Mark spoke to Action News Jacksonville about the crisis in confidence between minorities and police. Body cameras and independent investigations into police brutality are part of the solution. This interview was part of a visit to University of North Florida as part of the Masters of Advocacy program.
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.
Last year, I had the privilege of reuniting Sarah Markham with her baby boy. If you recall, Sarah Markham is the vegan mom who lost her baby to child protective services after insisting on vegan formula. It took us more than five months to reunite mother and child, and the experience reminded me how broken and dysfunctional the system is. Now I’m embroiled in another high-profile fight, this time to reunite Baby Penelope with her mother, Jesse McCreery. It’s been 9 days since Jesse has seen Penelope -- and it’s not because Jesse has been prohibited from seeing the baby; she has been permitted supervised visits. It is simply because DCF has been unwilling or unable work with the foster parents to coordinate the visits. That is unacceptable and is more criminal than any act Jessica is alleged to have done.
Angela Starke, the Public Information Officer for the Office of State Attorney Jeffrey Ashton, joined the PIOs for several other agencies involved in the criminal justice system for a seminar designed to give members of the local press a refresher on how the system works. Justice stories get more and more coverage these days, and like it or not, reporters have become inextricably entwined with the criminal justice system.
Nearly forty reporters, producers, and news directors came to the State Attorney’s offices for a three-hour presentation that guided the press corp through a hypothetical scenario, and provided pointers for how to deal with each agency involved in the justice system. Along with my Communications Director, I spoke on behalf of defense attorneys and gave reporters some suggestions on how to deal with criminal lawyers, who may find themselves overwhelmed when a high-profile case hits their practice.
It was a great program, and I think it should be reproduced in every media market in the country.
The Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is hosting a panel discussion on Race and the Criminal Justice System. I’ll be joining a distinguished panel moderated by Miami attorney David Rothman. The panel will include:
Marlene Sallo, the Acting Chief of Public Affairs for the United States Commission on Civil Rights;
Don Lemon, noted journalist and anchor of CNN Tonight;
Daryl Parks, prominent civil rights attorney who gained national recognition as an advocate for the family of Trayvon Martin; and
Charles Olgetree, esteemed Harvard law professor and founder of the school’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice.
The discussion is part of the FACDL’s 28th Annual Meeting. It will begin at 11:25 AM on Saturday, June 13th at THE RITZ-CARLTON, KEY BISCAYNE. I hope to see many of you there.