Marissa Alexander case details cause controversy

By Scott Johnson, General assignment reporter, sjohnson@wjxt.com
Published On: Mar 19 2014 09:32:01 PM EDT
Updated On: Mar 20 2014 12:38:49 AM EDT

The letter which State Attorney Angela Corey sent to more than a dozen local legislators immediately became controversial with at least one legislator, Senator Audrey Gibson. Now Channel 4 has learned the Governor's office is asking for the letter.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A letter from State Attorney Angela Corey to local legislators about the Marissa Alexander case has now gained the attention of the Governor's Office.

While the original recipients of the letter concerning Alexander's cases were local legislators, former State Attorney Harry Shorstein thinks it was intended more for the public than politicians.

The State Attorney's Office followed up with a statement, saying the letter had been requested. Now, Shorstein said Corey's office never should have sent the letter in the first place.

"I think it was totally inappropriate," said Shorstein. "From my discussions with lawyers for whom I think the public has greatest respect, the responses were unbelievable, outrageous and according to everyone unethical."

The follow-up statement criticizes media reporting of the case, saying:

"State Attorney Corey has received numerous requests for information about the Marissa Alexander case. Those requests have come from the Governor's Office and local legislators. In fact, State Rep. Mia Jones requested a meeting to discuss the facts of this case before Ms. Alexander's sentencing in 2012. Ms. Corey did meet with Ms. Jones and other local leaders. The facts of this case have been misreported extensively, and due to the media's spread of misinformation, Ms. Corey made the decision to arm our local delegation with the truth."

RELATED: State attorney details Alexander case for lawmakers

Shorstein questions whether the letter was intended only for legislators.

"It was a press release. Whether or not it got to the elected representative is immaterial because when you issue a press release, your intent is to have media distribute it not only to legislators but to the public," said Shorstein.

Channel 4 contacted the Governor's Office to ask why they had requested a copy of the letter. Their response was, "This material had been previously distributed to legislators and others. It was subsequently requested here as well."

When asked to elaborate, the Governor's Office said that was all it had to say.

Channel 4 has talked with some people who think Corey sent the letter to lawmakers as they began debating changes to the "stand your ground" law in case they wanted to use the information.

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