First 100 Days in Office for State Attorney Andrew A. Bain
ORANGE COUNTY, FL – November 17 will mark State Attorney Andrew Bain’s 100-th day in office. His first week on the job, he promised to bring the office back to basics, instill law and order and prosecute based on the rule of law. Since then, State Attorney Bain has taken significant steps to restaff the office, strengthen relationships with community and law enforcement partners, hold violent offenders accountable and keep the communities of Orange and Osceola counties safer. Highlighted below are a few key accomplishments over the last 100 days.
Prosecutor Recruitment and Retention
State Attorney Bain came into office facing a severe staff shortage. Recruiting experienced prosecutors has been a top priority for his administration. Over the past three months, the State Attorney’s office has hired 13 seasoned prosecutors with more than 100 years of combined prosecutorial experience. This includes professionals who returned to serve their community in the Ninth Circuit, demonstrating their dedication to the people and our mission. Many also have experience prosecuting violent crimes and are great mentors for the new assistant state attorneys joining the office.
Rebuilding Public Trust
State Attorney Bain has shifted back to basics, evaluating each unique case based on the facts and according to the law.
“Following the law and doing what is right is not political, but a fundamental principle our society is built on.”
–State Attorney Bain
Every person who has called or emailed asking the office to look at their case has had it reviewed or it is in the process of being reevaluated.
State Attorney Bain has engaged with numerous community organizations, leaders and public safety officials. They have discussed the best ways to collaborate to reduce recidivism and prevent crime in the Ninth Circuit and are working together on several initiatives.
Several community leaders and public officials joined State Attorney Bain during his 100-day press conference including Orange County Sheriff John Mina, Osceola County Sheriff Marco Lopez, Windemere Police Chief David Ogden, Edgewood Police Chief Dean DeSchryver, Adult Literacy League Executive Director Gina Berko Soloman, Eight Waves Children’s Director Chloe Johnson and Board Member Austin Arthur, Recovery Connections of Central Florida President and CEO George Margoles, CareerSource Program Manager Wendell Lowery, UCF Communications Disorder Clinic Faculty Clinical Instructor Carrie Loughran and Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Senior Counsel Nicholas Nunn.
The State Attorney has also attended several community outreach events to foster open dialogue and empower citizens. He is continuing to address community concerns through proactive engagement and responsiveness. All these things work together to rebuild public trust by laying out our goals and sticking to them.
Restoring Law and Order
Several policy changes have been made to hold dangerous offenders accountable and align with Florida law, including the reinstatement of mandatory minimum sentencing for felons who possess guns. Prosecutors have also received training in sentencing enhancements, which are laws designed to protect the public from repeat offenders. A transparent process has been established for use-of-force cases involving law enforcement by convening a grand jury in these cases.
State Attorney Bain created a dedicated special investigator position for the review of Brady material that is exculpatory and must be provided to defendants and their attorneys. This Brady Administrator will conduct administrative or criminal investigations, fulfilling the office’s legal obligation regarding possible law enforcement misconduct. Equal justice under the law means the law is enforced no matter your station in life.
Ensuring Accountability and Rehabilitation
Under Bain’s administration, an emphasis has been placed on victim-centered prosecution and prosecutors have taken just over 100 cases to trial in the last three months. This includes:
- 49 felony cases resulting in a 71% felony conviction rate.
- 100% conviction rate in the five homicide cases taken to trial.
- Four life sentences in four of the homicide cases. Sentencing in the fifth homicide case is set for later in November.
Returning Homicide Division Chief Will Jay provided invaluable insight into the recent high-profile David Tronnes murder trial. As co-counsel, Jay helped Assistant State Attorney Michael Smith secure a guilty verdict and life sentence for the defendant who was convicted of murdering his wife in their Delaney Park home in 2018.
Poppy Avenue Murder Indictments
State Attorney Bain was also successful in getting first-degree murder indictments on all five defendants arrested in a shooting on Poppy Avenue in Orlando earlier this year that left a 6-year-old girl dead. The three juveniles arrested in the case have been charged as adults.
“Her death was a direct result of senseless gang and gun violence,” State Attorney Bain said. “Gang violence will not be tolerated in our community, and we will prosecute those involved to the fullest extent of the law.”
State Attorney Bain believes the time has come to view the criminal justice system as a community issue. He also wants to help youth stay out of the system, especially those who are non-violent offenders.
State Attorney Bain said, “The time for looking at criminal justice as a separate issue that is solved by government entities must end. We must not depend on governmental systems to raise our children.”
The State Attorney has had several meetings with the Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Children and Family Services, the Florida Juvenile Justice Association and faith-based organizations to determine how to hold youth accountable for criminal offenses while also providing them with much needed services to keep them from falling further into the juvenile justice system.
“The correlation between literacy and the criminal justice system is unfortunately strong, and as a society it has long been the thread that will end with a person having a case in my office and later being in prison.”
State Attorney Bain is working to bring literacy tutoring and mentorships to juveniles in the juvenile justice system. He is collaborating with organizations like Eight Waves, Adult Literacy League, Page 15, Verbs and the Communication Disorders Clinic at UCF’s School of Communication Sciences. More details about this collaboration will be released in the coming months.
“Once we identify the root cause of their literacy struggles, we can help them remove the mark of academic failure and they can learn to set goals to be better and choose a productive path in life.”
–State Attorney Bain
There are circumstances when diversion programs may be appropriate for non-violent offenders who pose less risk to the community. State Attorney Bain has been working with non-profits like Operation New Hope, Recovery Connections of Central Florida, Florida Economic Consortium Inc., CareerSource of Central Florida and the Hope Partnership on a Second Chance Program. This pre-trial diversion program will be rolled out in two phases with the first phase tentatively scheduled to begin in December.
Later this month, the Adult Civil Citation Program, run by the State Attorney’s Office, will be expanded and available in Orange and Osceola counties. Eligible adults who commit a qualifying non-violent misdemeanor criminal offense may be able to avoid an arrest record by completing certain intervention and community service obligations.
Juvenile Civil Citation will also be expanded and available in Orange and Osceola Counties. Pretrial diversion is an important avenue for eligible offenders because it keeps them from needlessly entering the criminal justice system. It also allows prosecutors to devote more time and resources to more serious and complex crimes.
Strengthening Law Enforcement Partnerships
Prioritizing collaboration with law enforcement agencies, State Attorney Bain and his team are working closely with local law enforcement leaders to identify and apprehend repeat offenders, thus contributing to a safer community.
Efforts are being made to enhance information sharing among agencies. State Attorney Bain and his staff are in constant contact with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Orlando Police Department, Osceola County Sheriff’s Office and the chiefs of police from the other municipalities in the ninth circuit.
These achievements represent the beginning of the ongoing work State Attorney Bain and his entire team, from attorneys to support staff, victim advocates and investigators are doing to keep our communities safe and ensure justice is served.