Five new recruits for the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and Flagler Beach police got a blunt, unfiltered briefing on how to testify in court from Assistant State Attorney Jason Lewis. It was a rare look, witnessed by FlaglerLive, at the dynamic between prosecutors and cops on the usually confidential fringes of court cases, and at how prosecutors prepare, guide and at times admonish police before they take the witness stand, since a cop’s testimony can make or break a case.
It wasn’t that long ago when an all-white jury deciding the fate of a Black man accused of raping a white woman, let alone a white underage girl, would have taken no more than the few minutes necessary to sign the verdict form declaring the man guilty. That’s assuming the man made it to the courthouse in the first place. Those days are over.
The proposal, which was released in May, has spurred opposition from a wide range of groups that argue Death Row inmates are not qualified to represent themselves in the often-complicated proceedings, including many inmates who have mental illnesses.
It’s a fundamental question for this era: Is it possible to find unbiased citizens to serve on a jury in high-profile cases during an age of ubiquitous social media? The dilemma facing the Supreme Court is how prescriptive they want the voir dire process to be. It could issue an opinion requiring lower courts to ask jurors more penetrating questions about their exposure to media accounts in high-profile cases.
Lack of notice to the press — intermediaries for the taxpayers the governor works for — has been a persistent problem for the DeSantis administration, though it’s not a problem specific to him. Other governors have played the same games.
The Fifth District Court of Appeal today ordered Joseph Bova re-tried for murder, 17 months after a jury found Bova guilty and a judge sentenced him to life in prison. The court ruled that Judge Terence Perkins was wrong to deny Bova his right to fire his attorneys and represent himself, no matter how much of a mess Bova would have made for himself.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) ‘s Volusia/Flagler chapter is celebrating the ACLU’s 100th birthday with an essay contest open to all students, with a $500 prize and publication of the winning essay in FlaglerLive.
Circuit Judge Terence Perkins for the second time in five weeks on Tuesday defended his decision to deny Joseph Bova the right to represent himself during his trial on a first-degree murder charge at the end of September. Bova was found guilty and Perkins sentenced him to life in prison. The case is on appeal.
Giving crime victims constitutional rights equal to those of defendants sets up a clash over the accused person’s Sixth Amendment right to due process and the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Circuit Judge Terence Perkins will replace Dennis Craig, who’s headed back to Volusia, becoming the sixth judge in eight years to preside over Flagler County’s felony court.