After the end of my term as State Attorney I took some time off spend with my wife and family. After a year of reflection I realized that my inner call to public service was still very strong. I thought back to something I was told by a Judge for whom I have great respect. He had risen to the top of his field in private practice and gave it up to spend his remaining years in service to as a Judge. He told me he felt that it was the obligation of attorneys who were accomplished in their field to give back the community by taking all that they had learned and bringing it with them to the bench. My course then became clear. Take all that you have learned and give it back to the community through service as a Circuit Judge. That is why I am running.
Jeffrey L. Ashton was born on October 3, 1957, in St. Petersburg, Florida, to Barbara and Richard Ashton, and grew up with three sisters. At a young age, Jeff decided to pursue a career in law, partially due to the encouragement of his great aunt when he was a child. After Boca Ciega High School, he attended St. Petersburg College before transferring to the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he majored in philosophy and graduated in in 1978. He then attended the university’s law school, upon graduation he was hired as an Assistant State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit.
Pioneer in Using DNA Evidence
Jeff worked in a number of divisions that were part of the state attorney’s office before winning his first murder conviction in a 1983 trial. In 1987 he was one of the prosecutors in a case that would forever change the way law enforcement investigates violent crime. The case of State vs. Tommie Andrews was the first case in the United State to use DNA evidence to convict a serial rapist.
After a decade working his way through the various divisions of that office, Jeff was called upon to create a homicide specialization unit where he worked for ten years, prosecuting hundreds of murder cases. During that period he took over sixty murder cases to trial, all but two resulting in convictions.
In 2008 the prospect of groundbreaking scientific evidence brought him into the case of State vs. Casey Anthony; which brought him once again into the national spotlight. At the conclusion of that case he retired from his thirty year career as an Assistant State Attorney to become the author of the bestselling book “Imperfect Justice”, relating his experiences as one of the prosecutors in the Anthony case.
In 2012, he ran for State Attorney of the Ninth Judicial Circuit (Orange and Osceola counties) and won that election by 53.4%. In January 2013, Jeff was sworn in as State Attorney. In 2016 Jeff retired from a thirty-year career as a prosecutor as the most experienced homicide prosecutor in the history of Orange County and a veteran of more than seventy successful homicide prosecutions.
Professional & Community Service
- Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association Distinguished Faculty Award 1996
- Orange County Bar Teen Education Committee Co-Chair 1996-97
- Treasure of Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association 2013-2014
- Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation Board Member 2013-2016
- Osceola County Investigative Bureau Board Member 2013-2016
- Former Scout Leader Cub Pack 64
- Chairman Medical Examiner Selection Committee for District Nine
- Past Member Orange County Mayor Domestic Violence Task Force
- Best Selling Author
- Prosecuted the nation’s first DNA case