Jeff Ashton, who unsuccessfully prosecuted Florida mother Casey Anthony in a case that ended a year ago today, is trying to oust incumbent Orlando District Attorney Lawson Lamar in an election next month, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Anthony was acquitted of murder in the death of her daughter Caylee in a nationally publicized case. Lamar has not often faced strong competition in more than 20 years in office. Another former prosecutor in the office, Ryan Williams, also is running.”I’m running against celebrity,” Lamar said, rather than opponents ready to lead the “complex organization” he has led since 1989. “My job is not to seek publicity.”
Lamar argues that, but for the Anthony case, Ashton, who wrote a book about the case, wouldn’t even be in the race. Ashton says the Anthony case was an education in modern prosecutorial tactics and cost-cutting measures — the use of social media and online depositions, for example — that Lamar has never embraced. Williams and Ashton have been highly critical of Lamar’s management style and conviction rates. Lamar — a former Orange County sheriff — says that data are easily manipulated and his opponents have no management experience. Williams says those who prosecuted Anthony have shown a lack of accountability in the wake of the verdict. After a trial lasting nearly two months and with the world watching, Anthony was acquitted on all major charges. That, he said, should never happen.