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Jax Daily Record Friday, Mar. 9, 201806:00 AM EST

Report offers insight into State Attorney’s office

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“A first for the office,” says State Attorney Melissa Nelson.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

The Office of the State Attorney for the 4th Judicial Circuit’s 119 assistant state attorneys and 209 investigators and staff members filed 34,964 cases in 2017.

Melissa Nelson

Those were among the statistics compiled in a 34-page report of the office’s activities.

The report includes statistics related to prosecuting crimes in Clay, Duval and Nassau counties as well as case studies.

The report is “a first for the office,” according to the introduction to the report by State Attorney Melissa Nelson.

The report also says the office filed 27,856 misdemeanor cases, 7,108 felony cases and prosecuted 119 felony cases in 2017.

It includes information about the office’s partnerships with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to reduce gang violence; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to target gun crimes; and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida to prosecute human trafficking cases and heroin/opioid overdose deaths.

Nelson cites the office’s “more thoughtful approaches to our pursuit of justice” since she took office in January 2017, such as increased use of alternative treatment courts.

The report indicates referrals to Adult Drug Court were up 78 percent in 2017 compared to 2016; referrals to Teen Drug Court increased by 51 percent; Mental Health Court referrals increased by 10 percent; and referral to Veterans Treatment Court was up 9 percent.

Nelson also references “our support for giving law enforcement more latitude to issue juvenile civil citations.”

In May, representatives from 22 Northeast Florida law enforcement and juvenile justice agencies and 4th Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Mark Mahon signed a memorandum of understanding to expand the use of juvenile civil citations.

The citations are an alternative to arrest for certain juvenile offenders who commit misdemeanors or violations of municipal law. Issuance of the citations was up 24 percent in 2017.

The office received more than 1,880 records requests from the media and the public in 2017; 1,728 were resolved, according to the report.

Visit sao4th.com to read or download the report.

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