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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Oct. 25, 201805:20 AM EST

The Marbut Report: State Attorney wins $2.3 million in federal grants

Money extends sexual assault investigation and prosecution.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

The U.S. Department of Justice awarded the Office of the State Attorney for the 4th Judicial Circuit two grants for a total $2.3 million to continue and expand its work on behalf of victims of past sexual assaults.

The State Attorney’s Office will use a $1.5 million grant awarded by the DOJ to continue its investigative and prosecutorial efforts. The award will help maintain a team of assistant state attorneys, investigators, victim advocates and community partners for the next three years.

An $880,933 grant will allow expansion of DNA databases through the collection of lawfully owed DNA from convicted offenders and people who have been arrested. That will allow the State Attorney’s Office and Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to add DNA profiles that could lead to more arrests and prosecutions of violent offenders.

The grants are from the federal Office of Justice Programs for the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, also known as SAKI.

Awards under the program are used to coordinate community responses and ensure just resolutions from previous crimes when tested kits provide new evidence. The State Attorney’s Office and Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office have partnered for the past three years on the initiative.

More than 1,700 kits have been submitted for testing, with the final batch submitted in spring 2017. The results have yielded more than 370 DNA “hits” to date and led to additional investigations. In the past year, tested kits have resulted in two successful prosecutions.

Michael survivors need lawyers

The Florida Bar is asking attorneys practicing in the 4th Judicial Circuit to join a statewide effort to help people who are affected by Hurricane Michael.

Volunteer attorneys who speak English and/or Spanish are needed to staff a legal aid hotline established for residents of 11 counties along the Gulf Coast who can’t afford to pay for an attorney but need help in securing aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or need assistance with landlord-tenant or foreclosure issues, filing insurance claims, dealing with home repair contractors or replacing wills and other legal documents that were lost in the storm.

The hotline is a partnership between The Florida Bar and American Bar Association young lawyers divisions and FEMA.

The service is active 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Attorneys wishing to volunteer may visit to register.

JBA invites K9s for Warriors CEO

Rory Diamond, CEO of K9s For Warriors, will be the keynote speaker Nov. 14 at the Jacksonville Bar Association member luncheon.

Under his leadership, the Jacksonville-based organization has grown into the nation’s largest provider of service dogs for disabled American veterans and has saved hundreds of rescue dogs.

Before joining K9s For Warriors, Diamond was a litigator at two international law firms. He also served as an assistant U.S. attorney specializing in public corruption and financial fraud prosecutions.

He was the briefing director for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and deputy associate director at the White House for President George W. Bush. Diamond was working in the White House on 9/11 and was part of the startup staff for the U.S. Office of Homeland Security.

As a member of the Neptune Beach City Council, Diamond helped enact a law that made “fake” service dogs illegal in Neptune Beach.

The event begins at 11:45 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront. Visit to register for lunch and for 0.5 hour CLE credit pending approval by The Florida Bar.

Legal Briefs

Ashlea Edwards of GrayRobinson in Jacksonville was selected for Leadership Florida’s Connect IX Class. It’s a statewide leadership development program for selectees 39 years and younger who represent diverse industries and professions.

Helen Albee joined Tritt & Associates, focusing on construction and business litigation and general business representation.

Jimerson & Cobb hired attorney Sean Lynch II. He’s a graduate of the University of Florida Levin College of Law and the new associate in the firm’s Business Litigation Department.

Taylor Ward joined Taylor English Duma in Jacksonville as a partner in the real estate practice group.



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