Justice for George Zimmerman in Florida’s Tuesday voting

Remember Angela Corey?  She is the state's attorney for the Florida 4th Judicial District who had been appointed as special prosecutor in the George Zimmerman case.  As of January, she will be a former state's attorney.  On Tuesday, she lost her primary contest to Melissa Nelson, a former employee of her office who mounted a well funded challenge that included an endorsement by the NRA.  There will be no name on the November ballot opposing Nelson, and she is expected to easily defeat an announced write-in challenger.

Corey had critics across the political spectrum.  In addition to the Zimmerman prosecution, conservatives were unhappy that she prosecuted a 70-year-old veteran who had fired a shot into the ground to scare off the young men harassing his neighbor.  Liberals were unhappy with her insistence on prosecuting offenders as young as 12 as adults.  Many accused her of overcharging her cases.  When such overcharges combined with Florida's mandatory sentencing laws, the results were often unjust.  No elderly man in poor health deserves a 20-year prison sentence for being gallant to a lady in distress when her grandson and his rowdy friends would not vacate her property.

Corey also had a reputation for getting into feuds with other lawyers, including former members of her own office and the media.  She drew pointed criticism from professor Alan Dershowitz for her handling of the Zimmerman case.  Her reaction is instructive as to why Corey is now the rare incumbent state's attorney to get defeated in a contested election.

Shortly after Dershowitz’s criticisms, Harvard Law School’s dean’s office received a phone call. When the dean refused to pick up, Angela Corey spent a half hour demanding of an office-of-communications employee that Dershowitz be fired. According to Dershowitz, Corey threatened to sue Harvard, to try to get him disbarred, and also to sue him for slander and libel. Corey also told the communications employee that she had assigned a state investigator — an employee of the State of Florida, that is — to investigate Dershowitz. “That’s an abuse of office right there,” Dershowitz says.

What happened in the weeks and months that followed was instructive. Dershowitz says that he was flooded with correspondence from people telling him that this is Corey’s well-known M.O. He says numerous sources — lawyers who had sparred with Corey in the courtroom, lawyers who had worked with and for her, and even multiple judges — informed him that Corey has a history of vigorously attacking any and all who criticize her. But it’s worse than that: Correspondents told him that Corey has a history of overcharging and withholding evidence.

Corey's abuse of her office hit the news too late for her to draw any serious challenger in the 2012 election.  Twenty-sixteen was a different story.  This is an instance in which justice delayed is certainly not justice denied.

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