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Business Observer Friday, Jul. 13, 2012 9 years ago

ELECTION 2012: State Attorney 12th Circuit

Long-time local prosecutor Ed Brodsky is facing one-time prosecutor Peter Lombardo to be State Attorney for the 12th Circuit.

Long-time local prosecutor Ed Brodsky is facing one-time prosecutor Peter Lombardo to be State Attorney for the 12th Circuit. Both men emphasize their experience and the need for gang prosecution and going after white-collar criminals. The circuit covers Manatee, Sarasota and DeSoto counties and is responsible for representing the state and the people in prosecuting crimes in the three counties.

Ed Brodsky

Name: Ed Brodsky
Age: 47
Family: Wife of 18 years, Kim Brodsky. Son Evan; daughter, Alexa. 
Hometown: Bradenton
Education:  A.A. in criminal justice from St. Petersburg Jr. College; B.A. in criminology from the University of South Florida; and a law degree from Nova University Law School.
Relevant experience: Currently serving as a prosecutor with 20 years experience, as the office's Chief Assistant State Attorney responsible for overseeing the four offices in the three counties we serve. I have worked in all divisions of the State Attorney's Office.
If you could meet anyone dead or live, who would it be: Abraham Lincoln

What would be your top priorities if elected?
My top priorities as State Attorney will be multiple. To strengthen our gang prosecution, I'll continue to partner with the Office of the Statewide Prosecutor's Office. We must increase the number of prosecutors who specialize in gang prosecution so that we prosecute gang members to the fullest extent of the law and to eradicate all gang violence.
I believe it's also important we specialize in white-collar crime and exploitation of the elderly cases. In Sarasota, I believe Newtown must be a priority as well for the next administration. I was part of a delegation of 12 that traveled to High Point, N.C. to study a model that has been implemented there that has seen a 54% sustained reduction in violent crime over six years. I've spoken to law enforcement about possibly implementing this program in Manatee County.

What changes need to be made in the State Attorney's office?
In implementing my goals on battling gangs, the office will need to continue to implement and expand the number of prosecutors devoted to prosecuting gang members. We need to go after white collar crime and the exploitation of the elderly. In doing so, we'll need to partner more closely with law enforcement during the investigative stages of prosecution to ensure better investigations and prosecutions. We will also not condone any crimes of violence and we must ensure that violent offenders are put away for the maximum amount of time possible. We must also seek maximum sentences for all career or habitual offenders. We must also remaine committed to going after those that sell, deal or traffic in prescription pills or controlled substances.
What cuts would you make if budgeting requires it?
Our prosecutors battling crime in the courtrooms and working side by side with our law enforcement partners are our greatest asset. So, I believe it's vital we do everything to protect our number of prosecutors, currently 72, and increase the number and not allow it to diminish. In order to achieve that, support services and staff must be examined. We currently operate on 2007 funding levels, and I remain committed to providing maximum benefit to our community and being a good steward of tax dollars.
What makes you a better candidate than your opponent? 
I'm the only candidate endorsed by the law enforcement community and who currently serves as a prosecutor with hands on experience prosecuting serious crimes. I have the administrative experience of running an office of 72 prosecutors, with a staff of 150 in four offices covering three counties. I'm the only candidate board certified by the Florida Bar in Criminal Trial.
My job currently entails the supervision of all of our offices, along with budgetary, policy making decisions and the hiring decisions of the office. I am also the only candidate endorsed by the three Sheriffs of the three counties we serve, as well as the Fraternal Order of Police and many retired police chiefs.

Peter Lombardo
Name: Peter J. Lombardo
Age: 52
Family: Wife of 25 years, Maria Lombardo. Sons Peter and Ryan.
Hometown: Norwalk, Conn. Currently lives in Manatee County.
Education: B.A. State Leo College; J.D. St. Thomas University
Relevant experience: Eighteen years as a local prosecutor and five years as owner of Law Office of Peter Lombardo.
If you could meet anyone dead or live, who would it be: Ronald Reagan


What would your top priorities be if elected?
Prosecuting gang members and other violent and habitual felony offenders to the full extent of the law. We also need to start prosecuting white collar crimes and those who prey on the elderly. We also need to get drug treatment to those in need. If someone is arrested for a battery with no injuries and is never convicted of any crime, they are forever barred from getting in our drug court. However, if someone has been convicted of numerous felonies, like burglary or grand theft, they are eligible to get into drug court in the future. That makes no sense and must change.

What changes need to be made in the State Attorney's Office?
We need to have a local prosecutor handle all prosecutions of gang members under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) statute. Right now there are far too few gang members prosecuted under RICO. Assistant statewide prosecutors have tried five cases over the past five years and two of those cases were reversed. We need an experienced prosecutor handling these cases, not prosecutors learning on the job.
Out of the 20 circuits in Florida, our circuit is number 18 in felony trial convictions. That is pathetic. However, in DUI trials, the conviction rate over the past two years is only 44%. These prosecutors need proper training in how to win trials.

What cuts would you make if budgeting requires it?
Stop paying some secretaries $83,000 or more a year. This is more than most of the attorneys and has created a serious morale problem in that office. We also need to have all supervisors handle caseloads. Many supervisors now make well over $100,000 a year and they handle few, if any cases. This will open the way for prosecutors specializing in white collar, gang, elder abuse, and drug distribution cases.

What makes you a better candidate than your opponent?
Our current State Attorney, Earl Moreland, was both a prosecutor and defense attorney before becoming State Attorney. Having extensive experience on both sides of the criminal justice system has made me a better lawyer and will make me a better State Attorney. I have done over 200 jury trials and I am the only candidate with experience in running a business, my law firm. I had a 100% trial conviction rate in murders and sex crimes.
I authorized Florida Statute 92.565 which closed a legal loophole which was allowing confessed sexual offenders to escape prosecution. The law passed unanimously in the Florida House and Senate and was signed into law by Gov. Jeb Bush. Because of this law, hundreds of confessed molesters have been successfully prosecuted and gone to prison instead of staying on our streets molesting countless other women and children.

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