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2nd criminal investigation into Matt Shirk closed; no charges filed

8th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Bill Cervone says he closed case without filing any criminal charges

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A second criminal investigation into former 4th Judicial Circuit Public Defender Matt Shirk has been closed.

In August, 8th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Bill Cervone was appointed to conduct the second criminal investigation into Shirk after an audit raised allegations of excess retirement benefits, misuse of government property, unauthorized disposal of government property and inappropriate seminar attendance.

Cervone has wrapped up his investigation, and in a letter to the governor, State Attorney Melissa Nelson and current public defender Charlie Cofer, says while he found probable cause that Shirk violated the law, he also says there exist arguable defenses.

“As those matters remain pending before the Florida Bar as part of a disciplinary investigation ... against Mr. Shirk, my conclusion is that they are most appropriately handled in that administrative forum,” Cervone said.

Accordingly, Cervone says he closed the case without filing any criminal charges.

Last year, the Florida Ethics Commission fined Shirk $6,000 for what it said was “egregious conduct” while in office.

Shirk served as public defender for one term that was marked by scandal, and in his re-election bid, was soundly defeated by Cofer.