Note here that there are several instances in which Florida’s Governor and Attorney General approached the Zimmerman case. National Review’s Ian Tuttle outlines the unusual circumstances of Angela Corey’s appointment as prosecutor for the case. Here’s a sampling.
While state attorneys work primarily in their own circuits, they also frequently end up on the move. Because of conflicts of interest, state attorneys recuse themselves, and the governor appoints the state attorney from another circuit to prosecute that particular case. It’s a common practice. But in the Zimmerman case, that procedure seems to have taken an uncommon turn.
Harry Shorstein, the five-term state attorney who preceded Angela Corey, tells me that “in the overwhelming majority of cases, the conflict for the state attorney is obvious”: The person arrested is, or is related to, an employee of the state attorney’s office; persons in the case are politically connected to the attorney; etc. These are the majority of cases, and they are dealt with simply. The state attorney recuses himself with a letter to the governor, and the governor’s general counsel appoints another state attorney to take over. The process is conducted almost always through the general counsel’s office (the governor merely rubber-stamps the executive order), and usually, though not always, the state attorney assigned to the case is from an adjacent circuit.
How common are such assignments? According to the record of executive ordersavailable at Florida governor Rick Scott’s website, there were 157 in 2012. In March 2012, the month that Angela Corey was assigned to the Zimmerman case, there were 19. Of those 19, Zimmerman’s was the only case in which the prosecutor assigned was from a nonadjacent circuit.
Read more here.
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