Justice Panel with Ron Davis at UNF

Written by Mark O'Mara on . Posted in Outreach

I’ll be in Jacksonville on Tuesday to meet Ron Davis. Mr. Davis is the father of Jordan Davis who was shot and killed by Michael Dunn in November of 2012. The tragedy made headlines while I was managing the Zimmerman defense, and while these were very different cases, the outrage over the shooting death of an unarmed teen was very similar. I remember reading a compelling article about the shooting in Rolling Stone called A Most American Way to Die, and it contributed to a broader understanding of the issues of race, guns, and justice in our country. I’m very honored to be sharing the stage with Mr. Davis as part of the UNF Distinguished Voices lecture series. If you’re in the Jacksonville area, I hope you’ll attend. We will also be screening 3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets, a documentary about the shooting that will premier on HBO next month.

Find out more about the event at Jacksonville.com»

Acquittals in the Homicide of Mathew Ajibade

Written by Mark O'Mara on . Posted in Advocacy

Sometime in the early hours of January 2nd, 2015, Mathew Ajibade died while strapped to a restraining chair in the Chatham County Detention Center. For months, we’ve fought for answers from authorities in Savannah who went through great lengths to conceal the truth.

Two weeks ago, I sat silently next to Mathew’s cousin Chris in a courtroom -- not in the capacity of a lawyer, but as a victim’s advocate -- and we saw the evidence for the first time. We learned from videos that Mathew struggled with deputies only after they had violently tackled him to the ground. And we learned from graphic video that, while Mathew sat motionless in the restraint chair, he was tased in the groin -- an act I’ve called sadistic torture.

I also learned the disappointment of an anemic verdict -- all officers indicted were acquitted of manslaughter. I have, and always will, respect any jury’s verdict; they are the backbone of our criminal justice system. But the man who tased Mathew while restrained was even acquitted of aggravated assault and will face sentencing only for cruelty for an inmate. I’ve linked to the video of the tasing, but hesitate to recommend that you watch it.

Soon I’ll be able to serve Mathew’s family as a lawyer, not just an advocate, and I won’t have to sit silently in the courtroom.

Is Jared Fogle's Plea Deal Fair?

Written by Mark O'Mara on . Posted in Opinion

In July, authorities raided Jared Fogle's home and confiscated electronic equipment -- part of a broader investigation into the case of Russell Taylor, who had been executive director of the Jared Foundation, and was arrested for child pornography in May.

At the time, federal authorities made it clear that Fogle was not under investigation. Clearly, that position changed.

According to U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler, Fogle has been involved in a "five-year criminal scheme to exploit children." The famed former Subway pitchman is expected to plead guilty to child pornography charges and crossing state lines to pay for sex with minors. As part of his plea deal, Fogle will likely serve between five and 12½ years in prison.

If you think this sentence range seems light, you would be right, especially when you consider there are people serving life sentences for less egregious drug crimes.

Read the rest at CNN.com»