ON THE ISSUES

State Attorney

Ninth Judicial Circuit

AN OPEN LETTER

To the Attorneys, Investigators & Staff of the State Attorney’s Office of the Ninth Judicial Circuit

Ryan's plan for the office and how, together, we're going to turn it around and make it into a place we all know it can be.

RYAN'S VISION

Ryan believes there is no place in our community for violent, repeat offenders. Ryan will bring the full weight of our criminal justice system to those who commit such crimes.

DRIVER LICENSE

SUSPENSIONS

Ryan believes we must find alternatives to Driver License suspensions as punishment. The loss of mobility can lead to a loss of employment, income, and housing. Rather than correcting behavior, this action traps people who make mistakes, particularly our low-income citizens, in a cycle that is difficult to escape.

TREAT ADDICTION AS ADDICTION

Ryan believes prosecutors should do what they can within the law and by using discretion to ensure drug addicts who commit crimes also get treatment and assistance. Minimum mandatory sentences for drug addicts do not serve the community.

PROSECUTORS IN PLACE

Ryan believes a community is best served by prosecutors who know the community, and who the community knows and trusts,  Ryan will establish a Community Prosecution program to embed prosecutors within specific communities. These prosecutors will establish a stronger relationship with  community residents and identify  community public 

safety concerns.

VIOLENT CRIME

See Ryan's Stance First Hand

Visit Ryan's "On The Issues" YouTube Playlist

What are the duties of the State Attorney?

Enforcing The

Law

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What comprises the 9th Judicial Circuit?

Tuesdays

10:00 am

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What are the main concerns of my circuit?

Saturdays

11:30 am

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How can we affect change in the State Attorney's Office?

###   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   ###

 

State Attorney Candidate Ryan Williams Calls for Accountability, Transparency & Trust in Our Criminal Justice System

 

 

June 1, 2020

 

I spent this week like most Americans watching in shock and with outrage as a law enforcement officer murdered yet another black man.  George Floyd, a father of two daughters, was killed while we as a nation are still mourning the death of Ahmaud Arbery, who was gunned down in broad daylight while jogging just a few miles from his home.  This particularly hit home for me as I am a jogger as well, and I have never been confronted, harassed, or assaulted like Mr. Arbery. Ever. 

 

My emotions have gone from shock, to outrage and anger, and then to a sense of sadness as our nation seems to have again failed to deal with the racism that flows from its original sin.  Yet this sadness and outrage I feel as a father, husband, and citizen has given way to a need to act and put forth ideas as a leader in the legal community and a prosecutor seeking to lead the Office of the State Attorney.  

 

It is true no words of mine will bring solace to African Americans rightfully outraged by the sight of yet another black man being killed by law enforcement.  I can’t pretend to know what it is like to be black or brown in America, but I recognize injustice when I see it.  

 

We need actions now—not just words.  Those of us who work in law enforcement have lost the benefit of the doubt.  Even those who have claimed to bring such accountability to the front of their administration have failed to do so.  We have to take bold steps to first shine a light on inequity in our criminal justice system, and then to bring together leaders of all communities, faiths, and colors to address those inequities and communicate effectively with all of our citizens in the event discord breaks out in our community as a result of police misconduct.  Finally, we need to begin to establish lasting relationships between prosecutors in the courtroom, law enforcement, and the community we all serve.  

 

My proposal today is a first step.  I am sure some will say it goes too far while others will say these ideas do not go nearly far enough.  I encourage those with critiques to make them, but also to come forward with their own non-violent, actionable ideas in a constructive way that helps us move forward together rather than sowing further seeds of division.    

 

Our government and laws will stand and function only so long as they have support and credibility with the governed and those subject to them.  Dr. King warned us more than fifty years ago that “riots are the language of the unheard.”  We need to not only start listening but also empowering our community with information that will give them a voice and the power to demand and receive accountability.  I am committed to doing both.  

 

What I propose is a three-prong program based in transparency, community voice, and community relationships:

 

 

(1) Transparency: Tracking All Use of Force in the Ninth Circuit

 

I will partner with law enforcement so that each police agency in Orange and Osceola Counties report every instance of police use of force to the Office of the State Attorney.  The data included will be the location of the use of force, the biographical information of the officer(s) involved, and the demographics of the individual against whom the force was used.  

 

The State Attorney’s Office will then compile this information and make it available to the public on its website and via other communications on a monthly basis, or more regularly if requested.  

 

The Office of the State Attorney will regularly analyze this data, in consultation with law enforcement, to look for trends in the use of such force and to identify specific circumstances or individuals involved to craft solutions to address the trends before they result in tragic ends. 

 

 

(2) Community Voice: Community Crisis Management Team

 

I will create a Community Crisis Management Team (“Team”) to address specific instances of police and citizen interaction deemed capable of causing community discord or, in extreme circumstances, violence.  

 

The goal of the Team will be to create a depository of information that will then communicate that information to the public quickly and efficiently as community leaders to ensure there is oversight of police and prosecutorial work and the free flow of information to affected communities by members of the communities. 

 

The State Attorney will invite the following, non-exclusive list of individuals to participate:

 

 

·       A group of faith leaders consisting of no fewer than 10 and no greater than 20 individuals representing different races and faith denominations from all over the Ninth Judicial Circuit 

·       One elected official and one faith leader from the specific county or municipal jurisdiction in which an incident occurs 

·       The Orange County Mayor or his or her designee

·       The Orlando City Mayor or his or her designee

·       The mayor of each municipality in Orange and Osceola Counties

·       The Sheriff of Orange and Osceola Counties, the Orlando Police Department Chief of Police, and the Kissimmee Police Department Chief of Police

·       The Special Agent in Charge of the Orlando Division of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement

 

 

Any member of the Team may bring any event to the attention of the Team whereupon the Team will meet.  Once the incident is brought to the Team’s attention, the applicable law enforcement agency’s leader and the State Attorney shall gather all available information to be presented to the Team within 24 hours of the notification.

 

Following the presentation, the Team will brief the community with a verbal and/or written statement that addresses:

 

1.     The information known at the time, subject to agreement by the Team that facts whose disclosure would jeopardize an investigation will remain under seal by the group. 

2.     The information not known but that must be known before arrest and prosecutorial decisions are made

3.     The ongoing efforts, without jeopardizing the investigation, to complete the investigation and a timeline for doing so.  

4.     Briefings will then occur each 48 hours, at the longest, until an arrest or prosecutorial decision is, though such briefings may occur more regularly at the request of at least half of the Team’s members.  

5.     If at any point a member of the Team disagrees with the Team’s decision-making, he or she may write that disagreement and document the date and time it was made.  These written disagreements will be kept and released to the public at such time an arrest or prosecutorial decision is made.   

 

(3) Community Relationships: Prosecutors in Place Program

 

Closer ties create closer trust. Constant transitioning of cases and prosecutors do not help create the familiarity and trust needed between the State Attorney’s office and community.  There needs to be a knowledge and first name-basis connection between these prosecutors and the community in which they work. 

 

I will establish, within six (6) months of taking office, the initial jurisdiction in which the “prosecutor in place” program will begin.  In that time frame, the Office of the State Attorney will gather crime and use of force data to identify the jurisdiction most in need of a prosecutor who will work out of the chosen, local law enforcement jurisdiction and be responsible for prosecution of all crimes committed within it. I will work with community and faith-based leaders to implement this program. 

 

The goal of this program is to establish meaningful ties between prosecutors and community members most affected by crime in order to both reduce crime and establish relationships, and eventually strengthen trust between law enforcement, the community, and the Office of the State Attorney.  


These proposals are a start, but they will not be the end. I am committed to building trust in our community, but to do that I know that first and foremost I must commit to building accountability. I promise to do that, and I ask that you hold me to my promise. 

What are the duties of the State Attorney?

The State Attorney represents the citizens of the Ninth Judicial Circuit in all criminal cases and matters.  The elected State Attorney, and the Assistant State Attorneys he or she appoints, work with the law enforcement agencies within the Ninth Circuit to investigate allegations of criminal conduct, determine if there is sufficient evidence to bring charges, and determine what charges are appropriate.  The State Attorney then files those charges with the court and presents the evidence to the court or a jury.

Though much of what the State Attorney’s Office does occurs in the courtroom, the Office also provides services to victims to help them navigate our justice system.  While the State Attorney’s Office does not represent victims directly and cannot provide legal advice to them, it is charged with the responsibility to see that the rights of victims are protected, that they are advised of the various stages of the prosecution, and given an opportunity to have their opinion considered by the court in any sentencing.

How does a State Attorney impact my community?

Your State Attorney, through the establishment of charging and prosecution policies, plays a significant role in just how safe your community is. A State Attorney will review the evidence of each particular case and make sentencing recommendations that can mean the difference between a citizen charged and then convicted of a crime either receiving probation or imprisonment. Your State Attorney makes decisions on a daily basis that affect the lives of both victims, and the accused, within his or her jurisdiction.

What is a Judicial Circuit?

Until 1973, Florida had more different kinds of trial courts than any state except New York.  A movement developed in the late 1960s to reform this confusing system. As a result, Florida now has a simple, two-tiered trial court system. A temporary exception was the municipal court, which was not abolished until January 1, 1977. Most of these courts in major population areas were abolished on January 1, 1973.

The majority of jury trials in Florida take place before one judge sitting as judge of the circuit court. The circuit courts are sometimes referred to as courts of general jurisdiction, in recognition of the fact that most criminal and civil cases originate at this level.

The Florida Constitution provides that a circuit court shall be established to serve each judicial circuit established by the Legislature, of which there are now twenty. Within each circuit, there may be any number of judges, depending upon the population and caseload of the particular area.

Where does the 9th Judicial Circuit apply to?

The 9th Judicial Circuit is made up of Orange and Osceola Counties.

What is the difference between the Attorney General and the State Attorney

The Florida Attorney General is a state-wide elected cabinet official. A State Attorney is an elected prosecutor representing the interests of the state—the people—in nearly all criminal prosecutions. He or she is elected by the constituents within the judicial circuit which he or she represents, regardless if that is one county, or two, or even three.  The State Attorney is assisted by Assistant State Attorneys who are hired by the office.

1 https://www.flcourts.org/Florida-Courts/Trial-Courts-Circuit

Let's Bring Accountability and Justice To Our Community

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© 2019-2020 Political Advertisement Paid for and Approved by Ryan Williams, Democrat, for State Attorney of the Ninth Judicial Circuit