Jeff Ashton announces run for state attorney

Ashton makes announcement in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. - Jeff Ashton, one of the prosecutors in the Casey Anthony murder trial, officially announced Tuesday that he's running for state attorney.

Ashton, who will run as a Democrat against Orange-Osceola State Attorney Lawson Lamar, made the announcement at a news conference in downtown Orlando.

Ashton, 54, resigned as assistant state attorney last year after spending 30 years as a prosecutor.

The native Floridian, who graduated from the University of Florida, said the office he's seeking has the second lowest conviction rate in the state.

"Half of all the trials that this office presents to juries are dismissed, either by judges outright or by acquittal by juries," Ashton said. 

Ashton said the state attorney's office has wasted the time of law enforcement officers and citizens.

Ashton said the office has made poor choices in deciding which cases should go to trial.  He also cited a lack of expertise in presenting cases that do go to trial.

Ashton cited his experience as a qualification, saying the race shapes up as a prosecutor versus a politician.

"I've tried over 300 cases in my career and handled 10,000 more," Ashton said.

Requests for comment from Lamar's office have thus far gone unanswered.

Former Orlando police Officer Eddie Diaz, who was shot in the line of duty in 2000, introduced Ashton.

Ashton has established a campaign website, electjeffashton.com.

Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.

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