Trial Judge Who Sentenced Florida Teen to Two Life Sentences plus 30 years, Charged with Misconduct by the Judicial Qualifications Commission

Tallahassee, FL—During the trial of DeShon Thomas, Second Judicial Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford allowed false statements to go to the jury, along with the use of a “fake detective” and a convicted felon seeking a break in his cases in both Leon and Gadsden County.

Dawuan Williams, a former convicted felon, was a witness against DeShon in the Solicitation to Commit 1st Degree Murder charge. When Williams was introduced to DeShon, Williams was an inmate in the Leon County Jail for robbing two banks in Tallahassee. The plot to use Williams to entrap DeShon was set up by State Prosecutor Jack Campbell and State Attorney Investigator Jason Newlin. In exchange for Williams’ assistance with entrapping DeShon, Williams was released from the Leon County Jail and provided with money from both the Leon County Sheriff’s office and the State Attorney’s office. Williams, who had robbed the SunTrust Bank and the Farmers and Merchants Bank in Tallahassee, was being financially supported by elected officials who were supposed to be upholding the law. In the Leon County Jail Williams told DeShon that he (Williams) was going to murder Trentin. Trentin was a witness against 17-year-old, DeShon in the double murder case. It was Williams’ statement to DeShon about murdering Trentin, as to what made DeShon acknowledge that he knew of Williams’ saying that he was going to murder Trentin. So when DeShon was asked at trial by State Prosecutor Jack Campbell if he (DeShon) was aware that Williams was going to murder Trentin, DeShon answered yes, Williams told him that he was going to murder Trentin. DeShon never solicited Williams to murder Trentin. State Proseuctor Jack Campbell knew exactly what he needed Williams to do—the threshold to cross to get DeShon charged with solicitation–not to get DeShon to actually solicit Williams, but for Williams just to tell DeShon that he was going to murder Trentin. That way if DeShon denied that he was aware of Williams saying that he was going to murder Trentin, then DeShon would’ve been lying. Within months after being released from the Leon County Jail, Williams was arrested in Gadsden County for Armed Home Invasion Robbery with Kidnapping and numerous of other serious charges. State Prosecutor Jack Campbell’s desperation to get a conviction against DeShon, by releasing a convict felon, and dual bank robber back into the community, brought about more turmoil to other families, adding more victims to Dawuan Williams crime spree.

Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford was also the presiding judge on Williams’ bank robbery cases. To ensure Williams would not back out of providing testimony against DeShon, Williams’ bank robbery trial was scheduled after DeShon’s trial. During DeShon’s trial, Williams testified that he was providing testimony against DeShon with the hopes of getting a break in his cases, including those in Gadsden County. Second Judicial State Attorney Willie Meggs, who is also responsible for prosecuting case in Gadsden County, could provide Williams with breaks. Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford, a former Assistant State Attorney under State Attorney Meggs, allowed State Prosecutor Jack Campbell to make arrangements for special compensation to get Williams a court appointed attorney assigned to his cases. Normally, the attorney that State Prosecutor Jack Campbell told Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford to assign to Williams’ case would not have otherwise been appointed due to the type of cases he is able to be compensated. Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford displayed acts of misconduct prior to replacing Circuit Judge James C. Hankinson on DeShon’s case. Both Circuit Judges violated DeShon’s Constitutional Rights. These judges actions are even more disgusting considering that DeShon was a juvenile and had been charged as an adult.

In October 2013, DeShon’s mother contacted Attorney General Pam Bondi to inform her of Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford’s unethical conduct during DeShon’s trial. The Director at the Regional Counsel’s office, Daren Shippy, was representing DeShon. Regional Counsel Shippy had been court appointed to represent DeShon in March 2013. Regional Counsel Shippy was the fourth court appointed attorney to DeShon’s case. Regional Counsel Shippy, who’d immediately filed a Motion to Withdraw upon being appointed to DeShon’s case, was not interested in ensuring that DeShon received a fair and just trial. If there was any interest of DeShon’s rights being protected by Regional Counsel Shippy or Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford, then DeShon’s mother would not have had to contact Attorney General Bondi. The coaching of witnesses, false statements, perjured testimonies, the “fake detective,” all resulted in the conviction of an innocent teenager. An innocent Black male teenager.

DeShon has now been in the custody of the Department of Corrections for over a year and a half. Regional Counsel Melissa “Mina” Ford, who is with the same Regional Counsel’s office that refused to protect DeShon’s rights during trial, was again responsible for appealing DeShon’s convictions. Was it for Regional Counsel Ford to file DeShon’s appeal, showing that her co-worker, possibly boss, teamed with State Prosecutor Jack Campbell and Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford in violating DeShon’s rights? Some government officials in Tallahassee seem to view their jobs—not as public servants being paid by taxpayers, but as working to protect family and friends and doing favors for all others, while being paid by taxpayers.

A defendant’s right to a fair and just trial is a RIGHT! A defendant’s right to a court appointed attorney is a RIGHT! A defendant’s right to an appeal is also a RIGHT! Attorneys who are being paid by taxpayers and view their jobs as favors to their clients—because they’re going to “get paid either way,” are—morally and ethically WRONG!