Florida State Seal followed by Eighth judicial circuit

Prosecution Team

 Heather Jones Chief Assistant State Attorney

Heather Jones
Chief Assistant State Attorney

The role of the Chief Assistant is to act in the absence of the State Attorney. She assists in the oversight of the day to day legal functioning of the attorney staff of the office as well as maintaining a caseload herself, emphasizing cases involving major crimes or crimes of high profile in the community. Her caseload in part is utilized to provide training to the other Assistants in the handling of sophisticated issues and trials. She is also assigned responsibility for any case assignments outside of the Circuit that might be made by the Governor.
The Chief Assistant has responsibility for monitoring attorney performance and completing required reports as directed by the State Attorney for internal use as well as for submission to the legislature and the courts. These reports serve an important role in complying with legislative mandates as to certain types of crimes and in providing data that can be used by the State Attorney and various other segments of the criminal justice community for analysis and planning. The Chief Assistant performs other administrative functions as directed by the State Attorney, such as the planning and preparation of regular In-Service training programs for the attorney staff, law enforcement training, and other responsibilities aimed at improving and maintaining the professional expertise of the attorney staff.

Darry Lloyd Chief Investigator | Public Information Officer<

Darry Lloyd
Chief Investigator | Public Information Officer

The Investigations Division is comprised of a Chief Investigator and five investigators who cover a six-county judicial circuit.
The duties and responsibilities of the investigator include locating witnesses in criminal cases, assist prosecutors in preparing cases for trial, assist local law enforcement agencies on criminal investigative issues, as well as other investigative responsibilities as assigned by the State Attorney.
The Public Information Officer serves as the primary contact for all media inquiry on State Attorney Eighth Judicial Circuit Cases. This office is responsible for making all public statements and official press releases for the office as assigned by the State Attorney. This office also serves as the community outreach coordinator. Attends various community engagements on behalf of the State Attorney. Additionally serves in the investigative function which includes locating witnesses in criminal cases, assist prosecutors in preparing cases for trial, assist local law enforcement agencies on criminal investigative issues, as well as other investigative responsibilities. The media can reach the PIO at lloydd@sao8.org. All other request should be made through (352)374-3670.

Stephanie Klugh Division Chief County Court and Intern Director

Stephanie Klugh
Division Chief County Court and Intern Director

The Alachua County Court Division is responsible for prosecuting all misdemeanor and criminal traffic offenses.

Misdemeanor Prosecutions

Handled by the County Court Division, these offenses include Retail Theft, Battery, Criminal Mischief, Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Without Violence, Possession of Marijuana Less Than 20 Grams, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Prostitution, Animal Abuse, and Truancy, among others. This division also prosecutes criminal violations regulated by the Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Criminal Traffic Prosecution

The misdemeanor traffic unit prosecutes criminal offenses such as Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Driving With License Suspended or Revoked (DWLSR), Leaving the Scene of an Accident, and Willful and Wanton Reckless Driving. Because of the serious danger to the community of DUI drivers, the Traffic Unit is aggressive in the prosecution of these cases and has three experienced attorneys dedicated to this function.

Domestic Violence Prosecution

The misdemeanor domestic violence unit consists of specially-trained attorneys who prosecute domestic offenses such as Domestic Battery, Domestic Assault, Stalking, Violation of Injunctions, and Violation of Pre-Trial Release. Additionally, the domestic violence attorneys play an active role assisting the Circuit Civil Court in prosecuting civil violations of domestic violence injunctions. The domestic violence unit works closely with the office’s victim advocates to provide service and support to victims. The unit also provides specialized services to victims with children.

Alternative Resolution/Diversion Programs

The County Court Division issues and monitors all Deferred Prosecution contracts that are offered to qualified first-time offenders charged with limited minor offenses. Additionally, Mental Health Court is a function of the County Court Division, offering mental health treatment as an alternative to incarceration for persons with diagnosed mental illness. Finally, Criminal Mediation is an alternative resolution program used by County Court in appropriate minor misdemeanor offenses where the parties can effectively agree to their own outcome.

Attorney Training and Development

The majority of the new prosecutors hired by the States Attorney’s Office are assigned to the County Court Division where they receive training and supervision from the Division Chief. Additionally, the County Court Division works closely with the University of Florida Levin College of Law to provide student interns and externs the opportunity to research, prepare and/or try criminal cases under the supervision of the Division's attorneys.

Rebecca Shinholser Division Chief Juvenile

Rebecca Shinholser
Division Chief Juvenile

The Juvenile Division is responsible for prosecuting all criminal cases involving defendants under the age of 18. In Alachua County, the juvenile division houses 3 attorneys dedicated to prosecuting juveniles. There is also a juvenile attorney in each of the 5 outlying counties in this Circuit charged with prosecuting juveniles, as well as their other prosecutorial responsibilities.

While the main concern for the attorneys in Juvenile Division is the safety of our community and our victims, we make every effort to treat each juvenile individually to ensure proper treatment and rehabilitation. For first time offenders that may mean being referred to a diversion program such as Teen Court rather than proceeding through the court system. In other cases, that may require the decision to prosecute the juvenile as an adult.

Restitution in the Juvenile Division is monitored by Project Payback and participation with this program is a condition of probation. Project Payback helps the defendant devise a plan to pay back the money he or she owes to the victim. Another condition of probation for some juveniles is Juvenile Drug Court. This program, created in a partnership with the Office of the State Attorney, the Family Court for the Eighth Judicial Circuit, the Public Defender's Office, the Department of Juvenile Justice and Meridien Behavioral Services, offers intensive group therapy for juveniles with drug problems. This program provides needed treatment to drug dependant teens and will hopefully reduce recidivism.

Brian Rodgers Division Chief Crimes Against Women and Families

Brian Rodgers
Division Chief Crimes Against Women and Families

The Crimes Against Women and Families Division is responsible for prosecuting all criminal cases involving sexual crimes and domestic violence. This unit was developed to provide individual and specialized treatment of these sensitive cases. Eight full time attorneys and an investigator work closely with law enforcement to prosecute these cases vigorously. The unit works in cooperation with our Victim Advocate’s Unit to offer a variety of services and to support the victim during all phases of the prosecution.

The Crimes Against Women and Families Unit primarily prosecutes violent crimes, including, assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another who is or was residing in the same single dwelling unit. Family or household member is defined as spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have resided together at any time.

Debbie Snyder Victim Witness Services Director

Debbie Snyder
Victim Witness Services Director

The Victim Services Division serves victims of crime and survivors throughout the Eighth Circuit. The Division is comprised of a director and ten advocates who provide over 41,000 direct services to crime victims annually. Those services include notification of case status, crisis counseling, follow-up contact, information and referral, criminal justice support, personal advocacy, assistance with crime victim compensation, court accompaniment, and other services to victims. Advocates are located throughout the six counties within the circuit.

In addition, Project Payback, a Juvenile Restitution Program, is also an integral part of the Division. Project Payback is comprised of one case manager as well as UF volunteer interns. Project Payback has been responsible for returning over $700,000 in restitution to victims of juvenile crime.

The Division works closely with advocates from law enforcement agencies, domestic violence shelters, the Child Advocacy Center, sexual assault, hospitals, county social agencies and other community based service providers. The Division receives roughly $270,000 in Federal funding through a Victims of Crimes Act (VOCA) and a VAWA grant to enhance and increase the quality and quantity of Victim services in the Eighth Judicial Circuit.

Regional Office Leadership

Debbie Snyder Division Chief Baker County

Ralph Yazdiya
Division Chief Baker County

Bordering Charleton and Ware Counties in Georgia, Baker County constitutes the northernmost county of the Eighth Judicial Circuit. The Baker County Office is vested with responsibility for prosecution of all criminal cases, including felony, misdemeanor, traffic, and juvenile, that arise within the county.
The Baker County Office currently has two attorneys devoted full-time to the prosecution of criminal cases. One of the prosecutors resides in Baker County and are available on an around-the-clock basis to respond to emergencies and provide legal advice to local law enforcement agencies. In addition the Baker County Office shares an experienced investigator with Bradford County who provides investigative services for the attorneys, assists local law enforcement agencies, and investigates specifically assigned cases. A victim advocate is also assigned to the Baker County Office to assist victims and witnesses throughout the course of their involvement with the criminal justice system.
The vast majority of cases received are referred for prosecution by the Baker County Sheriff's Office, the primary law enforcement agency located within the county. Other referring agencies include the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the Florida Highway Patrol, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations. The Baker County Office also prosecutes cases referred by the Baker County School Board involving parents who fail to send their children to school, and worthless check cases referred directly by the victims of worthless checks.

Luis Bustamate Division Chief Bradford County

Luis Bustamate
Division Chief Bradford County

The Bradford County office prosecutes all crimes occurring in the county and in the cities of Starke, Lawtey, Hampton, Brooker and Graham. This includes all felony, misdemeanor, traffic and juvenile cases. The office is also able to call upon the other prosecution services teams when needed to provide additional prosecution/investigative support in a specific area.
An investigator is assigned to the Bradford County Office with the primary responsibilities of providing assistance to the attorneys prior to and during trials and grand juries, investigating public corruption complaints and assisting local law enforcement agencies.
A victim advocate is also assigned to the office with the responsibility of assisting victims/witnesses through the criminal justice system. This includes locating state and local resources, assisting other agencies and providing education to local agencies in the area of victim/witness rights.

Ray Earl Thomas Division Chief Gilchrist County

Ray Earl Thomas
Division Chief Gilchrist County

Gilchrist County is unique in that this office provides services to residents who live in cities divided by county lines—Branford, shared with Suwannee County, High Springs & Newberry, shared with Alachua County, Fanning Springs, shared with Levy County—and residents who live in Bell & Trenton. The Gilchrist County Office, housed inside the historic Gilchrist County Courthouse, located at 112 N. Main Street, Suite 218 in Trenton, is responsible for prosecuting all criminal cases including felony, misdemeanor, traffic, and juvenile that occur within the county.
The Gilchrist County Office currently has one full-time attorney who resides in Gilchrist County and is available to respond to emergencies and provide legal advice to local law enforcement agencies as needed. In addition, this office shares an experienced victim advocate with Levy County who assists victims and witnesses throughout the course of their involvement with the criminal justice system and an investigator who provides investigative assistance to the attorney, assists local law enforcement agencies, and investigates specifically assigned cases.
The Gilchrist County Office receives referrals for prosecution from the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office, Trenton Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Department of Transportation, Lancaster Correctional Institution, and worthless check victims. Assistance is routinely provided to the Inspector General’s Office and the Department of Juvenile Justice who oversees the supervision of the Juvenile Assessment Center.

Glenn Bryan Division Chief Levy County

Glenn Bryan
Division Chief Levy County

The Levy County Office prosecutes all crimes occurring in Levy County. We handle the cases referred by the Levy County Sheriff’s Department, as well as the Law Enforcement Agencies in the City of Chiefland, City of Williston, City of Cedar Key, the City of Inglis, the Florida Highway Patrol, the Department of Agriculture, the Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission, and the Florida Marine Patrol. We prosecute all felony, misdemeanor, traffic and juvenile cases. We prosecute cases made by the Tri-County Drug Task Force and the multi-jurisdictional drug task force. We prepare the Arrest Warrants and Search Warrants for all local law enforcement agencies.
An investigator is assigned to the Levy County Office and shared with the Gilchrist County Office. The investigator investigates specifically assigned cases such as public corruption complaints and provides assistance to local law enforcement agencies.
We have two Victim Advocates assigned to Levy County with the responsibility of assisting victim/witnesses through the criminal justice system. This includes locating state and local resources, assisting other agencies and education to local agencies in the area of victim/witness rights.

Bruce Helling Division Chief Union County

Bruce Helling
Division Chief Union County

We are located at 103 North Lake Avenue across from the Union County Courthouse in Lake Butler this office prosecutes throughout the county. The cities of Lake Butler, Raiford, Worthington Springs and Providence are spread throughout the primarily rural county. The Union County Sheriff’s Office provides law enforcement service throughout the area and works closely with the State Attorney’s Office to provide a personal touch to victims of all types of crime.
An investigator is assigned as needed form neighboring Bradford County as well as a victim advocate who provides a variety of services ranging from counseling to monetary compensation for victims. Two School Resource deputies and a juvenile justice board provide the office with a personalized input in the prosecution of juvenile cases.
The Union County office also prosecutes and provides legal assistance to three major detention facilities located within the area: Union Correctional Institution, North Florida Reception Center and the Eckerd Youth Camp. Mental Health issues as well as crimes within the facilities themselves are handled through this office. The Union County state attorney’s office provides assistance and acts as a resource to the Department of Corrections, Inspector General’s Office and the Department of Juvenile Justice who staff and supervise the detention facilities.




Prosecution Team Staff

Alachua

Attorneys

Attorneys

Investigators

Victim Advocates

Michael Becker

David Margulies

Benjamin Smith

Michele Barr

Richard Chang

Celeste Ramirez

Jeff Nordberg

Lochlainn Wood

Ashley Chin

Britanee Prince

Dana Richard

Jackie Robinson

Darla Whistler

Arielle Screws

Dontonya Smith

Lisa Taebel

Pamela Gordon

Ryan Nagel

 

Michelle Shank

Jared Ciccarello

Daniel Owen

 

Sydnie Grant

Omar Hechavarria

Marc Peterson

 

Brooke King

Kristin Pickens

 

Scott LaPeer

Anna-Lisa Riley

 

Samantha Spandau

Rae Powers

 

Rogers Walker

Victoria Watson

 

Andrew Fairbanks

Andrew McCain

 

Meredith Poisson

Deborah Rothenberg

 


Baker

Attorneys

Investigators

Victim Advocates

Madison Bechtel

Louis Hinderly

Taliea Schumacher

Jason Caldow

Ryan King



Bradford

Attorneys

Investigators

Victim Advocates

Mark Dobo

Louis Hindery

Julie Martin

Shawn Thompson

Amber Waller

Lua Lepianka



Gilchrist

Investigators

Victim Advocates

Clayton Reiter

Carla Coarsey



Levy

Attorneys

Investigators

Victim Advocates

Lenora Folston

Clayton Reiter

Carla Coarsey

Frank Slavichak

Amanda Martin



Union

Investigators

Victim Advocates

Louis Hindery

Taliea Schumacher