State takes Jacksonville lawyer's computer for a second time in alleged theft ring

June 14, 2013

Three months after they first seized the computer server of a Jacksonville attorney the state has tabbed as a mastermind of an internet gambling theft and money-laundering ring, agents have taken his computers for a second time. But a judge has told police to hold off on looking at the contents until he can determine why the state wanted to see the material again, especially since the state already copied all of the files, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Criminal defense attorneys for Jacksonville attorney Kelly Mathis says the state should not be able to look at the files, which would include trial strategy and other privileged information the state has no business being able to see before the pending trial on money laundering and racketeering charges.

Mathis is one of 57 people charged with diverting funding from a $300 million internet gambling operation that was supposed to be going to charity. Mathis was the attorney for the cafes and has said he was simply advising his clients on the law. The computer issue is critical in this Florida Theft Case because it gets to the heart of the state's power in investigating a case. Police should not be able to just jump in and take files whenever they feel like it - especially when they have already had access to it once.

When Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorneys depose, for example, a police officer about details of an arrest, the attorneys get one shot at the deposition. The attorneys need to make sure they ask every question they want to ask because, unless something changes significantly in the case, the Duval County attorney can depose the witness once and only once. Further, even if the judge agrees the deposition can be reopened the line of questioning is restricted to the new elements of the case. Jacksonville criminal attorneys are not allowed to play catch-up with questions or angles they did not pursue in the original deposition. The state should be held to the same standard in this Jacksonville Theft Case. The court is still sorting through the original 132 boxes of files printed and seized the first time police raided Mathis' law office. Attorneys for Mathis and his firm say many of the documents are protected by the attorney client privilege and should not be subject to review by the state. There are several key decisions remaining regarding evidence that will likely play a major role in how this Jacksonville Theft Case plays out.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County Violent Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.