Notice of appeal filed in 1st-degree murder conviction of Kimberly Kessler

Kessler sentenced to life in prison for murder of Joleen Cummings

The Department of Corrections released a new mug shot of Kimberly Kessler after she was booked into the Florida Women's Reception Center. (Provided by Florida DOC)

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – A public defender has signed a notice of appeal in the first-degree murder conviction of Kimberly Kessler, who was sentenced to life in prison for the killing of 34-year-old Joleen Cummings.

Notably, first-degree murder convictions are automatically appealed in Florida. Defense attorneys had previously filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied. Grounds for the previous motion could be raised in the appeal of the conviction.

RELATED: Kimberly Kessler transferred to prison after being sentenced to life for murder

The defense says Judge James Daniels made 12 errors in the conduct of the trial, including:

  • Denying repeated defense requests for a new competency hearing for Kessler, who rejected every chance to participate in the trial
  • Denying multiple defense motions to suppress evidence
  • Allowing prosecution testimony that the defense says was hearsay
  • Not allowing the defense to tell the jury methamphetamine was found in Cummings’ purse in jury instructions

Kessler, who has a history of outbursts during trial, was not present for even one day of her murder trial because she repeatedly shouted false claims about a former member of her defense team being related to Cummings.

Kessler was found guilty in December of first-degree murder in the death of the Nassau County mother of three. Kessler was also found guilty of theft because she was seen on surveillance dumping Cummings’ vehicle in a parking lot the night she was last seen alive.