Monique Worrell, Florida’s second black prosecutor, prepares for office in Orange and Osceola counties after winning the general election.
On election night, Worrell greeted supporters with fist blows, even after a breakdown in Osceola County delayed their victory.
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But now it’s official.
“I’ve spent the last week agreeing to be the prosecutor-elect,” Worrell told News 6.
Worrell wasted no time.
She already works in the 9th district public prosecutor’s office and helps with the Conviction Integrity Unit, which she helped set up.
She says being in the office with current prosecutor Aramis Ayala and having a good relationship makes her transition a lot smoother than the White House transition.
“I’ll have a lot of advice for them about things that work well and things that don’t work well,” said Worrell. “I’ll have the advantage of knowing who all the players are,” she said.
Worrell says she has already met many of the assistant prosecutors in the office and has no plans to clean the house.
“Absolutely not. Why should I do this?” She said. “I am responsible for making this office work and efficient. And why should I get rid of people who are already doing the job I need them to do?” .
But Worrell admits she didn’t speak to Assistant Attorney Deb Barra, who is still working in the office and unsuccessfully ran into her in elementary school.
“She wasn’t one of the people I had a chance to have a conversation with to find out where they are and what their plans are. So that would be a conversation that needs to be had, ”said Worrell.
She says her biggest challenge, and the first thing she needs to address, is the log of the cases due to Covid-19.
The courts have been closed for almost eight months.
“We’re in a place right now where the Covid numbers are rising and not falling,” said Worrell. “So it’s really difficult to say, let’s do our normal business if you have this disease that is really shaking the lives of so many people,” she said.
Judicial systems across the country are trying to figure out how best to move legal proceedings forward.
Worrell says she will assemble a team to find ways to try cases while keeping her lawyer and defendants safe.
“How can we dispose of cases in a way that will bring justice to our communities and how can we review the cases that are imperative to review,” said Worrell.
One position she will add is an Education and Development Director to train new lawyers. She will be sworn into office in January.
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