Melissa Nelson won the race for State Attorney race in the Florida Primary election on Tuesday.
Nelson must still defeat write-in candidate Kenny Leigh in the general election before she officially becomes the state-attorney elect, but no write-in candidate has ever been elected to a state attorney position in Florida and Leigh has not raised any money or made any campaign appearances.
John Pfaff, a law professor at Fordham University: "Corey's defeat tonight continues a small-but important-trend of powerful, incumbent prosecutors losing primary elections for being too aggressive".
Nelson was part of the team that in 2013 defended 12-year-old Cristian Fernandez pro bono after Corey prosecuted him as an adult and charged him with the first-degree murder of his 2-year-old half-brother.
Corey isn't the first prosecutor to lose her primary challenge this year. The Florida Times-Union reports that at one point, they were the target of an angry Corey, who refused to speak with their reporters for an entire year while in office. The paper reports that their feud bubbled up again after the incumbent tried to blame Shorstein and Nelson for dropping the death penalty against a convicted murderer who went on to kill another prison inmate. Corey's reign as Florida State Attorney will come to a close the first week of January. Nelson isn't flawless, but her approach to criminal prosecution is far more reasonable than that of Corey. But I know one thing that will never waiver. She even garnered the favor of the National Rifle Association, who were at odds with Corey due to the Zimmerman and Alexander cases. He told the Times-Union in a statement that Corey failed the voters by pushing for the death penalty, disproportionately charging juveniles of color as adults, and that her ouster is a sign of rejection by her community. This was the case for 12-year-old Fernandez, who prosecutors argued had purposely murdered his 2-year-old brother by ramming his head against a bookcase.
Even musician John Legend, who cofounded the criminal justice reform campaign #FreeAmerica weighed in on the Fourth Judicial Circuit State's Attorney's race.
"Prosecutors possess much of the power to end mass incarceration and to make our criminal justice system smarter and more just", Legend said in a written statement. With this power should come the responsibility to carry out their duties with balance, wisdom, and compassion and without prejudice or bias.
"I will figure out what it was about our stellar record that I was not able to communicate to the voters", she said in a concession speech, according to WOKV-TV. The circuit encompasses Duval County and the city of Jacksonville.
Corey, whose eight-year tenure in Florida's Fourth Judicial Circuit Court saw her charge 77 children as adults in 2016 alone and sentence more people to death than any other Florida prosecutor, gained widespread notoriety for her inadequate prosecution of Trayvon Martin's killer, George Zimmerman, and for seeking a 60-year sentence for Marissa Alexander, a domestic violence survivor with three children, for firing a warning shot in the direction of her abusive husband.