Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Shirk Finds Himself in Familiar Position

Public Defender Matt Shirk finds himself in a familiar position – on the wrong end of a lawsuit.  According to the TU, a former client’s family hired Shirk just after he was elected as Public Defender to defend their son.  Evidently, the family is now suing Shirk because he refused to refund payments made to him after he did minimal work on the son’s case.

My question is why would you take on a new case just after you’re elected as Public Defender, when you know you only have 6 weeks to work on it? 

Of course, I’m still wondering why Shirk’s name and face are still on an Illinois law firm’s webpage?

Filed under: Jacksonville, ,


Yep, that’s right.  It was party time earlier tonight.  And we all know how much Matt Shirk and Angela Corey enjoy a good party.  Wonder if Nelson Cuba was there to guard the door?  Oh, I guess he didn’t have to guard the door – this party was by invitation only.  Ohhhhh, rats!  And I missed it!

Oh, to be a fly on the wall. This evening, from 5-7 p.m. at the Ivy Ultra Bar in downtown Jacksonville, The Law Office of Duke Fagan is sponsoring a meet and greet for the lawyers on staff at both the State Attorney’s and the Public Defender’s office. And it’s OPEN BAR! WOOOOOO!

A press release reads:

“The new year has brought many changes. The Nation has a new President and the Fourth Judicial Circuit has a new State Attorney and a new Public Defender. Along with the executive changes in both offices there has been a consequent change in legal staff. There are new faces in old position and “old” faces in new positions. Thus, it is a good time to bring together both sides of the government funded criminal justice bar to meet the new faces and to renew relationships with the “old” faces.

The Fourth Judicial Circuit of Florida has always been known for professionalism and collegiality among the members of its bar. In furtherance of that spirit, The Law Office of Duke Fagan is sponsoring a social hour for the Public Defenders and the State Attorneys of the Fourth Judicial Circuit. An open bar, hors d’oeuvres, and live music will be provided.

This event is by invitation only … All lawyers employed in the Office of the State Attorney and in the Office of the Public  Defender for the Fourth Judicial Circuit have been invited. ”

I love how they put “old” in quotes in the first paragraph, like people might get confused and think they were talking about the elderly. And, really, considering what good friends Angela Corey and Matt Shirk are, we’re relatively sure the two offices will get along just fine sans cocktail hour. [FLOG]

Filed under: Florida, Jacksonville, , , ,

Isn’t Matt Shirk the Public Defender?

I was doing my usual googling for news when I came across the following website:


And there’s Matt Shirk – on a Bushnell, Illinois law firm’s webpage…with a “Don’t settle for less than you deserve” motto under his picture. 

Now, that’s kind of ironic.

Funny though, I could have sworn he is the Public Defender here in Jacksonville.

Filed under: Florida, Jacksonville, ,

Shirk lets 5 more PDs go

Five more Public Defenders were let go by Matt Shirk.  According to News4jax.com, Shirk let the attorneys go due to budget issues.  But according to PDO water cooler talk, the attorneys were let go due to pictures of donuts posted around the office – which Shirk supposedly thought represented the “hole left in the PDO” from the previous firings.

This is worse (or better, depending on your perspective) than a soap opera.

Filed under: Jacksonville, ,

What Do You Call Your Boss?

The new Public Defender, Matt Shirk, has apparently decided that all of his attorneys should refer to him as “Mister” Shirk.  Interesting choice, since I am not aware of many legal offices that require attorneys to use that term for their boss(es).  For instance, in the State Attorney’s Office, Harry Shorstein did not require his attorneys to call him “Mister”, nor am I aware of Angela Corey requiring her attorneys to address her as “Ms.” Corey.  I don’t think that even Rick Mullaney in the City’s Office of General Counsel requires his attorneys to address him as “Mr.” Mullaney either.  So what gives with Matt Shirk?

If we look at the derivation of the term “Mister”, it is a conventional title of respect for a man, prefixed to the name and to certain official designations according to Dictionary.com.   So maybe Matt wants respect.  Unfortunately, just because someone calls you “Mister”, it doesn’t mean you have their respect.

So I wonder what the punishment is if you fail to call him “Mister”?  Maybe Matt has decided to implement the 2003 rules of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.  If you fail to use the proper title there, the inmates are tossed into “the hole” in solitary confinement.

Will Matt have “enforced” courtesy?  And if so, I wonder what kind of respect he will gain from his attorneys.

Filed under: Jacksonville, ,

Legal blogs weigh in on Matt Shirk and his FOP party

It seems that locals aren’t the only ones who think the apparent “relationship” between Matt Shirk and the Fraternal Order of Police is a little odd.

The Law of Criminal Defense blog by John Wesley Hall Jr. (the NACDL’s original ethics advisor) had this to say:

When the elected Public Defender getting sworn in has a party thrown for him by the Fraternal Order of Police, something is seriously wrong with the Public Defender’s Office. See Jacksonville.com.

The Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police, which supported Shirk in the November election, threw an induction party for him Tuesday night.

While paying lip service to being an adversary, the PD ran for office promising the police that Public Defenders would not question the credibility of police officers.

This will get ugly before it’s over. The systemic problems this creates boggle the mind.

And over at Arbitrary and Capricious (Skelly Wright’s blog), they posted the following:

FL: cops and p.d. sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g

Lest we forget Matt Shirk, another Floridian just elected p.d., John Wesley Hall Jr. at Law of Criminal Defense reminds us:

Jax Public Defender has “induction party” thrown by FOP

When the elected Public Defender getting sworn in has a party thrown for him by the Fraternal Order of Police, something is seriously wrong with the Public Defender’s Office…

Followed by this post a couple of days later that is obviously referencing Shirk …

FL: orderly transition

Odd news out of Sarasota: newly-elected public defender takes office, no employees summarily axed, no police throw a party for the p.d. or search the p.d. premises. From WWSB:

Larry Eger sworn in as Public Defender

For the first time in more than three decades, someone other than Elliot Metcalfe holds the position of 12th Judicial Circuit Public Defender. Republican Larry Eger took his oath of office Friday in Manatee County…

Filed under: Jacksonville, , , , , , ,

The SA and PD Road Tour

Oh, what a warm, fuzzy feeling I got this morning (not!) when I read in the TU that Angela Corey and her family had traveled by bus to the other circuits to be sworn in at each one of them by her good buddy, and former State Attorney, Judge Lance Day.  The word “smarmy” immediately came to my mind.

“It says this is all one community” said Judge Day.  

I’m sorry to break the bad news to his Honor, but no….that’s not what it says.  It takes more than a swearing in ceremony to make a community.  What it really says is the “queen” has started her reign over some grim-faced SAO employees, who have now had her swearing in ceremony crammed down their throats.   

But even over the waves of nausea emerged a worse feeling when I read in that same news article that the new Public Defender, Matt Shirk, had accompanied the new State Attorney on her road tour.  Shirk was sworn in later in the afternoon and then went to his FOP-sponsored soiree. 

What’s wrong with that picture?

Filed under: Jacksonville, , , , ,

A great start for Jaxpolitics thanks to our readers

With 2008 on its way out, everyone is doing a story on their top stories and/or their online numbers.  So we thought we would jump in as well.

Jaxpolitics  began on November 1st, as a site to capture our observations and musings on state and local politics.  In the short time since we began, site views have increased from just over 1,000 views for the month of November to over 4,000 views so far this December (those numbers do not include views by the authors of the site).  That’s quite a feat considering we’re not linked to the Times Union, nor are we linked to Sayfie Review  (although, in all honesty, we would like to be….lol).

Definitely, the top story on Jaxpolitics since the inception of our site has been the election of Matt Shirk as Public Defender – with all of our Shirk posts added together getting nearly 900 views in the month of December alone.  Our November 27th post on considering changing Florida’s system of electing the public defender and state attorney, received over 250 views and is the most viewed post for Jaxpolitics.    Our next highest views went to our Mayport Cruise Terminal and Waste Management no bid contract posts.

On behalf of Jaxpolitics, we want to thank you for visiting our site and for providing comments and insight.  It’s been a great ride so far, and we hope it continues.  All of us here at Jaxpolitics wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.

Filed under: Florida, Florida Legislature, Florida Politics, Jacksonville, Jacksonville City Council, Mayor of Jacksonville, , , , , , , , , , ,

Vote for Matt Shirk? Yes, really.

You know, we’ve gotten such a great response to our Matt Shirk celebration poll, we thought our readers would love the opportunity to vote for Matt Shirk again.  Yes, really.  This time he’s in the running for the 2nd Annual Worst Prosecutor of the Year on The Agitator, Radley Balko’s blog.  

Yes, our own darling, “pretty boy Matt”,  is in the running with 6 heavy-hitters: US Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan,  Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert, Assistant US Attorney Brett Grayson,  Lake County Illinois Prosecutor Michael Mermel, and the Connecticut prosecutors in the Julie Amero case. 

Please help Matt win this prestigious award.  Click on http://www.theagitator.com/2008/12/22/monday-morning-poll-the-2nd-annual-worst-prosecutor-of-the-year-wopoty-award/ and vote in the poll.

Filed under: Jacksonville, , , , , , , , , , ,

RSVP For Face Time with Matt Shirk!

Lest we forget, Matt Shirk has an upcoming party. He’s been “unavailable” for media interviews, but his grand celebration (sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police–go figure!) is upcoming. If you’d like to pose questions to Mr. Shirk (or serve him with a subpoena), call (904) 398-7010 x12 to RSVP or just shoot an e-mail to VHernandez@FOP530.com.

All responses are confidential and will remain anonymous.

UPDATE: Tip of the hat to  http://criminaldefenseblog.blogspot.com/2008/12/speak-up-on-my-poll-harris-county.html for the poll idea.

Filed under: Jacksonville, , ,

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