JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- State Attorney Angela Corey says there's enough information to warrant a review of the Public Defender's Office of the Fourth Judicial Circuit, but it must come from another State Attorney's office.
Matt Shirk is the public defender, and has been the focus of a lengthy Action News investigation into alleged mismanagement and inappropriate behavior in his office.
State Attorney Angela Corey wrote in a letter to Gov. Rick Scott, "Based on these media reports, the relayed information is of sufficient concern to warrant a review."
Corey said the review would normally come from her office, but because it "involves this circuit's Public Defender's Office, there is an inherent conflict which would preclude us from launching such an investigation or review."
Late Wednesday, Rogers Towers, P.A., announced a legal team from the firm has been hired by the Public Defender's Office to "oversee the collection and dissemination of public documents by the news media," said the company in a written statement.
The team will work Pro Bono, and conduct a review of practices and procedures as far back as April 1.
"It is vital that the indigent-accused clients of this office, the taxpayers and everyone residing in the Fourth Judicial Circuit have confIdence in the Office of the Public Defender," said Shirk in a written statement.
"This independent team of highly experienced and distinguished attorneys has been given the job of assisting the office with fulfilling the voluminous public records requests from the media, thoroughly reviewing office practices from April 2013 to date and issuing their unvarnished findings to the PD Office and to the public. Rogers Towers will not be representing me personally or in any other capacity," Shirk added.
Local GOP leaders concerned
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Local Republican leaders are now expressing concerns about what is happening inside the public defender's office run by Matt Shirk.
An Action News investigation is leading to changes inside the office.
And Wednesday, Action News obtained a statement from Rick Hartley, the chairman of the Republican Party of Duval County.
"As Chairman of the Party, I am deeply troubled by the reports from the Public Defender's office," wrote Hartley in a statement to Action News. "I think it is best if we withhold judgment until all the facts are known. My prayers are with the Shirk family in what is a very difficult time."