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Deborah Barra’s position within state attorney’s office eliminated after election

Barra reassigned to post-conviction unit

Deborah Barra
Deborah Barra

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – After her failed bid to get elected as the next state attorney of Orange and Osceola counties, Deborah Barra’s position within the office has been eliminated and she’s instead been reassigned to the post-conviction unit.

State Attorney Aramis Ayala, who did not seek re-election, released a statement Monday saying that her office would no longer have a chief assistant state attorney.

“The success of any team depends on all team members being fully committed to a single vision and avoiding being a distraction to the work of the office. It was evident through statements made during the campaign that Ms. Barra and I have fundamental differences as it relates to how the office operates and our overall vision for the office,” Ayala said.

Barra’s former chief assistant state attorney responsibilities will be given to three other assistant state attorneys.

“Kelly Hicks will continue to work with new attorney hires and provide training, manage any trial-related issues that may arise between our office and other partner agencies and work directly with me as we continue to transition the office post-COVID. Mark Wixtrom will field policy questions and manage day-to-day interactions with Assistant State Attorneys in my office. Linda Drane Burdick will oversee the review of Use of Force investigations and will keep me informed and briefed,” Ayala wrote in a statement.

Barra was one of four Democratic candidates seeking to replace Ayala next year as Orange-Osceola State Attorney. She was eliminated in the primary election earlier this month after Monique Worrell was declared the winner with 43% of the vote.

Barra’s campaign website has since been taken down, but it listed her as having experience as a trial unit director, homicide prosecutor and section leader of the special victims unit. She wrote that if elected, her goal would be to prosecute the guilty while protecting the innocent and creating diversion programs for non-violent offenders.

Ayala initially endorsed Barra but then in late July she withdrew that support and instead publicly endorses Worrell.

Although Worrell will still need to face off against a no party affiliate candidate in November, the Orange County supervisor of elections noted that a candidate is “very, very likely” to win big in November if they moved on from the primary election.