State Attorney Robert “Skip” Jarvis, who will appear before a grand jury on an allegation that he misused his office has withdrawn his candidacy for re-election to the seat. Below is a statement that Jarvis issued Monday:
Twenty-eight years ago I proudly took an oath to enforce the laws of the State of Florida and to protect and defend it’s Constitution and the Constitution of the United States. I have continued to serve proudly, twenty-four years as an Assistant State Attorney and for the past four as your elected State Attorney.
During these twenty-eight years I feel that I have directly made a difference in many lives, both victims and defendants, while pursuing justice under the law. I have used my position to promote the interests of the citizens I serve.
Now, in the midst of my bid for re-election, I am faced with a decision of whether to fight an allegation initiated by a former disgruntled employee and further pursued by persons unknown that has resulted in a grand jury investigation. I have reviewed the limited information that the specially appointed State Attorney has been willing to provide to me and firmly believe that there is no basis for any charges, much less the time and expense of a grand jury investigation. It appears to be purely politically motivated, however in responding to it to prove my innocence I will be distracted from my re-election campaign and forced to spend personal funds that were intended to fund my campaign. The mere fact that there was an announcement of a grand jury investigation has brought political hurdles that must be overcome irregardless of the outcome of the investigation.
Additionally, I have watched the toll this first term in office has taken on my family members, especially my wife who has stood by my side for over forty-three years.
We have both withstood the personal attacks during the 2008 campaign, the false allegations in 2010 made by a former employee who was directed to cease involving this office in her personal politics, and now the allegation that I have somehow acted improperly as State Attorney by accessing certain criminal intelligence information and law enforcement records which I had, as State Attorney, full authority to view. While each of these issues in themselves carry little merit, as a whole they wear upon a person to the extent that I must consider whether remaining in office is worth the price to me and my family.
I have considered the strides we have made with the office in the face of a drastically reduced budget. I have begun assembling a team of young prosecutors to take the place of older retiring ones. I have put in place upgrades in equipment and vehicles,
training, and job assignments for better efficiency.
I am proud of what we have done over the past four years and of my twenty-eight year career with this office.
With that said, I am tired. I have given my life to the citizens of the Third Judicial Circuit. I have given my health to them. I have sacrificed precious time that I could have spent with my wife and family and given priority to the interests of the people. Many recognize this, most do not. Some appreciate this, most do not care, and some even resent it.
I feel a loyalty to my staff, some of whom left other jobs to come to work for me. I fear that their loyalty to me might become for them a liability and jeopardize whether their career with this office is safe from reprisal.
I feel a loyalty to my loyal supporters who have pledged their support in my bid for re-election, however it comes down to the fact that the spark in me is dying. I no longer have the spirit nor desire to go on in the face of the pressure and current public attitude toward public servants.
Therefore, Pam and I have decided that I should accept the offer made to me by State Attorney Brad King that if I would withdraw my bid for re-election, all issues scheduled to be presented to the Leon County Grand Jury will go away, that I will be allowed to complete my current term in office, and that my thirty plus years service toward vested retirement will not be affected. It is their threat of taking my retirement, something I had trusted would take care of my wife after I am gone, that is my greatest fear.
With this, I thank each and every one whose faith in me has kept me going. To my staff, I thank each and every one of you for your faithfulness and loyalty. To others, I wish you the best, whether you are a supporter or an opponent.
Thank you to the citizens who entrusted me with this office for the past four years. I will forever be proud of the job that I have done and of your trust in me. Now it is time for me to make up for lost time with my family so I bid you each a most sincere good-bye.
Robert L. “Skip” Jarvis, Jr.
Third Judicial Circuit of Florida