• 9 Investigates cases thrown out by State Attorney Jeff Ashton


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - 9 Investigates discovered the man Orange and Osceola County voters elected to head the State Attorney's Office is throwing out thousands of felony cases.

    Channel 9's Kenneth Craig has been digging through court records for months and sat down with state attorney Jeff Ashton to ask him why he is passing on so many cases and if he's doing it to get his team a better conviction rate.

    He is the man whose team decides which cases go to trial and which do not.

    His office decided not to file charges on about 60 percent of the 10,000 felony cases received.

    "We were filing cases that were garbage, that we shouldn't be filing," Ashton said.

    At that rate, he's set to surpass the previous administration by 3,000 cases -- cases that include allegations of, robbery, rape and murder.

    He's not apologizing for it.

    "No. Not every victim deserves their day in court. Some of them don't," Ashton said.

    Ashton campaigned on a platform that he wouldn't take on cases his team couldn't win. He hammered former state attorney Lawson Lamar on his low conviction rate and promised to turn that around.

    The former team says it's a slap in the face to both victims and law enforcement.

    "We're revictimizing people that hopefully had some hope of having their day in court," Vose said.

    In the neighboring 18th Circuit in roughly the same time, they've decided to not to file charges on 14 percent of cases, a much small percentage than Ashton's team.

    Among the cases he's passed on was a human trafficking arrest where the victim was allegedly kept a sex slave in a van but she couldn't bring herself to testify.

    "Cases like this, they're very disappointed because they see that justice was not served," Tomas Lares, Chairman of the Greater Orlando Human Trafficking Task Force said.

    "We're not filing cases that we can't prove, we're taking the right kind of cases to trial," Ashton said.

    The State Attorney's Office said there are a lot of reasons they decide not to file charges on cases including bad evidence and victims deciding not to testify.

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    9 Investigates cases thrown out by State Attorney Jeff Ashton