Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Politics

Former Prosecutor Accuses State Attorney Of Wrongdoing

photo__1_.jpg
RHEMA THOMPSON
/

JACKSONVILLE — A former prosecutor in the state attorneys office accuses Angela Corey of withholding information about the medical examiner's mental health from defendants' lawyers.

Wes White, who is now running against Corey to be the state attorney for Florida's 4th judicial circuit, will call for a Department of Justice investigation into his former boss and her office at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

White will also seek an investigation of Duval County Circuit Court Judge John Guy. White said Guy failed to follow the law while serving as a prosecutor under Corey.

In a news release, White said Corey failed to disclose a former medical examiner was mentally incapacitated when she performed autopsies and testified in homicide cases.

"The repeated failure of Corey and Guy to disclose to defense counsel that former Medical Examiner Margaret Arruza suffered from a debilitating memory loss, is a disgrace and a miscarriage of justice. Ultimately, killers may find their way back onto the streets of Jacksonville; nothing can more accurately reflect the utter lack of judgment of the State Attorney and her incompetence to hold the position of chief law enforcement officer."

The allegations were first detailed in Folio Weekly Magazine report that hit newsstands Wednesday.

The report includes an interview with White and a local defense attorney that details depositions both took with former medical examiner Margarita Arruza that suggest she was confused, forgetful and disoriented while answering questions.

White said he brought this to Corey's attention and said she assured him she would tell defense attorneys representing defendants whose cases Arruza would testify in.

White said that didn't happen. Months later, he said he and other assistant state attorneys received an interoffice email stating Margarita Arruza was retiring a new medical examiner had taken her place. White believes the allegations could result in dozens of convictions being overturned.

When Folio asked Corey and her office for comment, a spokesperson told the magazine, "You need to direct all inquiries regarding Arruza to the City of Jacksonville."

Arruza retired from the medical examiner's office at the end of 2010 and Folio's efforts to find her for comment were unsuccessful.

News4Jax received White's email stating his allegations at 2:48 a.m. Wednesday and immediately reached out to the state attorneys office for comment. We have not heard back.