Florida 2nd District State Attorney Willie Meggs: The Fate Puppeteer

For nearly three decades or more Willie Meggs has held office as State Attorney for Florida’s 2nd District. Certain politicians, members of the Florida Bar, colleagues, and Tallahassee citizens may see his longevity in office as “pure dedication.” However, most should be weary of why a person would want to hold any office for such length—especially an office that always has the utmost controversy about its handlings and mishandlings of criminal cases.

Although no average citizen really knows all of the facts regarding Rachel Hoffman, DeShon Thomas, Christina West and the Jameis Winston’s case—one thing is for sure—law enforcement officers who handled these cases knew what they could and could not get away with. In each of these cases, a law enforcement officer set out to handle and conduct its own “special” investigation—concealing information. These law enforcement officers are only doing what they feel comfortable doing—being deceptive. It’s the tone that both State Attorney Willie Meggs and Sheriff Larry Campbell has set in Tallahassee in the nearly fifty years that they’ve been involved in Tallahassee’s Judicial System. It’s that tone (that comfortable act) as to why there’s always little to know discipline for the officers actions for going against policy.

The same as with Rachel Hoffman and Christina West’s case—where there was little to no discipline for the Tallahassee Police Officers, the law enforcement officer for mishandling the young woman’s allegations of rape may go unpunished as well. Everyone seems to agree that it doesn’t matter if she could or could not identify her alleged rapist—it should’ve been reported. How many women are raped or people who are robbed that can’t identify their perpetrator? There’s no excuse for any criminal act to not go through its procedural process.

On January 28, 2011 seventeen year-old DeShon Thomas and his mother voluntarily walked into the Leon County Sheriff’s Office to offer information that DeShon had read on Facebook—where his ex-girlfriend was being threatened by another woman—all in an effort to help detectives with their investigation. Instead of receiving the information, DeShon Thomas and his mother were met with racist vulgar by a white man whom they thought was a detective. Almost immediately, DeShon Thomas was separated from his mother—his Right to an attorney was denied. And when his mother was reunited with him—it was in an interview room—where they were then deadbolt locked into the room. All of this irrational and irresponsible behavior was done by a non-certified law enforcement officer—a Reserve Deputy (a volunteer deputy) by the name of Don Odham. Of course DeShon and his mother didn’t know that Don Odham was a volunteer deputy at the time—because all of the other Leon County Sheriff Deputies (even those in uniform) and other staff members—stood by idle (only offering a look of concern and disapproval of Don Odham’s behavior on their faces). Sure enough—Don Odham is a close friend of Sheriff Larry Campbell and his son, State Prosecutor Jack Campbell.

Note: Any parent or child who enters into an arena where an inexperienced volunteer deputy commands over full-time certified deputies is automatically going to be subjected to numerous accounts of unethical acts—reason being issues with personnel. Leon County Sheriff’s deputies that have already been significantly reduced morally and ethically. And it doesn’t help the deputy when the criminal case that they’re involved in is being prosecuted by Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell’s son, State Prosecutor Jack Campbell (who works at the right-hand side of State Attorney Willie Meggs). In any case, the majority of law enforcement officers are bound to follow their leaders. They will do what they’ve either been given permission to do and/or what they know that they can get away with doing.

The taking of depositions falls under the Rules of Criminal Procedure. DeShon sat in jail for over two years—his case had five attorneys before any official depositions were taken. A month before trial, there were two depositions taken—the medical examiner and a Leon County Sheriff’s Criminal Analyst. At trial, DeShon was not convicted on evidence—DeShon was convicted on clear and concise perjured testimony of others in authority and of two criminals looking for a deal on their own criminal cases (in which both of them stated that they were in fact looking for a deal for their testimony).

During the investigation, after 1st Lead Det. Melinda McBride and other certified deputies began following up on other leads without sufficient Probable Cause to charge DeShon Thomas with the murders—Reserve Deputy Don Odham claimed that on February 4, 2011 21-year-old Trentin Ross voluntarily walked into the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and gave incriminating statements about DeShon Thomas.

Trentin Ross and DeShon Thomas were co-workers. Trentin Ross had allowed DeShon to sleep on the couch in his one-bedroom apartment. On January 28, 2011 while serving a search warrant on Trentin Ross’ apartment seeking a connection to the murders, Leon County Sheriff’s detectives located 5 pots of soil with marijuana stems sprouting from them in Trentin Ross’ bedroom closet. Despite Trentin Ross telling detectives that he cared for the plants—according to police reports, he refused to tell them how the plants got into his bedroom closet. Both Trentin Ross and DeShon Thomas were charged with cultivation of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. While DeShon Thomas had 3 prior non violent juvenile arrests, Trentin Ross had no prior arrests. Trentin Ross was aware and upset about DeShon Thomas having had sex with his 19-year-old girlfriend, Riley Ewell. So not only did Trentin Ross have a motive to lie on DeShon Thomas—Trentin Ross had favor with both the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and court officials.

Trentin Ross’ Leon County Clerk of Court Docket shows financial favorable activity on Trentin Ross’ pending cases being conducted in the courtroom on Trentin Ross’ behalf on February 4, 2011 the same day as Trentin Ross’ “voluntary arrival” and interaction with Reserve Deputy Don Odham at the Leon County Sheriff’s Office.

State Prosecutor Jack Campbell and State Attorney Investigator Jason Newlin recruited Leon County Jail inmate Dawaun Williams to set out to have DeShon Thomas charged with solicitation to commit 1st Degree murder with the target being Trentin Ross (State Prosecutor Jack Campbell’s slip of the tongue confession to this prosecutorial misconduct action can be heard during an Evidentiary Hearing held on 8/19/13 while questioning Inv. Newlin. During another questioning of Inv. Newlin held on 10/7/13 State Prosecutor Jack Campbell attempts to undo his confession—but the damage had been done—ineffective defense counsel). Why did State Prosecutor Jack Campbell set out to commit such an act—because nobody was aware of Trentin Ross’ whereabouts—the Leon County Clerk of Courts had lost track of him. State Prosecutor Jack Campbell had nothing. Trentin Ross had not been deposed. State Prosecutor Jack Campbell had already been granted nearly 5 continuances—and he needed to buy time to either locate Trentin Ross or give a reason as to why Trentin Ross was in hiding.

Mr. Williams, a twice convicted felon, had just been arrested for Armed Bank Robbery about a month before being introduced to DeShon. Mr. Williams was looking at some serious straight time as being a re-offender. Mr. Williams needed a break. Mr. Williams was released from jail within hour of meeting with Inv. Newlin on a $15000 bond. Once out of jail, Mr. Williams was given money by Leon County Sheriff Deputy Ron O’Brien. It didn’t take long for Mr. Williams to be re-arrested for numerous criminal acts across two counties.

During a hearing held on 10/7/13 (a week before DeShon Thomas’ trial)—State Prosecutor Jack Campbell, Public Defender’s Office lead attorney Nancy Daniels and Defense Regional Counsel Supervisor Daren Shippy all condoned State Prosecutor Jack Campbell’s handpicked selection of a Conflict-Free Defense representation for Mr. Williams. For whatever reason—after representing Mr. Williams for over 5 months—Nancy Daniels filed a Motion to Withdraw a week before Mr. Williams was set to testify in a trial that has been plagued with severe unethical actions by both sides of the courtroom from the start. As State Prosecutor Jack Campbell told of the attorney whom he’d been in contact with (over the weekend) that was going to be representing Mr. Williams—State Prosecutor Jack Campbell basically stated that State Prosecutors handpick Conflict-Free Attorneys all of the time.

Clearly, State Prosecutors handpicking state paid Defense Conflict-Free attorneys is a blueprint of State Attorney Willie Meggs’ normal operation of procedure—a strategy that has a high potential to make any State Prosecutor and/or State Attorney have a stellar record of successful convictions and appear to be tough on criminals. But on the other hand, a strategy that those who really care about adequate Public Defense Representation and how their tax dollars are being spent, will completely disagree with being condoned. If the Legislature sees that type of strategy as being ok—then why is there a rotation procedure in place as to the assignment of Conflict-Free Attorneys?

Seventy-year-old Willie Meggs: the Fate Puppeteer.

Repeated failure by law enforcement officers and the repeated lack of responsibility by State Attorney Willie Meggs should concern all parents. When our kids are in college, we as parents should feel comfortable with our kids going to law enforcement as a victim—not to become a victim—or to get victimized twice. And then watch how State Attorney Willie Meggs finds humor in our kids pain in front of media cameras—to be broadcast all over the world. That’s not Ol’ Southern Willie Meggs being humorous—that’s Ol’ Willie Meggs being cocky—showing his lack of care for young women as victims as well as his personal obsession of feeling like he’s above the law! As Willie Meggs once told a reporter when he, himself got caught committing a crime or some other form of misconduct—something in essence to—I’m not going to prosecute myself.

While some people may think highly of State Attorney Willie Meggs’ commitment to serve Florida’s 2nd District—there seems to be a strong suspicion by others as to why he’s served the area for nearly three decades. Could it be possible that he is fearful as to what would be uncovered once he is out of office? Regardless, as to why—those who laugh with State Attorney Willie Meggs and Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell today—and watch out for them—cover for them—knowing that they are breaking laws and conspiring against innocent people—don’t be fooled. These two men are up in age—they may be dead and gone before their criminal actions come to the light. But for those that know—they may not have to come out and say that they knew—it will be found out. And those left here on earth will be shamed and suffer the consequences.

Jerry Sandusky spent years of molesting little boys and getting away with it. People who knew about the abuse—remained quiet about the abuse. Now, Jerry Sandusky is in prison for the rest of his life—those who kept quiet are being ostracized—and Joe Paterno—well you know. State Attorney Willie Meggs may not be molesting boys—but knowing that wrongful convictions are occurring and being approved by his own signature—it’s just as criminal as being a child molester—especially when the wrongful arrested/convicted is a child or a trusting young adult.

There is no doubt that State Attorney Willie Meggs and Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell’s legacy will mirror that of Jerry Sandusky. TAKE HEED!