The Florida Bar Put on “Black Face”—Racist Institution Continues to Divide

Tallahassee, FL—What does The Florida Bar have to gain for ignoring the complaint from a Black male juvenile defendant against his White male attorney? In the 2013 Florida Bar complaint filed by DeShon Thomas against Tallahassee Defense Attorney Gregory Cummings, among many other violations of The Florida Bar Rules of Professional Conduct, DeShon states that Gregory Cummings “swindled his way onto his case.” In Gregory Cummings rebuttal to DeShon’s complaint, Gregory Cummings admits to not informing DeShon that the court had appointed him a conflict attorney. The breakdown in communication came about due to Second Judicial Circuit Judge James C. Hankinson, along with State Prosecutor Jack Campbell and the Office of Regional Counsel conspiring against DeShon. Circuit Judge James C. Hankinson was conducting case events outside of DeShon’s presence and was withholding Motions from the Leon County Clerk of Court.

DeShon Thomas was seventeen-years-old when he was being investigated by the Leon County Sheriff’s office in relation to Two Counts of 1st Degree Murder in January 2011. DeShon, was a full-time freshman at Tallahassee Community College and worked at Taco Bell. When the Leon County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant at DeShon’s co-worker’s one-bedroom apartment, Sheriff’s Detectives located five pots of soil with marijuana stems sprouting from them. DeShon and his co-worker were charged with Cultivation of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Three times DeShon went in front of a juvenile court judge due to lack of probable cause. On the third time, the Probable Cause was anteed up, and on February 2, 2011, Assistant State Attorney Eric Trombley direct filed. DeShon was charged as an Adult and placed into the Leon County Jail. As DeShon was awaiting compliance for GPS monitoring, on February 7, 2011, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office charged DeShon with Two Counts of 1st Degree Murder. DeShon was being represented by the Public Defender’s Office. However, once DeShon was charged with the murders, the Public Defender’s Office stated that they were withdrawing from DeShon’s case due to a conflict of interest. As the Public Defender’s Office explained it to DeShon’s mother, the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel’s Office would represent DeShon. As of March 9, 2011, there was no record of what attorney with the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel’s Office was representing DeShon. DeShon’s mother called both the Leon County Clerk of Court and the Office of Regional Counsel’s Office requesting the name of DeShon’s attorney—no one had a record. DeShon was not present for any of the events occurring on his case. On March 9, 2011, Chief Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman obtained an Indictment from the Grand Jury charging DeShon with Two Counts of 1st Degree Murder and Possession of a Firearm by a Juvenile Delinquent. Still, no one could provide DeShon’s mother with the name of DeShon’s court appointed attorney. On March 9, 2011, Gregory Cummings contacted DeShon’s mother berating Circuit Judge James C. Hankinson and State Prosecutor Jack Campbell. Gregory Cummings told DeShon’s mother that he believed DeShon was INNOCENT. Gregory Cummings promised to save DeShon’s mother money in legal fees if she hired him. Gregory Cummings was well aware of DeShon’s mother’s repeatedly trying to get the name of DeShon’s court appointed attorney but was not able to get a name of the attorney. Out of DESPERATION, DeShon’s mother hired Gregory Cummings.

In August 2012, when DeShon and his mother fired Gregory Cummings for a number of reasons, DeShon’s mother looked at DeShon’s Court Docket on Case Process and noted the DECEPTION by Circuit Judge James C. Hankinson that had been occurring on DeShon’s case since DeShon was charged with the murders. DeShon had two attorneys assigned to his case that neither DeShon, his mother, the Office of Regional Counsel nor the Leon County Clerk of Court had on record prior to hiring Gregory Cummings.

Why has The Florida Bar not taken any action against Gregory Cummings?

Judith Hawkins, a Black woman, was a Second Judicial Circuit Judge that the Judicial Qualification Commission found to have violated judicial rules of misconduct for operating a non-profit ministry from her courtroom. On September 25, 2015, the Tallahassee Democrat published an article entitled, “Former Leon County Judge suspended from practicing law.” In the article by Jennifer Portman, senior writer with the Tallahassee Democrat, states, “She was removed from the bench by the court in December and the Florida Bar subsequently filed a complaint against her license.”  The Tallahassee Democrat also highlights the “abundance of character witnesses who provided testimony about Hawkins “outstanding” character.” Further noting Hawkins as, “being the first black female judge elected to the Second Circuit in a contested election.”

It was in December 2014, as to when the Florida Supreme Court removed Mrs. Hawkins from the bench. And in nine months the Florida Bar is seeking her law license. Fortunately, Mrs. Hawkins will be allowed to keep her law license. Unfortunately, Mrs. Hawkins has had to shut down her practice. Mrs. Hawkins’ law license was suspended for 30 days.

In April 2015, the Judicial Qualification Commission began investigating Second Judicial Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford for three violations of misconduct. Jackie Fulford, a White woman, had violations that dated as far back as 2010. In one instance, Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford had asked a favor of an attorney in regards to a criminal case. The attorney stated that he feared for the outcome of his client if he did not act. In October 2013, Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford allowed trial testimony of a “Fake Cop” to go to the jury as a witness for State Prosecutor Jack Campbell. In February 2015, Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford was presiding over a Death Penalty case. Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford’s attorney filed a Motion to Dismiss the charges, but the Judicial Qualification Commission denied the motion, charging that she showed a “pattern of misconduct.”

WTXL posted an article entitled, “Judge Jackie Fulford Recommended for Involuntary Retirement.”  In the article states, “According to court documents they are recommending she retires because of a permanent disability that they say seriously interferes with the performance of her job.”

It appears as though Jackie Fulford will not have to face the allegations of “pattern of misconduct” that may have hurt or help the outcome of case to that she was under investigation for having imposed.

Will the Florida Bar go after Jackie Fulford’s law license—considering an attorney stated that he was in “fear” in the presence of Jackie Fulford’s courtroom?

As the country attempts in so many ways to bridge gaps between races—the Florida Bar does not fall short of showing what direction their plans fall.




Leon County Sheriff with Criminal Past Leads Hunt For Juveniles; Kids Are Not Safe in Tallahassee

Tallahassee, FL—According to Tallahassee’s news outlet WTXL, Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood called a recent anti-gang operation a “success.” In the WTXL online article entitled, “Leon County Deputies Arrest 58 People During Anti-Gang Operation,” states in part, “As a result of working with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, juvenile curfew and probation was conducted. These checks resulted in the arrest of a Hit Squad gang member who is the primary suspect in a drive-by shooting.”

Citizens of Leon County should be demanding to know why a gang member who is the primary suspect in a drive-by shooting was apprehended as the result of an anti-gang operation through the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, juvenile curfew and probation. All juveniles under the supervision of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice must check in with their probation officer. A juvenile being the primary suspect in a drive-by shooting has a mother and a father. The Department of Juvenile Justice is not designed to just work with law enforcement agencies—the Department of Juvenile Justice also works with families. Citizens of Leon County should be outraged with Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood.

Law enforcement agencies across the United States are seeking ways to build bridges between their agencies and the communities that they have sworn to protect and serve. Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood, an appointee of Governor Rick Scott, was busted with drugs as a teen. Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood’s family connection with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office afforded him the ability to get his teen life on track and serve with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office for over 25 years as a certified law enforcement officer. After the death of Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell in December of 2014, Governor Rick Scott first appointed Robert Swearingen as Leon County Sheriff. Mike Wood had retired out of the D.R.O.P program. It was quickly announced that Governor Rick Scott was appointing Mike Wood. Not very many kids who are affiliated with drugs have a close family connection with a law enforcement agency as Mike Wood did when he was a teen. Have been in possession of narcotics as a teen, Sheriff Mike Wood should know the importance of going after the adults who put guns and drugs in the hands of children. Going to homes and arresting juveniles is traumatizing for other little children that may be in the home. How does inflicting trauma on a child help to build a bridge between law enforcement and the community? How many of the juveniles that were arrested as a result of Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood’s anti-gang operation are going to get a second chance or a third chance? Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood is a criminal. Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood is the remnant of the late Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell—kids in Leon County were NOT SAFE when Larry Campbell was the sheriff and they ARE NOT SAFE NOW!

According to WCTV news article entitled, “LCSO Anti-Gang Operation Leads to 58 Arrests in 8 Weeks,” State Attorney Willie Meggs, who has been the state attorney in Leon County and five other surrounding counties for more than 30 years, states, “It’s a sad, sad thing when you look in some of these communities where these gangs operate; where the people, good people that live there do not feel comfortable stepping out on their front porch or having their children play in the yard. We just don’t need to have that in our community.” Willie Meggs further states, “The gangs and drug dealers are not going to take over our community.”

Fortunately, the citizens of Leon County and the five other surrounding counties will not have to worry about the dictatorship rule that Meggs has held them under for more than 30 years. Represent.Us reported in November 2014, sixty-percent of Tallahassee citizens voted to enact an Anti-Corruption Amendment. The citizens voted for the Amendment for a reason—a “great” reason. Citizens of Tallahassee are SICK OF THE CORRUPTION. State Attorney Willie Meggs’ Office has REPEATEDLY used convicted criminals as KEY witness to score convictions against other inmates in the Leon County Jail. Which is probably why Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell did not announce the use of combating gang members and drug dealers as his platform to run for Second Judicial State Attorney in 2016 (Willie Meggs is not running for re-election).

In August 2012, State Attorney Willie Meggs announced the additional charge of Solicitation to Commit 1st Degree Murder against juvenile defendant DeShon Thomas. DeShon Thomas, under INNOCENCE pleas, had been in the Leon County Jail for nearly two years awaiting trial without any mention of gang activity. DeShon, who was being prosecuted by Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell, the son of then Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell, had plotted with 27-year-old, Dawuan Williams and others to have DeShon charged with Solicitation to Commit 1st Degree Murder. In May 2012, Dawuan Williams, a previously convicted felon, was arrested in Tifton County, Georgia by the Tifton County Sheriff’s Office and the Southeast Regional Task Force, after fleeing Tallahassee for having committed TWO ARMED BANK ROBBERIES. The banks that Dawuan Williams robbed were the Farmers and Merchants Bank and the SunTrust Bank. Dawuan Williams had Arrest Warrants from the Tallahassee Police Department and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. Prior to Dawuan Williams’ apprehension, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office Release of Public Information naming Dawuan Williams as the suspect for the bank robbery of Farmers and Merchants Bank does NOT mention Dawuan Williams as being a gang member.

In the August 2012, Summary of Offense for Solicitation to Commit 1st Degree Murder and Probable Cause Affidavit drafted by State Attorney Investigator Jason Newlin, Jason Newlin states that Dawuan Williams IS a gang member. Dawuan Williams was released from the Leon County Jail and was provided with financial support by State Attorney Willie Meggs’ office and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell was so DESPERATE to send DeShon Thomas, an INNOCENT CHILD—to prison—that both Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell and State Attorney Investigator Jason Newlin bypassed the federally funded Gang Task Force Unit within the Leon County Sheriff’s Office—and utilized Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy Ronald O’Brien to smuggle contraband into the Leon County Jail.

The Leon County Sheriff’s Office and State Attorney Willie Meggs’ Office are FAR WORSE than the gang members and the drug dealers that they use as KEY witnesses. Both Dawuan Williams and Walter Cole Rayborn were RANKED NUMBER ONE with State Attorney Willie Meggs’ Office. After Dawuan Williams was released from the Leon County Jail on bond, Dawuan Williams missed numerous court appearances without a Warrant ever being issued for his arrest or his having his bond revoked. There was a previously convicted felon, who had been charged with TWO ARMED BANK ROBBERIES free in the community and Judicial Officials in Leon County turned their heads away. Eventually, Dawuan Williams was arrested in Gadsden County for Armed Home Invasion Robbery with Kidnapping, Assault with a Deadly Weapon and more charges.

In July 2015, After Tallahassee Fire Department responded to a fire in an apartment located on Tharpe Street, firefighter discovered two young adult males bound in a bathtub with gunshot wounds to their heads. The two adult males, 22-year-old Lance Love and 21-year-old Cornellius Poole, were murder execution style. Within days, Walter Cole Rayborn was arrested in Gadsden County and charged with Two Counts of 1st Degree Murder and Arson. Walter Cole Rayborn was another one of Assistant State Attorney Jack Campbell and State Attorney Investigator Jason Newlin’s KEY witnesses.

Until there is a SIGNIFICANT change in LEADERSHIP in the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, in the State Attorney’s Office, and in the Leon County Judicial System i.e. county and circuit judges, KIDS ARE NOT SAFE IN TALLAHASSEE.