ORLANDO, Fla. – Orange-Osceola State Attorney Andrew Bain, who Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis installed in the ouster of Monique Worrell, held a news conference Thursday morning in Orlando to announce updates and policy changes after one month on the job.
Speaking at the State Attorney’s Office of the Ninth Circuit, Bain’s main communiqué was of his intent to streamline the SAO’s case management process.
According to him, soon-to-come changes within the SAO’s diversion program and an expected influx of new prosecutors upon next week’s Bar results would help to reduce an alleged backlog in the circuit’s Conviction Integrity Unit and would ensure timely resolutions going forward.
“In the coming weeks, I’ll be announcing the changes to our diversion program that will get us out of the backlog that extends back to November of 2020,” Bain said. “As we hire prosecutors in upcoming weeks, I will continue to assure that we communicate with you all about this ongoing backlog and making sure that we are being held accountable and moving those cases forward.”
Bain also spoke on death penalty and use of force cases, claiming a review of outstanding cases found inconsistencies with how the death penalty was being imposed within the district, without going into greater detail.
“We would assure that if we are going to seek death that is going to be something that’s gonna be fair, balanced and that is going to be transparent in how we’re going to do it,” Bain said.
Concerning use of force cases, Bain said that a large part of his revised policy will be the involvement of a grand jury to ensure community transparency.
“Transparency, again, is critical when it comes to the use of force policy that we are here to talk about today. We’ve revised our policy to ensure that use of force incidents are handled in accordance with the law. A qualified use of force incident typically occurs (in) a situation when law enforcement uses force that could or may cause great bodily injury or death, that requires an independent investigative authority to go out and investigate that incident. We’ve implemented a more transparent process by involving the grand jury in these cases. In the new policy, these cases will be thoroughly reviewed and presented to the grand jury to ensure community transparency and a timely outcome for both victims, law enforcement, families and the community,” Bain said.
When Bain was asked which case would be the first to be brought before a grand jury on his watch, he replied, “It’s going to be the Target case.”
“It’s the only case we have open and it’s been open for over a year, which is an unacceptable timeline,” Bain said. “The policy holds me accountable in bringing those cases to a quick and speedy resolution, all obviously while being fair at the same time, but we have to get these families some closure, we have to get the officers — either they’re going to be prosecuted or they’re going to be back on the street — so we have to move faster in doing that because the delays are kind of problematic for both our community and for public safety.”
Before being brought to a grand jury, officer use of force cases would be handled first by a designated independent investigation agency (IIA), Bain added. A spokesperson for the SAO later clarified that all law enforcement agencies in the Ninth Circuit have designated the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as their IIA.
Therefore, FDLE will be the agency working the (Target) investigation with the support of the SAO.
We believe that this policy moves our community to be more educated on the issue, and will strike a fruitful conversation that will ensure public safety, and save lives by having better community policing.Jason Gunn, communications specialist, Office of Public Affairs, Office of the State Attorney Ninth Judicial Circuit (excerpt, context added)
Watch the news conference again by clicking here.
Get today’s headlines in minutes with Your Florida Daily: