Ms. Richardson, we need a ruling on your experience, please

When will Monique Richardson clarify her credentials? When will the accuracy about her actual legal experience start to matter to her and her campaign?

Apparently not soon. While Richardson is very active on social media, she hasn’t touched this issue at all.  Since my Facebook question to her a week ago, and my bLAWgger post on Saturday, no response. I know she knows about both. I guess it doesn’t matter to her that there are questions to be answered.

First, take a look at this:

Compare the facts of this article about a Miami campaign lawsuit to the facts in my bLAWg post of last Saturday.  Judicial candidate says she was a prosecutor when in fact she was not:

Del Rey has also billed herself as a former prosecutor, but records show she hadn’t been sworn in as a lawyer yet while working briefly as “legal trainee” at the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office in 2005. The office lists her as having been terminated, although she insists she sent in a timely resignation letter — which cited a grueling work schedule as her reason for leaving.

I’ve checked her website and some social media posts. As of this morning (Wedneaday, August 24), Richardson still has not clarified that “during her 15-year career as an attorney” she did NOT work at the State Attorney’s Office. She worked there BEFORE her legal career, as an intern.

There is a difference between being a sworn assistant state attorney (prosecutor) and being an intern.  One is part of a legal career, while the other is part of legal training.  Interns are not yet members of the Bar.  Interns must be at all times supervised.  Interns usually only work in the county court misdemeanor division, handling a limited amount of select DUI and misdemeanor cases.  In other words, it’s a significant difference that matters.  Especially when you are running for judge and want to tout that valuable “former prosecutor” experience.

(Again, I strongly believe internships are a valuable part of legal education.)

Her supporters have told me “she never said she was a prosecutor!”  No, not directly. But she sure as heck has stuff out there that could lead people assume she was one.  It’s no different that someone saying “I worked at the White House” – which could be interpreted as having been an important aide to the president…when in acutality the person worked in the mail room. Or “I was with the Atlanta Braves” – you might think one was a player when one was really a trainer or front-office executive. 

Richardson has also not clarified how many times she took the Bar exam, or details of her self-proclaimed “significant” trial experience.

Accuracy matters.  Transparency matters. Not making improper insinuations – it matters. Not forcing people to assume -it matters. Not asking voters to guess – it matters.  Richardson cannot ignore this issue.

So, the voters of Leon County need a ruling from the judicial candidate, in the form of her campaign website, on social media, or a response to me:

  1. Were you an intern or an assistant state attorney?
  2. How many times did you take the Florida bar exam?
  3. How many jury trials have you been involved in, and what was your part (did it all, was 1st chair, was 2d chair to another attorney, etc) and what parts of the trials did you personally do (opening, closing, etc)?

And so I am accurate and transparent: I support and have donated to incumbent Judge J. Layne Smith, Ms. Richardson’s opponent.

Author: Joe Bodiford

Tallahassee criminal defense attorney. Florida Bar Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer, Nationally Board Certified in Criminal Trial Advocacy, and AV* rated by Martindale-Hubbell. Former adjunct professor of law and co-director of the Trial Team at Florida State University College of Law; former adjunct professor of law at Stetson University College of Law (Florida criminal procedure, Trial Advocacy). Curator of Advocacy Underground. Practicing in the area of State and Federal Criminal Trial and Appeals. Visit us at!