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The Office of the State Attorney is committed to transparency and responds to all records requests in a timely manner. If you wish to make a request, you can do so by contacting Paul Sessions, custodian of Public Records, at (863) 534-4844 or by clicking the button to submit a request.

Recent Press Releases

Michael James Smith

JURY VERDICT: Michael James Smith convicted of lewd or lascivious battery

State Attorney Brian Haas announced the conviction of Michael James Smith of lewd or lascivious battery: engaging in sex act with a victim 12-16 years of age.  Smith was convicted by a Polk County Jury after deliberating for just under two hours. Smith who was twenty-five (25) years of age at the time of the […]

Polk County Jury Convicts Gail Nichols on four felony counts of cruelty to animals

State Attorney Brian Haas announced the conviction of Gail Nichols on four felony counts of cruelty to animals.  Nichols was convicted by a Polk County Jury after nearly four hours of deliberations. This case was even more disturbing as Nichols is licensed in the State of Florida as a veterinarian. The charges stemmed from an […]

Freddie Washington

Highlands County Jury Convicts Washington of First Degree Murder

State Attorney Brian Haas announced the conviction of Freddie Washington for first degree murder with a firearm, robbery, aggravated assault and tampering with physical evidence. Washington was convicted by a Highlands County Jury in the October 9, 2016, murder of Aaron Hankerson.  The jury took four and a half hours of deliberations to reach the […]

Gerard Dixon

JURY VERDICT: Auburndale man guilty of raping girl, recording the act

Gerard Dixon raped a 5-year-old girl and recorded the entire incident on his cell phone. After about two hours of deliberation on May 15, a jury convicted Dixon of two counts of sexual battery on a victim less than 12. He is facing mandatory life and will be sentenced on June 28. Assistant State Attorney […]

Jerry Salter Jr.

SENTENCING UPDATE: Tennessee Man receives mandatory life for sexually abusing Polk teen

Before a life sentence was handed down to Jerry Salter Jr., Judge William Sites voiced some of his thoughts regarding the trial and conviction. At Salter’s sentencing hearing on May 17, Sites told Salter that while he was polite and handled himself well throughout the proceedings, it didn’t make him “any less of a monster.” […]

Victor Manns

JURY VERDICT: Bartow man convicted of 2016 murder, is sentenced to life

When Blake Fitez met Victor Manns Jr. to sell him an iPhone, he had no way of knowing the interaction would end in his friend’s murder. Jurors deliberated about two hours on April 24 before finding Manns guilty of first-degree murder, robbery with a firearm, burglary with a firearm, and unlawful use of a two-way […]


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