Our State Attorney’s Office used to have a Centralized Intake Division. This was where a dedicated group of attorneys reviewed police reports and decided which cases were suitable for prosecution based on these reports and sworn statements.
This important process functioned as a partial safeguard against the possibility of different people who committed the same crime experiencing different treatment under the law. In other words, it was one way we ensured similar charges were filed for similar crimes.
Unfortunately, this division no longer exists. Now, as soon as an arrest is made, the case only goes to a single attorney for review. There is no system or standard in place which aims at consistency. While autonomy is essential for prosecutors, consistency is also necessary for proper administration of justice.
As Orange and Osceola State Attorney, one of my top priorities would be to strike the delicate balance between autonomy and consistency. To accomplish this balance, the restoration of Centralized Intake stands as a common-sense starting point.