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Democrats call for investigation, suspension of public defender Matt Shirk

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Updated: 8/28/2013 9:48 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Local Democratic leaders are asking the governor to suspend public defender Matt Shirk.

Action News started digging into allegations of misconduct in the public defender's office more than a month ago.

[Story: Action News Investigates Public Defender's Office]

The story then hit newspapers this weekend.

Duval County Democratic Party Chairman Neil Henrichsen issued a statement about Shirk on Tuesday.

"The information coming out in the Florida Times-Union about Public Defender Matt Shirk's office allegedly destroying public documents and engaging in improper employment practices is deeply concerning and a betrayal of the public trust," said Henrichsen. "I call on Governor Scott to suspend Shirk from his public defender duties while an independent investigation by a state attorney outside of Fourth Judicial Circuit is conducted to look into if the law was broken. If the allegations prove to be true, Shirk should resign his position immediately."

"Additionally, the Public Defender is a critical function within the criminal justice system in Florida. If taxpayer funds are being mishandled and there are unlawful practices, citizens are entitled to accountability," said Henrichsen.

Action News asked the governor's office for a statement.  Spokesman John Tupps told Action News, "We're reviewing the matter."

Jackie Schultz, with the governor's office issued this statement:

"The allegations reported by the Florida Times-Union are troubling, and if true, would be inconsistent with the high standards of ethical behavior Governor Scott expects from public officials."
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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

Texas Pete - 8/28/2013 5:26 PM
0 Votes
If this is true, it sounds like Shirk has turned into a Democrat, and by all means fire him.

RFM2009 - 8/28/2013 6:04 AM
0 Votes
...... and analysts wonder why the citizens/taxpayers do not trust Government.
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