Tallahassee Democrat from Tallahassee, Florida on May 11, 2008 · Page 6
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Tallahassee Democrat from Tallahassee, Florida · Page 6

Tallahassee, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Page 6
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6ATallahassee Democrat Sunday, May 11, 2008 Local WWW.TAMAIlVSSEE.com Hoffman's attorneys release statement critical of TPD Tallahassee attorneys Johnny Devine and Danielle Joyner Kelley issued a news release Saturday critical of the Tallahassee Police Department's handling of Rachel Hoffinan, who was working as a confidential informant at the time of her disappearance Wednesday. Her body was found Friday morning in rural Taylor County. Two men are facing charges in her death, authorities have said. Here's the full news release. Attorneys for slain Rachel Hoffman have issued a response to the Press Release held by the Tallahassee Police Department on May 9, 2008 on behalf of the Hoffman Family. , Local Attorneys Johnny Devine with the Law Office of Johnny Devine, PA., and Danielle Joyner Kelley with the Law Offices of Marie Mattox, PA., have issued a statement on Saturday, May 10, 2008 responding to the press conference that was held yesterday by the Tallahassee Police Depart-. ment. Both attorneys and their firms are representing the Hoffman Family. The following is a joint statement by both attorneys: ' Today, the community of Tallahassee, Florida mourns the loss of a beautiful girl. Today, those living in Pinellas County and the Clearwater Beach area mourn the loss of a beautiful citizen. Today, the state of Florida mourns the loss of a vibrant, intelligent, beautiful and loving young woman. No one feels this loss more strongly than the family and friends of Rachel Hoffman, whose life was taken in a senseless act of extreme violence. The anger and outrage in the community is great, and many questions are beginning to surface. The family is in the middle of grieving Rachel's murder. Yesterday, they had only known for a short time that she was killed and would never be coming back. On that very day, a press conference was held by the Tallahassee Police Department regarding the death of Rachel. From the press conference's inception, the Tallahassee Police Department took the opportunity to inform the community of the victim's criminal charges, and made the point, both directly and indirectly, that her death was the result of her breaking protocol during the sting operation. The family and the attorneys for Rachel Hoffman have serious . concerns about the statement that Rachel somehow caused her own death. Rachel Hoffman was a 23-year-old woman, a graduate of Florida State University, and a daughter, beloved family member and friend. At no time during the press conference was it addressed that Rachel Hoffman was not a trained law enforcement officer, was not on the Tallahassee Police Department Vice Squad Unit, or that she had taken any training classes regarding the Tallahassee Police Department's "protocol." It was not addressed why Rachel was placed in this situation in the first instance, other than she had criminal charges pending. However, even with criminal charges pending, the main concern is how Rachel came to this position and what measures were taken in order for her to agree to go there. Her family and attorneys believe it was her involvement in the drug sting that ' led to Rachel's death, and I - i m m - w m m Delici Average Price Entree Under 20 NEW C i r i l-j-ounaay Druncn I r. I Come to the Cottage 6497 Apalachee Pkwy not the fact that she allegedly broke any protocol, but rather that she was led to the site in the first place. At no time was it discussed how police lost sight of her or what precautions they took to prevent her from being lost. At no time was it discussed what safety precautions were taken by police who knew she would be meeting with armed individuals. At no time during the press conference was it addressed that Rachel Hoffman had no pending or past cocaine or handgun charges in the very county where she was to meet the individuals, yet she was sent into a sting operation to buy cocaine and a handgun. It was never addressed whether her vicious murder was committed with the very handgun she was going to purchase. At no time during the press conference was it addressed that with regard to her first drug charges for which she was in drug court, a diversionary program, that she had a defense attorney who was representing her. The new charges that led to her , agreement to become a confidential informant would have affected her success in drug court. However, her defense attorney, Johnny Devine, was not notified. Mr. Devine's client was talked to by the police regarding this matter. However, her attorney was not present nor was he notified. No details regarding this meeting were discussed at the press conference, although had Rachel asked to con-' suit with her attorney and been denied that right, it , would have been a severe miscarriageofiustice.lt was not discussed what '' charges she was told she was facing, or how much time she would spend in jail for them. ; Although a concern for the family was expressed at the press conference, it was greatly overshadowed by an immediate shift to ' the victim's criminal record and details of how she . caused her own death by botching a sting operation. Nowhere was it discussed why a 5-foot, 7-inch, 135-pound young woman was sent into an operation to buy items that she herself had never been accused of having in her own possession. During the press conference, mention of the fact that the Tallahassee Police Department did not know the two men who Rachel was helping to set up in a drug bust that night came immediately to light. However, at no time during . that press conference was it addressed whether or not the Tallahassee Police Department has any policy or protocol of whether or , not they research the very suspects and review their criminal record before they send in a confidential informant to bust them. At. no time was it discussed whether or not Rachel knew how dangerous those individuals truly were. Clearly, the police knew about the a m mm m m a u Bar Cocktails Catering r rf . Duttet for Mother S Day m X ut 2 I S free energy efficient bulbs through this promotion, you automatically auatifvl ' I I individuals by the time they were trying to get Rachel to set them up for arrest. And most definitely, the police were aware of the r individuals' identity in order for them to find them in Orlando, Florida so suddenly and take them into custody. Bringing to light the . victim's criminal charges, her alleged faults during a sting operation, and repeatedly addressing the fact, in so many different words, that the Tallahassee Police Department is not responsible for the death of Rachel Hoffman did nothing ' to inform the public about what truly happened the . night of the drug sting. It did nothing to inform the public about what is going . to happen to the individuals who killed her. It did nothing to inform the public about what policies and procedures are in place to protect a confidential informant before they engage in a police drug sting. The only purpose this information served was to both attack a woman who has been taken away from society in a ruthless, reckless and vicious manner ' and to allow her family to watch it all on television while they are still reeling from the shock of their loved one's deathi Today, a family is still grieving and a public outcry is being heard. .Tomorrow, a mother will spend a Mother's Day planning a funeral for her daughter. The attorneys for the family of Rachel Hoffman wish that her memory and her family's well-being stay first and foremost in the minds of everyone who mourns her -- loss. People will remember Rachel fondly at her funeral . and speak well of her. She - 'I deserves no less from the . very government agency, the ' Tallahassee Police Department, which she ultimately : , lost her life trying to help. LD) km V.n I. 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