TALLAHASSEE — Florida
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office has requested the state Supreme
Court assume jurisdiction over a case involving a Jacksonville
attorney whose conviction was dismissed.
Kelly Mathis was convicted in 2013 and sentenced to six years in
prison on 103 charges stemming from racketeering and gambling-related
crimes associated with his work for Allied Veterans of the World.
Allied operated scores of Internet cafes that were raided and shut
down in 2013 because of illegal gambling, though the state’s law
concerning gambling is unclear.
In October, the Fifth District
Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach dismissed Mathis’ convictions and
sentencing and ruled that he should receive a new trial. The court
found that the circuit judge who convicted Mathis did not allow
evidence that supported Mathis’ defense to be presented at trial.
The case then was left for the state to decide further action.
Earlier this month,
Bondi’s office said it would appeal the October ruling to the
“The Office of Statewide Prosecution has filed a
motion with the Florida Supreme Court asking them to accept
jurisdiction over this matter and allow us to continue our appeal of
the decision of the Fifth District Court of Appeals,” Statewide
Prosecutor Nick Cox told the Florida Record. “We will be
filing a brief within the next two weeks regarding the discretionary
jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. As this litigation is ongoing, we
cannot comment further at this time."
Mathis acted as Allied’s lawyer and provided the
company with legal advice. Following the 2013 raids on Allied’s
businesses, Mathis was the only individual charged in the case after
prosecutors alleged that he knowingly provided false legal advice
about the Internet cafes, according to the appeals-court ruling.
“Regarding the State’s notice seeking to invoke
the jurisdiction of the Florida Supreme Court, Mathis is hopeful that
the Florida Supreme Court will decline to accept jurisdiction in this
case,” Michael Ufferman, attorney for Mathis, told the Florida
The jurisdiction of the Florida Supreme Court is
limited, and one basis for which it can accept a case is if the
decision of the district court below it conflicts with a decision
from the Florida Supreme Court or another district court of appeal,
“Mathis does not believe that the Fifth District
Court of Appeal’s decision in this case conflicts with any other
case,” he said.
A new trial would afford Mathis an opportunity to
fully present his defense to the charges that did not exist in the
first trial, Lee Lockett, attorney for Mathis, told the Florida
“That’s because of the Fifth District Court’s
ruling that upon re-trial, Mathis will be permitted to offer
witnesses and evidence that his legal opinion was based on sound
legal research as well as several consultations with governmental
officials statewide who also agreed that the business model in place
was in fact legal," Lockett said.
Mathis is currently suspended from practicing law and
could be disbarred if convicted again.