APPLEYARD GAME

My four children and I are living in Tallahassee, Florida, approximately two hundred sixty-seven miles northwest from our hometown. I’m a single black mother who is making the many necessary personal and financial sacrifices to ensure that my children are well cared for and educated. Though my children challenge me—sometimes for the better and sometimes for the ugly—I’m forever their “Mama”. A survivor of hardships (long before I became a mother), I learned that holding people accountable for their misdeeds is truth to positive outcomes, no matter who they are.

When one of my sons, a minor child, is charged with two murders, there is no question that detectives with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office committed a humongous misdeed. I did not abandon my son, as some detectives tried to convince me to do. I hired an attorney to represent him.

Tens of thousands of dollars left my hands and went directly into the hands of Gregory James Cummings, an attorney whose office is in Tallahassee, just a few blocks away from the Florida Bar Association’s headquarters. Mr. Cummings’ blueprint of the defense that he promised to use never entered Leon County Clerk of Court records. The excuse Mr. Cummings told me as to why he could not depose the one and only star witness against my son for prosecutors working under Florida’s 2nd Judicial Circuit State Attorney Willie Meggs, is unbelievable. Complaints my son and I file against Mr. Cummings with the Florida Bar, fall by the wayside. The Bars’s position is ridiculously dark—it’s immoral, unethical, and illegal.

Surprisingly, the Florida Bar automatically joins with other state agencies to allow attorneys on my sons case to practice so far out of the spectrum of law—that every moral attorney can demand their Bar membership dues to be fully reimbursed. And every student with a Juris Doctorate degree from Florida State University and every student with a Paralegal Studies degree from Tallahassee Community College can demand refunds for their tuition costs.