Tallahassee, FL—When a lay person files a complaint with The Florida Bar against an attorney, it is the responsibility of The Florida Bar to ensure that the attorneys are abiding by their Professional Rules of Conduct. So why has The Florida Bar chosen to protect attorneys who molested a child?
The Florida Bar is located in Tallahassee, Florida. In November 2014, the citizens in Tallahassee voted to end corruption in local government. However, if the local government agencies abided by their own rules and policies, one could say that the Anti-Corruption Amendment that the citizens voted to enact may have not passed. The majority of Tallahassee citizens have low morale when it comes to equal justice on all fronts. The “culture” in Tallahassee is that one and one’s whole family can easily become “blackballed” if they were to speak out against corruption. Case in point, former Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews, former Florida Department of Law Enforcement Officer Gerald Bailey, and former Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy of the Year David Graham (classic).
On February 7, 2011, when seventeen-year-old DeShon Thomas, a former freshman at Tallahassee Community College, was charged with Two Counts of 1st Degree Murder and Possession of a Firearm by a Juvenile Delinquent, immediately the Public Defender’s Office withdrew. DeShon sat in the Leon County Jail for nearly a month without a court appointed attorney. In March 2011, DeShon and his mother signed a contract with a private Attorney Gregory Cummings. Mr. Cummings, who conducted himself like a used car sales man, or better yet, an ambulance chaser, called DeShon’s mother nearly every day, begging for her to hire him. DeShon’s mother did not hire Mr. Cummings right away, but like any mother who loves her child, needed legal help for her son. Yes, Mr. Cummings seemed to be shady from the start. Regardless, DeShon needed an attorney and DeShon’s mother believed that she had the protection of The Florida Bar if Mr. Cummings chose to practice unethically. The contract between Mr. Cummings, DeShon and DeShon’s mother stated a $35,000 retainer fee, in which neither DeShon nor his mother had or pretended to have at the time of signing the contract. However, Mr. Cummings accepted $11,000 and promised to start building a legal defense for DeShon—Mr. Cummings promised to have DeShon take a polygraph test. It would be DeShon’s mother’s responsibility to pay out of pocket for the test and to make monthly payments.
Over Sixteen months there were four rescheduled Pretrials (all at the request of the State). DeShon’s mother had paid nearly $30,000 to Mr. Cummings. After DeShon fired Mr. Cummings, DeShon’s mother learned that Mr. Cummings had not filed a single document to build a legal defense for DeShon. Mr. Cummings did not place DeShon’s AT&T cell phone records in DeShon’s case file and the victims’ autopsy reports were kept out of public record by the State Attorney’s Office.
Why? Because these are two main sources that could exonerate DeShon.
The State Prosecutor on the case, who was Jack Campbell, highly depended on the testimony of DeShon’s co-worker/roommate to testify against DeShon. With the admission of DeShon’s AT&T cell phone records and the victims’ autopsy reports, Campbell’s case against DeShon would’ve been derailed. So, instead of facing the fact that the State of Florida was on the wrong trail of a cold-blooded murderer—they clearly chose to allow a cold-blooded murderer to remain in the community—putting Tallahassee citizens and all of the college students that live in Tallahassee during school session in great harm.
Jack Campbell, Eric Trombley, and Georgia Cappleman all work for State Attorney Willie Meggs. The Florida Bar received a complaint against them in regards to their dishonest, fraud and deceit in the role that they played in DeShon’s case.
The Florida Bar decided that Gregory Cummings, Jack Campbell, Eric Trombley, and Georgia Cappleman had not violated any of their rules.
It would be easy for those at The Florida Bar to believe that DeShon and his mother are just upset and want their money back. Any mature person knows that when money leaves your hands, you would be most happy receiving the services you paid for more so than having to start all over. Apparently, Mr. Cummings, Jack Campbell, and Circuit Judge James C. Hankinson had probably been running schemes involving defendants for quite a while.
DeShon’s case process, according to other attorneys in Florida, was like none that they had ever seen. Four court appointed attorneys filing motions to withdraw, the public defenders clearly running away from it all—and absolutely nothing on the record after paying out nearly $30k…DeShon’s mother was not surprised when her innocent son was convicted. At trial, DeShon was represented by the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional District One Office, Assistant Regional Counsel Daren Shippy. DeShon’s trial was like an impromptu trail, according to DeShon’s case docket only two or three people were deposed—Dr. Anthony J. Clark, the medical examiner, Leslie Rabon, Leon County Sheriff Criminal Analyst. Yet, there were about 30 witnesses. Despite several items in the victims’ residence being out of place, there was no physical evidence against DeShon.
The “culture” in Tallahassee—nothing seems to have to happen formally—nothing seems to have to happen according to policy, rule or law. How sad is that?
Kids live and learn. Adults should know better. Any official of the court who chooses to molest a child in the name of justice—“Florida Justice”—is a disgrace to the State of Florida, the United States and the United States Constitution. These sick people should not be protected by any organization or agency. Clearly, the Florida Cabinet are not the only ones in Tallahassee who are spineless.