Attorneys fired en masse by a newly elected public defender and state attorney in Jacksonville, Florida, are considering legal action. The incident is igniting a debate about whether employees of these offices should be civil service employees, and whether the position of public defender and state attorney should be appointed rather than elected.
The Fourth Circuit in Florida elected a new state attorney and a new public defender in recent months. Public Defender Matt Shirk and State Attorney Angela Corey, both Republicans, defeated longtime employees of their respective offices.
Shirk fired 10 public defenders on November 21st, and several allege they were fired in retribution for cases where they successfully defended clients.
Corey fired her entire staff, but hired back 80% of attorneys and staffers.
It is common for public defenders, district attorneys and state attorneys to perform a house cleaning when taking office. But there have been several prominent cases in which bias was alleged in the firings.