Timothy Sullivan: Closing argument in support of Bruce Bartlett for State Attorney

Bartlett, Bruce - 7
Bartlett is 'the best equipped to continue leading the State Attorney’s Office.'

Last month, I authored an opinion piece endorsing Bruce Bartlett for State Attorney in the 6th Judicial Circuit election. In so doing, I pointed out the lack of prosecutorial experience of Allison Ferber Miller and her lack of competence to manage a 400+ person office and a budget that exceeds $40 million.

Also in the editorial, I commented on a social media post in which Miller claimed to have been the victim of an armed robbery as a minor and I questioned the sincerity of her statement that this alleged life-changing event served as a catalyst to her candidacy for State Attorney. Miller had posted one and a half pages from a 1997 police report that listed a “Ferber” (her maiden name) as the victim of an armed robbery and claimed that this report was supporting evidence that she was the “Ferber” that was held at gunpoint.

There were aspects of Miller’s original claims of being held at gunpoint that simply didn’t add up. She commented that she had never previously seen the police report until it had recently been given to her by an individual with the Orlando Police Department.

This statement seemed odd coming from a criminal defense attorney with fifteen years of experience who had been on the campaign trail for over a year. Obtaining a police report is a rather simple task. Most importantly, the partial document published by Miller conveniently failed to provide the portions of the report which provide the first name, gender, or date of birth for the “Ferber” that was the victim of the armed robbery.

Miller has frequently commented that the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office needs a “Conviction Integrity Unit.” The purpose of this newly formed division would be to use some of the limited resources in the State Attorney’s budget to assign lawyers to investigate cases that had previously been resolved through pleas or convictions at trial to search for errors or improprieties in past prosecutions.

State Attorney Bartlett has commented that devoting an entire division to this task is unnecessary where there are leaders and prosecutors on the front end with integrity.

For the reasons set forth above, I decided to conduct a “candidate integrity” investigation of Miller’s claim that she was the “Ferber” referenced in the report that had been held at gunpoint during a robbery when she was fourteen. The Orange County Clerk of Court maintains police reports going back to the 1990s.

These public records are easily accessed online. I was able to locate the full police report, charging document, and state’s witness list relating to the robbery incident in less than fifteen minutes.

In reviewing the police report, I found that the victim “Ferber” was in fact a “James Ferber,” age 47 at the time of the offense (presumably Miller’s father). The witness list appearing on pages four and five of the report provides the names of witnesses and victims who were both inside and outside of the store at the time of the robbery.

This list includes a named eleven-year-old and a named fifteen-year-old as witnesses to the crime.

The report was so thorough that it even listed the name of a seven-month-old infant who had been in the parking lot of the store. Despite these details, nowhere in the police report is candidate Miller listed as either a victim or witness, nor is there any reference to an unnamed fourteen-year-old girl held at gunpoint.

The State Attorney’s Office filed a formal felony criminal charge of armed robbery against the defendant. Miller is not named as a victim in this official pleading. The prosecutor also filed a more inclusive witness list than that which was attached to the initial report.

This filing contained more than twenty witness names including law enforcement officers, civilian witnesses and victims of the offense who had been inside and outside of the store. Miller was not included on this list as a victim, eyewitness or supporting witness associated with this prosecution.

Through a public records request to the Orange County State Attorney’s Office, I also received a copy of its “Case Management System” report relating to the offense. This document lists the names of every individual identified by the State Attorney to be a victim, witness, or party to the incident.

Likewise, the document provides a list of any individual related to the case who had received a subpoena during the prosecution.

Miller is not included anywhere on this official State Attorney document either. The report further provides a factual basis for the prosecution. Neither Miller nor an “unnamed fourteen-year-old female” are listed therein.

Conviction integrity must start with the integrity of the individual leading the State Attorney’s Office. An analysis of every publicly available document, including the full report (not just the 1.5 pages she posted), not only undermines Miller’s claim but appears to refute it.

What we know from Miller’s use of the partial report to intimate that she is the “Ferber” listed in the document is that she is willing to espouse half-truths to advance her position. She strategically published only a portion of the report to convey to the public that the document said something that it did not.

This is exactly the type of unsavory tactic that “Conviction Integrity Units” are designed to identify and eradicate. It is in this respect that I agree with Miller that if she were to be elected as State Attorney, the 6th Judicial Circuit would need such a specialty division.

Former Pinellas/Pasco Public Defender Bob Dillinger served as Miller’s boss for more than a decade. In this race, Dillinger has formally supported Bartlett as “the best equipped to continue leading the State Attorney’s Office.” Dillinger was quoted as saying that Bartlett is “making progressive changes, but he’s still protecting public safety.”

Who would know better about the character, competence, and integrity of the two candidates than the person who had supervised one candidate for most of her career and been an adversary of the other for most of his?

___

Timothy Sullivan is a husband, father and trial lawyer living in Pinellas County. He is the Managing Partner of Russo, Pelletier & Sullivan and is the past president of the Pinellas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Guest Author


20 comments

  • Concerned citizen

    October 6, 2022 at 9:57 am

    Being a defense attorney, you cannot make the claim that you have never received a police report that did not include all witnesses to a crime. I have been a criminal defense attorney for 10 years and often find witnesses that were not interviewed after conducting a thorough investigation. You were not present when this happened. Do you need to interview her father to be satisfied that as a young child she was a victim of a crime? Everyone that knows Allison Miller knows of her integrity and commitment to the safety of our community. What does your statement have to do with keeping our community safe and preventing crime. Why not talk about the actual issues this community faces instead of attacking a victim of a crime. What about the fact the current state attorney, Bruce Bartlett, who was not elected but appointed by Gov. Desantis, stated in a recent debate he “…has trouble hiring minority attorneys because larger firms hire them to fill their quotas.”? Your “closing argument” is nothing but slander. Also, isn’t your wife currently employed at the Pinellas County State Attorney’s office under Mr. Bartlett? Shame on you Mr. Sullivan for not including that very important fact in your bio. Your opinion is hardly unbiased.

  • Irritated Citizen

    October 6, 2022 at 10:47 am

    Wow. If this is how victims of crime are treated at the State Attorney’s Office under Bruce Bartlett, then we need Allison Miller to be our next State Attorney more than ever! No wonder victims of crimes don’t come forward as much as we want them to. Attacking a 14-year-old? Do you feel powerful now?

    Timothy, I am sure a creative defense attorney and former employee of the State Attorney’s Office such as yourself could imagine a scenario where a parent wouldn’t want their child listed on a police report. This is surely, as the commenter above noted, not the first time you have come across this. Allison has always stated her father was with her during this crime. She has also spoke openly about what a traumatic experience this was for her.

    Also equating this with a Conviction Integrity unit is another weak argument; Allison isn’t a defendant here and if anything, your article demonstrates how badly such a unit is needed under the current DeSantis-appointed State Attorney, Mr. Bartlett.

    This is nothing more than pandering to your wife’s boss and the person in charge of distributing “justice” for your private clients.

  • Curious Citizen

    October 6, 2022 at 10:57 am

    Mr. Sullivan, as a seasoned criminal defense attorney, you must be aware that the absence of Ms. Miller’s name from the police report is neither her fault, her responsibility, nor a reflection of her integrity. Must you be reminded that she was a 14 year old minor at the time this crime occurred?

    To all who may read Mr. Sullivan’s opinions on these candidates; please be advised that Mr. Sullivan is a former Pinellas County State Attorney (perhaps this is why he so disfavors a potential Conviction Integrity Unit?) and his wife is currently an employee of the Pinellas County State Attorney’s office under Mr. Bartlett. Further, Mr. Sullivan represents private clients whose cases are currently pending with Mr. Barlett’s office.

  • Sherry Jones

    October 6, 2022 at 1:41 pm

    Pretty alarming that an attorney and supposed professional is willing to jump on the victim blaming band wagon! I think you made the best case of all for Ms Miller.
    I read discovery documents and police reports all the time and witnesses are missing more often than not! Any good attorney knows that.
    It’s one thing to attack and disagree with a candidate, but attacking a person’s personal story as a victim is inappropriate.

  • Me

    October 6, 2022 at 2:01 pm

    Integrity? Mr bartlett forsnt know the first thing. I will show you documents proving false affidavit to punish me for witing a bar complaint against the 6th circuit. He tried to ruin my life!

  • John

    October 6, 2022 at 3:05 pm

    Hey “Me” what does “forsnt” mean ?? Just curious. Bruce Bartlett is the only candidate to support . I think the three “Citizens” who have commented here are all Allison Miller

    • Not Allison Miller

      October 6, 2022 at 6:03 pm

      I think “John” is Tim Sullivan or Bruce Bartlett.

      • John

        October 7, 2022 at 11:29 am

        People are missing the point that Mr. Sullivan is making- and No, I am NOT Mr. Sullivan or Mr. Bartlett- If Allison Miller really was a victim of an armed robbery, would it make sense to be a public defender as your career choice and get people out of jail and back on the streets after committing the same crime that you were allegedly a victim of??No, instead, you would likely try to pursue justice and become a prosecutor after law school- this is common sense. In addition, funny how Allison Miller has never mentioned this and suddenly trying to bring up now for pitty and to try to rebut her previous platform of no bonds and just catch and release as New York and other states are doing- which increases crime- when she was preaching that platform, people weren’t receptive because it doesn’t protect victims of crimes. Allison is simply using this to make people feel bad for her and to make people think that she will defend victims and pursue justice- meanwhile she has NEVER protected victims nor their rights and has done the exact opposite. WAKE UP people. Pinellas and Pasco need to remain safe, not turn into New York or California with horrendous crime everywhere.

  • Shut up Tim

    October 6, 2022 at 6:11 pm

    There’s a thing called class, and Tim obviously has none of it. Imagine being such an absolute scumbag that you would lie about how uncommon it is for police reports to not mention the identities of minors. Imagine being so devoid of human decency and integrity that you can’t muster up the energy to write an article about the merits of the candidates or the policies they are in favor of or opposed to, but you can go on a smear campaign knowing full well you have no proof that Allison is lying. Imagine caring more about your wife keeping her high-paying job at Bruce’s office than you care about accusing a victim of inventing being held at gunpoint decades ago for political points. Tim, you’re a scumbag, your wife is a scumbag, Bruce Bartlett is a scumbag for signing off on this. I sure hope you don’t have children, and if you do I hope for their sake and yours that they are never rightfully frightened for their lives when they run into a Walgreens one night. Make sure you insist their full names be included in the police report and make sure you drag them down to the police station to participate in a lineup so down the road some truly awful human doesn’t accuse them of not being there. You’d think they’d screen these people before letting them print garbage.

  • Unbiased

    October 6, 2022 at 8:08 pm

    I think the first writers above missed Mr. Sullivan’s point. The way I read it, he’s not necessarily attacking a victim but rather showing how a person can use half truths to their advantage. I get this from the part where he stated Ms. Miller claimed that the “Ferber” listed was her, instead of her dad. If she had stated originally that she was left out of the police report instead of asserting that the “Ferber” was her, it would’ve been a different story.

    I’m actually familiar with all parties involved and while I think Ms. Miller is a brilliant defense attorney, I don’t believe she’ll make a great State Attorney. I can’t fathom a person going from ferociously defending the community to now wanting to prosecute that same community, some of which were former clients of hers.

    Since Mr. Bartlett has been the elected State, he’s implemented multiple changes that he didn’t have the power to do in the past and it continued to be given the chance he’ll definitely surpass all our expectations.

    • Unbiased

      October 6, 2022 at 8:12 pm

      And let’s not assume Bruce Bartlett signed off on this article either. I’m sure anyone can write an article in this website. Don’t punish the candidate for something a supporter says.

    • A fact check.

      October 6, 2022 at 9:56 pm

      Mr. Bartlett has not ever been elected by the people. He was appointed by Ron DeSantis following the death of Mr. McCabe.

    • Sick of this shit.

      October 6, 2022 at 10:05 pm

      The reality is that Bruce has been running the show for years. It wasn’t until there was rumor of a challenger that he made any “changes.” The office is decades behind the other circuits in terms of compliance with modern discovery standards, is entirely deficient with data transparency, and is so entirely out of touch with the community that victim’s rights groups are backing the career defense lawyer.

      The best person to fix the problems is the person who is experienced calling out the failures. Allison has made a career out of showing jurors and judges where the SAO has failed. She has the benefit of knowing where they fall short to ensure to sure up the deficiencies.

      Bruce ignores innocence and pursues convictions of convenience over convictions of consequence. He staffs some of the most profoundly lazy and incompetent prosecutors in the state while paying them inflated salaries that double dip from state revenue while doing practically nothing.

      You could find a 5 year lawyer who has never stepped foot in a courtroom who’d be no worse than Bartlett. Miller is better in every calculus and Bruce is running scared with nothing better to attack than this nonsense.

    • Pinellas Voter

      October 7, 2022 at 12:10 am

      Couldn’t agree more with this post. If Ms. Miller knew it was her father in that police report, she intentionally misled the public into believing the “Ferber” mentioned was her when she released only a partial report with a last name only. She now claims to have never been in the police report at all, anywhere, but still the victim of this crime. Minors were actually listed. She has since changed her story up because she clearly cannot prove she was there. Walgreens surveillance from 1997? Good luck with that comment coming from Ms Miller that claims she just recently read the report from nearly 25 years ago. She clearly doesn’t have it or cannot get it or it would be out there to refute these allegations! The hole she is digging keeps getting deeper and deeper. What’s that famous phrase, “lie til’ you die”? The issue with this is that a potential dishonest individual could possibly be elected as State Attorney and that is a scary thought. Someone that will lie for sympathy votes or a need for a good “story to tell” is the last person I would say has integrity. Bruce has been running the position, and noticeably well. He is equipped to do so. Ms. Miller wants so much change but no direct plan of action and no breakdown of how she intends to budget these “specialty units”. Sounds like a typical politician that promises the world and delivers zero. I wouldn’t risk your vote on someone that plays a victim role. How disgraceful to real victims of violence.

      • Tim’s former client

        October 7, 2022 at 6:02 am

        Nice try Tim. Nobody believes this nonsense. You’re just afraid to have to work for a living when you can no longer dupe people like me into paying you for getting into a diversion program I could have applied for myself. You’re a fraud and I hope Allison prosecutes you for all the money you’ve taken from people.

  • Concerned Law-Abiding Citizen

    October 7, 2022 at 11:26 am

    It is obvious that most of these defamatory comments directed at Tim Sullivan are posted by Allison Miler’s supporters who can’t defend the arguments made by Mr Sullivan so they have to attack. After Mr. Sullivan’s first article a lot of Millers’ supporters posted comments saying that it is very easy to obtain a police report and see that Ms. Miller’s claims of a
    crime against her were true even though she only posted two pages of the report. So when Mr. Sullivan obtained and posted the entire report which did not contain Ms. Miller’s name anywhere within the report, people had to attack again. Their argument that Bruce Bartlett was never elected is lame. Bernie McCabe served as State Attorney for 30 years and Bruce Bartlett was the second in command for many years. Out of respect for Mr. McCabe and the job he was doing, Mr. Bartlett had no intention of running against Mr. McCabe. When McCabe died, Governor DeSantis appointed the man most qualified to fill the vacancy, Bruce Bartlett. Secondly, I ask you all to use your common sense in this matter. When initiating her run for State Attorney, Ms. Miller gave her reason for seeking this position as the purported crime against her when she was 14. She said that drove her to go into the practice of law and seek justice. Why then did she choose to become a public defender? If you are so traumatized by a crime against you why would you not choose to become a prosecutor and go after the criminals rather than defend them. It doesn’t make sense. Or does it? Her first choice was actually to run for the top Public Defender position being vacated by her boss, Mr. Dillinger. But he didn’t support her. He supported Bruce Bartlett. So Ms. Miller decided to bring her soft on crime tactics to the state attorney’s office and take care of and support the people committing crimes like she had done for 15 years. If we want to remain a safe community where crime is punished and criminals are kept where they belong, behind bars, then our only choice for State Attorney is Bruce Bartlett.

  • Responding to Shut Up Tim

    October 7, 2022 at 12:33 pm

    To the SHUT UP TIM comment – Calling Mr. Sullivan, his wife and Bruce Bartlett scum bags shows your bias and obvious membership in Ms. Miller’s inner circle and not a citizen concerned about electing the best person for the job. That comment is evidence of your character – not theirs. Also your comment that Mr. Sullivan cares more about his wife’s high paying job than he does about a child subjected to a crime plays the hand of your candidate to clear the office of dedicated prosecutors who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe and fill the office with soft on crime radicals like herself. Law abiding citizens need to see what the plan is if Allison Miller is elected. Her supporters are making it very clear in their comments attempting to defend her.

  • Will the real Tim Shady please shut up.

    October 7, 2022 at 3:53 pm

    How many times is Tim going to pretend to be someone else to defend himself here? It’s funny how blatantly obvious it is that the only supporters of this “article” are obviously written by the author himself. What a joke.

    Defense lawyers aren’t “soft on crime” they’re the constitutional safeguards to protect people from government abuse and overreach precisely because we have to hold prosecutors like Bartlett accountable. We all live here, none of us want crime around our families. We also don’t want law enforcement violating people’s rights.

    Come November 9 this blowhard will be pretending to have always supported Allison Miller as he desperately clings on to his embarrassing lack of talent as a lawyer and hope his firm doesn’t flop because he zealously backed an old horse in a modern race.

    • Not Tim Sullivan

      October 7, 2022 at 4:09 pm

      “Will the real Tim Shady please shut up” – one could say the same for you. Are you Ms. Miller? HA! Look up the evidence of her claims. They have no merit. They are false. She lies. End of story. Only a friend or herself would keep up with this lie. I will not vote for a liar. My vote for Bruce went in today on my mail-in ballot. Vote for Ms. Miller and watch the State Attorney’s office fall apart.

      • Will the real Tim Shady please shut up.

        October 7, 2022 at 6:39 pm

        What lie? She was there. She says so. Her father says so. Any experienced defense lawyer knows exactly how this works. Even bottom feeder traffic lawyers know better.

        She laid out why she’s better for the community in every way and Tim and Bruce could come up with nothing better than to victim bash her. Apparently FloridaPolitic only posts “articles” for people who pay to play but you should read the response Miller’s team put out. She eviscerates the old man and his sycophantic lap dog.

        Nobody should vote for the stuck in the past, double dipping, racist prosecutor who doesn’t see any reason for change in an office that’s failing the community.

Comments are closed.


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