Jacksonville Public Defender's Office

Fourth Judicial Circuit Public Defender Race Heats Up

May 16, 2016
news4jax.com

Republican public defender candidate Charles Cofer criticized the incumbent today for what he called poor leadership.

We speak with retired County Judge Charles Cofer about his decision to run for the office of public defender. Current Public Defender Matt Shirk has yet to announce if he will run for a third term.


Embattled Jacksonville Public Defender Matthew Shirk is being asked to resign by a local party head, following published reports in which he admitted to drinking in his city office and violating other policies.

Duval County Democratic Party Chairman Neil Henrichsen is calling for Shirk's "immediate resignation," calling the prosecutor "scandal-ridden."

"It is clear that he must resign his public position immediately to restore good government and public trust to the Public Defender’s Office,” Henrichsen said in a statement.

Welcome to WJCT First Read, your daily weekday morning round-up of stories from the First Coast, around Florida, and across the country. We'll also preview some of WJCT's upcoming news programming.

Sheriff gets funding restored in Jax budget: At the second of three hearings scheduled to finish budget negotiations this week, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office had $27 million in funding restored, avoiding officer layoffs. 

Officials in the office of Florida Governor Rick Scott say they have started the process of determining who will act as a special prosecutor to investigate allegations of professional misconduct in the office of Jacksonville Public Defender Matthew Shirk.

The move comes after State Attorney Angela Corey sent a letter to Scott calling for an investigation, but asking that she be recused.

Welcome to WJCT First Read, your daily weekday morning round-up of stories from the First Coast, around Florida, and across the country. We'll also preview some of WJCT's upcoming news programming.

Welcome to WJCT First Read, your daily weekday morning round-up of stories from the First Coast, around Florida, and across the country. We'll also preview some of WJCT's upcoming news programming.

The chairman of the Duval County Democratic Party is calling for Governor Rick Scott to suspend Jacksonville Public Defender Matt Shirk while an independent investigation is conducted looking into recent allegations of professional misconduct and records tampering.

Chairman Neil Henrichsen released a statement this afternoon calling recently publishwed reports by the Florida Times-Union regarding the destruction of public documents, "deeply concerning and a betrayal of the public trust."

Welcome to WJCT First Read, your daily weekday morning round-up of stories from the First Coast, around Florida, and across the country. We'll also preview some of WJCT's upcoming news programming.

Miami Dade AMBER Alert a 'misunderstanding' by motorist: The AMBER alert issued for an abducted girl yesterday afternoon was canceled after police say a motorist thought they saw a man lock the girl in the trunk of a car. The man was her father, and she was not in the trunk. (WCTV Tallahassee)

Welcome to WJCT First Read, your daily weekday morning round-up of stories from the First Coast, around Florida, and across the country. We'll also preview some of WJCT's upcoming news programming.

Today on First Coast Connect, we're on he road at the University of North Florida with guests UNF President John Delaney, student government president Carlo Fassi, authors and UNF psychology professors Tracy Alloway and Ross Alloway, and sports with Cole Pepper.