Florida Innocence Project in Disbelief of How Florida Bar Handled Complaints Filed Against Tallahassee Defense Attorney Greg Cummings in Teen Charged with Two Counts of 1st Degree Murder

Tallahassee, FL—When the mother of DeShon Thomas visited the office of the Florida Innocence Project and spoke to staff members about details of court proceedings and how the Florida Bar failed to hold private Tallahassee Defense Attorney Greg Cummings responsible for violations that he committed, the staff members were in highly disbelief.

Tallahassee Defense Attorney Greg Cummings was paid nearly $30,000 of a $50,000 attorney fee to represent seventeen-year-old DeShon Thomas. Within four months after signing a contract with DeShon and his mother, Mr. Cummings began to show signs of misconduct. About fifteen months later, DeShon’s mother filed a complaint with the Florida Bar against Mr. Cummings. The following month, DeShon’s mother recommended to DeShon to fire Mr. Cummings. Unfortnately (yet, fortunately) DeShon’s mother was right, Mr. Cummings was unethical in his conduct.

DeShon’s mother learned that Mr. Cummings, along with Circuit Judge James C. Hankinson and Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell were conspiring against DeShon in order to protect the numerous of violations that had been committed by the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell, the father of Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell, had assigned his wealthy, close, personal friend, Donald Odham, as Lead Detective on the case. Mr. Odham, who was being referred to in court documents and other official documents as “Leon County Sheriff Detective Don Odham,” was not on the Leon County Sheriff’s Office payroll—neither did Mr. Odham have the credentials to be a detective. It was “Detective Odham” as to who claimed to that he’d received incriminating statements from a single witness as to what led him (Detective Odham) to prepare a Summary of Offense for Two Counts of 1st Degree Murder and Probable Cause Report—which was approved by none other than Assistant State Attorney/Prosecutor Jack Campbell. Shortly thereafter, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell replaced then Lead Detective Melinda McBride and her team of seasoned detectives and deputies with his wealthy friend, “Detective Odham”. (Detective McBride and her team had spent over a week trying to make a clear connection between DeShon and the murders—to no avail. The same day Detective McBride and her team began investigating solid suspects in which the victims’ family members had originally given to them (DeShon was not one of the suspects), that’s when “Detective Odham” came with his incriminating statements from a witness in which Detective McBride and her team had already learned the same witness to be disgruntle—not creditable.)

In his rebuttals to The Florida Bar, in regards to DeShon and his mother’s complaints, Mr. Cummings didn’t deny many of DeShon and his mother’s complaints against him. This is in part why many find it baffling as to why The Florida Bar has failed to hold Mr. Cummings responsible for violating their rules. In DeShon’s mother’s complaint, The Florida Bar ruled that Mr. Cummings did not violate any of their rules. In DeShon’s complaint, The Florida Bar just didn’t rule at all.

For instance, DeShon’s mother learned that prior to hiring Mr. Cummings, Circuit Judge James Hankinson had been conducting crucial case events outside of DeShon’s presence and without having provided motions to the Leon County Clerk of Courts and without informing DeShon. Mr. Cummings was aware of these case events and never informed DeShon or DeShon’s mother. While at the same time Mr. Cummings spent weeks soliciting DeShon’s mother. Coupled with violating The Florida Bar rule 4-1.4 in regards to Communication, Mr. Cummings also violated rule 4.1-3 Diligence: A lawyer should pursue a matter on behalf of a client despite opposition, obstruction, or personal inconvenience to the lawyer and take whatever lawful and ethical measures are required to vindicate a client’s cause or endeavor. Mr. Cummings was fully aware of “Detective Don Odham” as an impostor—pretending to be a Leon County Sheriff Detective. Mr. Cummings also was fully aware of “Detective Don Odham” being supported by the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and the 2nd Circuit State Attorney’s Office—with both offices having filed legal documents identifying Mr. Donald Odham as a “Leon County Sheriff Detective” plainly shows that the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and the 2nd Circuit State Attorney’s Office acted fraudulent and deceptive.

The Florida Bar’s failure to hold Mr. Cummings responsible for his actions in the case involving a child client—sends the message to all Floridians—when it comes to consumer protection—the hiring of an attorney—The Florida Bar is selective as to what attorneys they chose to hold accountable for violating their rules.

It is a sad day when even those who know the ends and outs of The Florida Bar Rules of Professional Conduct, like staff members at the Florida Innocence Project, are left scratching their head about the actions of The Florida Bar.