FT. LAUDERDALE – A lawyer has been accused of having sex with an inmate in an interview room at the Broward Sheriff's Office, but her attorney says that the allegations have an ulterior motive.
Attorney Jessica Mishali David was banned from the property of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, including all five county jails, after she was accused of engaging in sexual intercourse with inmate Ysreal Granda. According to court records, David is Granda’s lead attorney in an attempted murder case pending in the county.
“It’s outrageous and unfounded rumors that have put her in this position with no evidence of any crime, and I think she’s being discriminated against.” Tarlika Navarro, the attorney for David, told the Florida Record.
“Basically if you read the news stories, it’s because of the cell phone ring that she and her clients were uncovering within the Broward County Sheriff's Department,” Navarro said.
David has previously told the press that she and Granda had been in talks with the jail’s top investigator, Lt. Marques Gibson relating to information Granda had about staff members who had allegedly smuggled cell phones into the jail.
Cell phone smuggling has long been a problem in Broward County. In 2011, five guards and a contract nurse were arrested for smuggling contraband, including cell phones, into Broward County Jail in Fort Lauderdale. Providing cell phones to inmates is a felony. In March 2015, a television news outlet reported that four cell phones were smuggled into a jail in Broward County.
David has not been charged with any crime; however, the Florida Bar Association is investigating the allegations.
In the meantime, David was banned from the property of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, though she is still able to visit clients.
“She has limited access,” Navarro said. “She has to sit behind glass and do more of a visitation like a regular civilian would do.”
Navarro said that this arrangement violates the Sixth Amendment rights of David’s clients because it prevents them from having a meaningful attorney-client relationship.
“She is able to see them, but she’s not having meaningful contact with them just because of the way it’s structured,” Navarro said. “[The guards] can hear everything that’s being said.”
Other news outlets have reported that David was fired from her job at the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Council in January due to “misconduct in the performance of her duties.” David has said that situation has nothing to do with the current allegations leveraged against her by the Broward Sheriff's Office.
David is still representing Granda. On February 18, she went to court seeking his release on bail. That motion was denied, but only after Judge IIona Holmes apologized to David for the way the sheriff’s office has treated her.
Navarro said that she and her client will pursue legal action against the sheriff's office.
“We will be filing a lawsuit against the Broward Sheriff's Office,” she said.
She declined to comment on the details of the suit, saying that they had yet to be worked out.