Who is Angela Corey and how did she get picked to prosecute George Zimmerman? The best information suggests that Corey was reliable, as in reliably overly-aggressive and unethical. Interestingly enough, Corey ran for her office as a republican and was appointed by republican governor Rick Scott and republican State Attorney General Pam Bondi. One might think that republicans would be less prone to the corruption that became so evident in the prosecution of George Zimmerman–and the continuing prosecution of Shellie Zimmerman–than Democrats. Unfortunately, it appears that Governor Scott and AG Bondi went wobbly on principle and the law in the onslaught of a DOJ sponsored racial firestorm. They needed George Zimmerman to be prosecuted and convicted regardless of the evidence, and Angela Corey–and her handpicked minions–were more than willing to ignore an almost complete lack of evidence in the pursuit of those needs.
Ian Tuttle at National Review.com provides insight into Corey’s background and performance. The primary lesson? She’s vindictive and ruthless.
Corey, a Jacksonville native, took a degree in marketing from Florida State University before pursuing her J.D. at the University of Florida. She became a Florida prosecutor in 1981 and tried everything from homicides to juvenile cases in the ensuing 26 years. In 2008, Corey was elected state attorney for Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit, taking over from Harry Shorstein — the five-term state attorney who had fired her from his office a year earlier, citing “long-term issues” regarding her supervisory performance.
When Corey came in, she cleaned house. Corey fired half of the office’s investigators, two-fifths of its victim advocates, a quarter of its 35 paralegals, and 48 other support staff — more than one-fifth of the office. Then she sent a letter to Florida’s senators demanding that they oppose Shorstein’s pending nomination as a U.S. attorney. ‘I told them he should not hold a position of authority in his community again, because of his penchant for using the grand jury for personal vendettas,’ she wrote.
I’ve written about her bizarre attempt to get Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz fired for the crime of daring to criticize her terribly unprofessional and arguably illegal affidavit in the Zimmerman case. This was only one incident in a long line of unethical and thin-skinned attacks on anyone daring to criticize her official actions.
Corey knows about personal vendettas. They seem to be her specialty. When Ron Littlepage, a journalist for the Florida Times-Union, wrote a column criticizing her handling of the Christian Fernandez case — in which Corey chose to prosecute a twelve-year-old boy for first-degree murder, who wound up locked in solitary confinement in an adult jail prior to his court date — she ‘fired off a two-page, single-spaced letter on official state-attorney letterhead hinting at lawsuits for libel.’
And that was moderate. When Corey was appointed to handle the Zimmerman case, Talbot ‘Sandy’ D’Alemberte, a former president of both the American Bar Association and Florida State University, criticized the decision: ‘I cannot imagine a worse choice for a prosecutor to serve in the Sanford case. There is nothing in Angela Corey’s background that suits her for the task, and she cannot command the respect of people who care about justice.’ Corey responded by making a public-records request of the university for all e-mails, text messages, and phone messages in which D’Alemberte had mentioned Fernandez. Like Littlepage, D’Alemberte had earlier criticized Corey’s handling of the Fernandez case.
Not many people are willing to cross Corey. A Florida attorney I spoke with declined to go on record because of ‘concerns about retaliation’ — that attorney has pending cases that will require Corey’s cooperation. The attorney mentioned colleagues who have refused to speak to the media for the same reason. And to think: D’Alemberte crossed Corey twice. He should get a medal.
Among the things Dershowitz learned in the aftermath of Corey’s attempt to have him fired was that Corey is infamous in Florida for concealing evidence and overcharging. There is no question she grossly overcharged in the Zimmerman case, in fact, there was virtually no evidence to support any charge, as the jury understood. And I’ve catalogued serial abuses of discovery, including one brought to light by former Corey IT director Ben Kruidbos. In Update 31, I noted Bernie di la Rionda taking Kruidbos to task for not feeling comfortable having a heart to heart chat with Angela Corey about his fears that di la Rionda was illegally withholding evidence from the defense. Kruidbos had more than solid grounds for not trusting Corey–or di la Rionda, for that matter–Corey fired him shortly after the case was given to the jury. Tuttle writes:
Meanwhile, those who speak out against her continue to be mistreated. Ben Kruidbos (pronounced CRIED-boss), the IT director at Corey’s state-attorney office, was fired last week — one month after testifying during the Zimmerman trial that Corey had withheld from defense attorneys evidence obtained from Trayvon Martin’s cell phone. Corey’s office contends that Kruidbos was fired for poor job performance and for leaking personnel records. The termination notice delivered to Kruidbos last Friday read: ‘You have proven to be completely untrustworthy. Because of your deliberate, wilful and unscrupulous actions, you can never again be trusted to step foot in this office.” Less than two months before this letter, Kruidbos had received a raise for “meritorious performance.’
The records in question — Kruidbos maintains he had nothing to do with leaking them — revealed that Corey used $235,000 in taxpayer money to upgrade her pension and that of her co-prosecutor in the Zimmerman case, Bernie de la Rionda. The upgrade was legal, but Harry Shorstein, Corey’s predecessor, had said previously that using taxpayer funds to upgrade pensions was not ‘proper.’
Meanwhile, while Kruidbos has been forced out of the state attorney’s office, the managing director who wrote his termination letter — one Cheryl Peek — remains. In 1990 Peek was fired from the same state attorney’s office by Harry Shorstein’s predecessor, Ed Austin, for jury manipulation. Now, as managing director for that office, she trains lawyers in professional ethics.
Tuttle obviously thinks little of Corey’s ethics:
Since her election, Corey seems to be determinedly purging from the ranks any who cross her and surrounding herself with inferiors whose ethical scruples appear to mirror her own. Meanwhile, those she chooses to victimize — most recently, George Zimmerman — far too often have little recourse.
Di la Rionda, Mantei and Guy would seem to be confirmation of this. Thomas Lifson at The American Thinker notes that Kruidbos is not taking his termination lying down:
A former employee of Florida State Attorney Angela Corey’s office plans to file a whistleblower lawsuit against George Zimmerman’s prosecutors, his attorney told Reuters on Tuesday.
Ben Kruidbos, Corey’s former director of information technology, was fired after testifying at a pre-trial hearing on June 6 that prosecutors failed to turn over potentially embarrassing evidence extracted from Martin’s cell phone to the defense, as required by evidence-sharing laws.
‘We will be filing a whistleblower action in (Florida’s Fourth Judicial District) Circuit Court,’ said Kruidbos’ attorney Wesley White, himself a former prosecutor who was hired by Corey but resigned in December because he disagreed with her prosecutorial priorities. He said the suit will be filed within the next 30 days.
But surely Angela Corey is a great defender of blacks? Not so much, as Lifson explains:
In 2011, she prosecuted a 12 year old boy, Cristian Fernandez, as an adult with every intention of sending him away for life. In a move eerily similar to Corey having George Zimmerman’s wife, Shellie, indicted for perjury, Corey has also prosecuted Fernandez’s mother. This case got the attention of those defenders of the Philadelphia polling places, the New Black Panther Party.
The next year, Corey’s office charged a 31-year old black woman, Marissa Alexander, with attempted murder when she fired a weapon, during an altercation with her ex-husband who was under a restraining order. Alexander is serving a 20-year sentence. The Florida NAACP was not amused.
Beyond these cases, there is the fact that Corey’s office leads the state in prosecuting black juveniles as adults.
In fact she prosecutes black juveniles as adults 20% above the statewide average.
Here are the percentages of black males versus white males transferred into the adult criminal system in Florida as a whole. This includes all judicial circuits, including the 4th judicial circuit:
2006-2007 – 146,950 total juvenile referrals. 4,622 transferred to adult court. Of the above percentages given in relation to those transferred to adult court, 53.3% were black. 24.5% were white.
2007-2008 – 145,539 total juvenile referrals. 4, 907 transferred to adult court. Of the above percentages given in relation to those transferred to adult court, 50.1% were black. 25.7% were white.
2008-2009 – 138,218 total juvenile referrals. 4,393 transferred to adult court. Of the above percentages given in relation to those transferred to adult court, 52.8% were black. 23.4% were white.
2009-2010 – 121,642 total juvenile referrals. 3,694 transferred to adult court. Of the above percentages given in relation to those transferred to adult court, 52.1% were black. 24.2% were white.
2010-2011 – 109,813 total juvenile referrals. 3,061 transferred to adult court. Of the above percentages given in relation to those transferred to adult court, 50.8% were black. 26.1% were white.
Here is the data for Angela Corey’s 4th judicial circuit. Note the considerable increase. Angela Corey took office in the beginning of 2009 and did nothing to decrease the number of black males tried as adults – a trend that started before her and has not ceased. The trend has likely increased for 2011-2012 since juvenile crime referrals in her district of Duval went up, while referrals in the majority of other Florida counties actually went down:
2006-2007 – 8125 total juvenile referrals. Of the above percentages given in relation to those transferred to adult court, 61.7% were black. 31.3% were white.
2007-2008 – 9482 total juvenile referrals. Of the above percentages given in relation to those transferred to adult court, 79.2% were black. 13.8% were white.
2008-2009 – 8911 total juvenile referrals. Of the above percentages given in relation to those transferred to adult court, 71.1% were black. 19.6% were white.
2009-2010 – 6877 total juvenile referrals. Of the above percentages given in relation to those transferred to adult court, 74.4% were black. 16.8% were white.
2010-2011 – 5889 total juvenile referrals. Of the above percentages given in relation to those transferred to adult court, 62.2% were black. 27.8% were white.
Corey pursued George Zimmerman with single-minded zeal. But obviously, she is no champion of what the NAACP and other race-baiting organizations and individuals see as black rights issues. In fact, her judicial district, the 4th, is a majority white district. Redstate offers a possible explanation:
The Zimmerman case appeared as manna from heaven. Corey probably campaigned to get the assignment though I won’t rule out that both Governor Scott and Attorney General Bondi simply showed epic bad judgment to go with their gutlessness. Then Corey went on to use Zimmerman as a means to repair her own image.
The image repair operation explains both her press conference where she boasted of having held a prayer breakfast with the Martin family and her decision to dismiss a grand jury and charge Zimmerman with a crime that was inconsistent with the evidence but in line with what the race pimp community wanted to see. This also explains why her office constantly called Trayvon Martin a “child” and why the child abuse charge was pulled out of Corey’s fourth point of contact at the last minute and why Corey and her minions have fanned out this week disparaging the jury verdict in a variety of media.
Shortly after handing her butt handed to her by a jury on Saturday, the special prosecutor in the Zimmerman trial, Angela Corey, offered up this howler
‘This case has never been about race…’
Of course the case was about race. It was brought about because of race. And Corey took the case because of race.
In all of my years in law enforcement, I saw my share of petty, incompetent and vindictive people, but never did I see such a perfect storm of lack of respect for the rule of law and the Constitution as I saw demonstrated by Angela Corey and the prosecutorial lightweights under her command.
The George Zimmerman trial, and the persecution of Shellie Zimmerman, can easily be understood as the inevitable result of pandering to racists. A republican governor and republican attorney general who should have known better gave up George Zimmerman to a howling, racial mob. They appointed a woman known for her serious ethical lapses, vindictiveness, and terrible legal judgment, and equally for her political ambition, not to conduct a complete, competent investigation, but to do one thing: prosecute George Zimmerman to satisfy a racist mob that can never be satisfied. Even if Zimmerman were convicted, they would still be howling for gun control and the destruction of self-defense laws.
For the pursuit of low and despicable ends, Scott and Bondi chose wisely; Angela Corey was only too happy to give Scott and Bondi what they wanted. Fortunately, Corey came against competent and ethical defense lawyers, and at least some semblance of justice still abides in Florida–no thanks to Angela Corey.