Jeffrey L. Ashton
Jeffrey L. Ashton is a nationally-recognized prosecutor who was elected State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit in 2012, defeating a six-term incumbent during the primary election. He took office on January 8, 2013.
Mr. Ashton began his professional law career with the State Attorney’s Office in January 1981 under then-State Attorney Robert Eagan. In 1990, Mr. Ashton established the homicide division within the office. Throughout his career, he has handled thousands of cases and has taken 300 cases to trial, including 70 murder trials, twelve of which resulted in a sentence of death.
In 1987, he became the very first prosecutor in the nation to introduce DNA-based evidence in a case. This groundbreaking strategy resulted in the conviction of a serial rapist and greatly increased the introduction and use of forensic evidence during criminal proceedings.
Since that time, Mr. Ashton has lectured nationally on the use of forensic evidence and has authored several papers and treatises. One such work, “Foundation for DNA Fingerprint Evidence,” is included in the American Jurisprudence Proof of Facts, Third Series, a reference book for attorneys that provides standards for which facts must be proven at trial.
He is fascinated with the science of criminal cases and enjoys the competition of being a trial lawyer. Above all, he is pleased that the work he has done as an attorney, and his work as the chief law enforcement officer for the Ninth Circuit, has had a meaningful impact on the community.
A fierce defender of victims and protector of children, Mr. Ashton became part of the team to prosecute Casey Anthony – a 22-year-old mother who was charged with murdering her 2-year-old daughter Caylee Anthony. The case generated enormous media coverage. At the end of the trial in July 2011, Mr. Ashton retired after more than 30 years as a prosecutor. He is the author of “Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony.”
Mr. Ashton is active with a number of organizations, including: the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigations, MBI; Osceola County Investigative Bureau, OCIB; Domestic Violence Commission; Central Florida Intelligence Exchange, CFIX; Criminal Justice Public Safety Coordinating Council, CJPSCC; Joint Homicide Investigative Task Force, JHIT; Central Florida Criminal Justice Association, CFCJA; Juvenile Assessment Center; National District Attorney Association; the Orange County and Osceola County Bar associations; and the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association. He has also been recognized as one of the “50 Most Powerful People in Orlando” by Orlando Magazine.
Born on October 3, 1957, in St. Petersburg, Florida, Mr. Ashton graduated from the University of Florida School of Law in 1980. He has four adult children from previous marriages, and he and his wife Rita have three younger children. He enjoys an occasional round of golf and RV camping with his family.