SAO10 Participates in Local Christmas Parades

State Attorney Brian Haas met with Polk County Sheriff, Grady Judd and members of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office today to discuss the partnership between the two agencies. These meetings take place every few months to keep lines of communication open between PCSO and SAO staff. We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of the PCSO leaders and officers as we work together to keep our community safe.


Book in photo for Shawn Fitzgerald

Shawn Fitzgerald, Former Lakeland High School Teacher, Soccer Coach and Youth Minister, Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for Possession of Child Pornography.

Fitzgerald was arrested by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in November 2020. The investigation revealed that Fitzgerald possessed more than 700 pictures and videos of children, as young as infants, being sexually abused by adults or sexually exploited. The child pornography was located on Fitzgerald’s cell phone in multiple encrypted apps; including one app that was disguised as a calculator. Law enforcement also located a selfie of Fitzgerald, with his genitals exposed, while standing in his classroom. A forensic analysis of his cell phone revealed that Fitzgerald routinely viewed child pornography while going about his daily life, including while teaching, ministering to the youth, coaching and attending field trips.

State Attorney Brian Haas thanks Assistant State Attorney Monica Smith and Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd and his Computer Crimes Unit in ensuring that this sex offender was sentenced to a long-term prison sentence and protecting the youth of our community.


SAO 10 seal with social media logos

SAO Collage from Youth Mock Trial

State Attorney’s Office Youth Mock Trial 2023

The State Attorney’s Office recently hosted its Youth Mock Trial Program. Nine High School students thinking about pursuing careers as attorneys or law enforcement attended our week-long program to learn more about our court system and try some mock cases in a courtroom. In addition to being mentored by a handful of our prosecutors throughout the week, the students spoke to Judge Yancey about a judge’s role in a courtroom, they went on a tour of the holding cells and tunnel with a PCSO Lt. Wiegert, and collected and processed evidence at a mock crime scene put on by Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Pautz.
All of their training led up to a mock trial at the end of the week. Students were given case facts and evidence and formulated their own openings and closings, along with witness examinations. Not only was the week an excellent opportunity for the students to get a first-hand look at how our office functions, it helped a few students confirm that a career as a prosecutor was exactly what they wanted to do with their lives.
We are delighted to have such a positive outcome and look forward to hosting another successful program next year.