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First Coast Connect

8/25/16: Duval Death Row; The Hague Convention; The 5 Browns

Assistant state attorneys Bernie de la Rionda and Mark Caliel defended their department Thursday against accusations they send too many convicts to death row.

Melissa Ross also spoke to Jacksonville attorney April Greer about the use of the Hague Convention in local courts and we heard from Christopher Heacox, the director of Opening Nights Performing Arts at Florida State University about an upcoming performance by the 5 Browns.

Death penalty in Duval

A new study released this week by the Harvard University “Fair Punishment Project” states Duval County has one of the highest percentage of convicts in the nation sentenced to death. Caliel and de la Rionda defended their records. They told Melissa Ross very few cases have been overturned and the stats provided in the Harvard study don’t paint a complete picture of local death penalty cases.  

Hague Convention

The Hague Convention was created as a civil remedy to international child abduction cases. It’s used to protect children when parents come from different nationalities and cultures. One such case was recently heard in Jacksonville. Melissa Ross spoke with attorney April Greer who won her case for local mom Lauren Jones and son Rui.   

5 Browns at FSU

Florida State University’s Ruby Diamond Concert Hall will host a special performance next Thursday night, featuring five classic Steinway Art Case pianos. Acclaimed classical piano siblings The 5 Browns will perform a free concert, including works by Mozart, Gershwin and Schumann. FSU’s Christopher Heacox joined Ross to talk about the concert and how it came together.

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


Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.