or a court appointed attorney, who was ethical and who would represent DeShon’s best interest—that’s it.

Not only could my money not pay for an ethical attorney—taxpayer’s money couldn’t pay for an ethical attorney either.

In June 2013, DeShon Thomas’ case was removed from Circuit Court Judge James C. Hankinson’s docket and placed on Judge Jackie Fulford.

After the case was removed, the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel joined forces with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office on their path to deny DeShon Thomas’ right to a fair and equal trial. In a Subpoena for Hearing, Regional Counsel Daren Shippy drafted a subpoena for Det. Velveeta Couch, Leon County Sheriff’s Office. It was reported that Detective Couch abruptly left the Leon County Sheriff’s Office back in 2011. Det. Couch played an intricate role in the double murder investigation for which DeShon was charged—in part within hours of the victims being found murdered, Det. Couch took a statement of the eyewitness who may have seen the actual murderer (a lead that detectives let fall flat because they were already hooked on DeShon Thomas). Det. Couch’s testimony may have showed the jury that in fact the direction of the eyewitness’ tip would’ve led the investigation in another direction. The eyewitness gave a clear and precise description of a black male who was seen being let into the victims’ residence shortly before all outgoing cell phone activity from the female victim’s cell phone stopped. DeShon was 19 miles away at work. (Something as simple as using a sketch artist could’ve helped investigate that lead).  Why did Det. Couch not appear? Because—Regional Counsel Daren Shippy and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office path of deception. Deputy Velveeta Couch is a fictitious name. The former deputy’s real name is Clifton Couch. Sources told DeShon’s mother that Clifton Couch is now working as the Sheriff in a small town in the Midwest. When Clifton Couch left the Leon County Sheriff’s Office it was not good for Sheriff Larry Campbell. So where did Regional Counsel Daren Shippy get the name Det. Velveeta Couch? And why did someone with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office sign for a subpoena with a fictitious name on it? (**click link**) LCSO Couch Concealing a witness from your own defendant’s defense—why? For the same reason why there was no private investigator put on this case. And for the same reason why there was no AT&T representative to explain DeShon Thomas’ cell phone tower activity. And for the same reason why DeShon’s mother and brother were kicked out of the courtroom towards the end of his trial—because DeShon’s innocence does not support the Leon County Sheriff and the 2nd District State Attorney’s Office’s theory—their agenda—that DeShon Thomas is the murderer.

Several Leon County Sheriff’s Deputies could’ve provided helpful testimony in DeShon Thomas’ trial—D Witness List most of those deputies were either not called or weren’t asked relevant questions to rebut State Prosecutor Jack Campbell’s claims.

Despite the corruption of those in authority and the jury’s guilty verdict—citizens of Tallahassee need to know that there’s a murderer walking amongst them.

It’s one thing for those in authority to try to send a teenager into Florida’s Prison System based soley on testimony of adults that are clearly trying to avoid jail time for themselves and not evidence. But when those in authority knowingly leave a murderer on the streets—citizens should be concerned—very concerned! DeShon Thomas’ days in court are not over—he will be exonerated! Whether his exoneration comes before or after the real murderer claims another victim or victims—that we all have yet to find out. Fact, Dawaun Williams, a bank robber, was let out of jail to help the State Attorney and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office build a solicitation to commit murder case against DeShon Thomas. Fact, while out, Dawaun Williams committed other crimes—adding victims to his list of existing victims. Dawaun Williams has charges of home invasion robbery, kidnapping and forgery. Fact, the State Attorney’s Office provided Dawuan Williams a cell phone to use at will—they tracked Dawaun Williams and DeShon Thomas’ phone calls—but let Dawaun Williams run out and about terrorizing innocent people.  Hopefully, you or someone you love will not become the victim of the murderer that Leon County Sheriff and the State Attorney’s Office know is still on the streets.