My case taught me that when people are arrested – regular people who have made a mistake, or even who have been falsely accused – they are often presumed guilty by the State.
Just months after my case finished, I started at Florida State University with a newfound interest in law and crime.
I majored in criminology and social science, and as graduation approached, I knew that law school was the best way to put these passions into a career.
Because of my arrest as a teenager, I had to jump through a number of hoops with the Florida Bar to convince them I was worthy of membership. Even though I passed the bar the first time I took it, I was conditionally admitted to practice law because the Florida Bar still held into question my character and fitness all because of my charge from when I was 18 years old. A year later, I was finally fully admitted to practice law.
I started my career at the Public Defender’s Office and seeing the cases that came through the PD’s office reminded me so much of my own journey. It quickly became clear that criminal defense was the best way to stand up to this unjust system.
In September of 2018, I founded my own criminal defense firm right here in Pinellas County, where I was born and raised, to help members of my community defend their rights the same way I was able to defend mine.