Harsh comments on State Attorney Angela Corey

Some question Angela Corey's ability for re-election

By Scott Johnson - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Since the George Zimmerman verdict came down, a lot of criticism has been leveled against State Attorney Angela Corey. Some have criticized how Corey's staff handled the case.

Channel 4 has been talking to Jacksonville lawyers about whether this harms Corey's ability to run her office or get re-elected.

The statements about Corey have been made all throughout the media, but by far, the harshest and most high profile came from Harvard law professor and prominent lawyer, Allan Dersowitz, when he said Corey should be disbarred.

"I am surprised, I can't imagine a lawyer commenting in this way," said Ann Finnell.

Finnell, who was a public defender for years, and knows Corey well from when they were on opposite sides of criminal cases, said Dershowitz's claims that Corey is highly political and overcharges criminals are over the line.

"It's not unusual for her to act like a politician," said Finnell. "I don't see anything that's political about this. It's not unusual. I think she and her office looked at the facts and they made the decision what to charge and charged highest offense they thought they could prove.

But some say Corey does deserve criticism. Johnson spoke to former State Attorney Harry Shorstein by phone. Corey replaced Shorstein as state attorney. He said, "A lot of us are very concerned and very upset" by Corey's handling of the Zimmerman trial, and other scandals such as the firing of a state IT official who she said leaked information.

But Shorstein wouldn't say much more, saying he's, "concerned things will be held against clients" if he speaks out too strongly, and told Channel 4 that other local attorneys feel that way.

Despite all the criticism, particularly from Dershowitz, Corey has come back swinging.

"It's hard to respond to anyone who yaps in the media without any of the facts," said Corey.

Attorney Gene Nichols said Corey's a tough prosecutor, and despite all the criticism, she will survive politically if she decides to run for state attorney again in 2016.

"She doesn't have a problem standing up to criticism," said Nichols. "We've all criticized her at one time or another, but I don't think this Dershowitz issue is anything that would affect her decision or anyone else's decision to vote for her or not.

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