First Coast Connect: Nelson Says She’ll Restore Confidence In State Attorney Office

Sep 6, 2016

State attorney-elect Melissa Nelson said Monday the office needs to collaborate with the community to ensure laws are enforced in a fair and equitable manner.

“All of us want to be safe. That’s the first and foremost mission of the state attorney’s office,” she said. “But we have to have faith and confidence that the system is actually fair.

“What I intend to do is be very smart about how we investigate, prosecute and implement punishment.”

Nelson said she often cited on the campaign trail an example of three kids entering a grocery store and committing a theft. One kid has a long police record, another was just hungry and the third is a drug addict. She said the punishment for all three should not be the same.         

Charles Cofer, who defeated sitting Public Defender Matt Shirk, called in to First Coast Connect to congratulate Nelson and said he wants to re-establish communications between the two offices.

“There’s certainly boundaries that have to be respected in an adversarial relationship but I look forward to working with Ms. Nelson so we can have a smooth transition into the new year and have the justice system working properly,” Cofer said.

Cofer is still faces write-in candidate Roland Falcon on the November ballot. If elected, he and Nelson will take office in January.

Producer Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at kmeerschaert@wjct.org, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax