Duval County State Attorney Angela Corey is in a tight reelection fight that a recent poll suggests she may be losing. At this juncture, Corey’s main opponent, former Assistant State Attorney Melissa Nelson who, at one point, worked under Corey, is leading Corey by as close to double digits and is reportedly outraising Corey in the crucial money hunt at a rate of more than 2-to-1, according to reports.
And after several recent controversies, including accusations that Corey and her former chief of staff plotted to keep black voters from participating in the upcoming Republican primary for State Attorney, Corey is now defending her office against accusations that her department is unfair to black residents.
Corey has pushed back against the accusations, referring to the institution she oversees as “an ideal system really,” during a recent candidate debate hosted by the D.W. Perkins Bar Association, the association for black attorneys in Jacksonville.
The slate of candidates were asked questions such as whether bond amounts are too high, whether juveniles should be tried as adults, whether the State Attorney’s Office should more aptly reflect the diversity of the community and what can be done to make the criminal justice system fairer.
When a question was posed to the candidates about whether they believed Jacksonville’s court system was as fair to black residents as other Jacksonville citizens, all the candidates said no–except for Corey, according to the Florida Times Union.
“That is not true. … There is no disparity on the basis of race or gender”, said Corey, who then went on to accuse her challengers of pandering to the nearly all-black audience.
From The Florida Times-Union:
Corey said the reason black people think they are treated unfairly by the justice system is due to misinformation by the media, and she even criticized the debate hosts by claiming she had previously offered to speak to the association to set the record straight. “I don’t ever ask what the race of a defendant is when they ask for mitigation. … This is a communication problem and not an actual problem.”
Angela Corey has also been criticized for her failed prosecution of George Zimmerman in the Tryavon Martin murder case, and for the high rate of arrest and incarceration among black men in Duval County.
The primary election is in August.