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Media & Press Coverage

CASES

State v. Austin Harrouff, Martin Co. Case No.: 16-000883CFAXMX

Click Here for Austin Harrouff Trial Coverage. Nellie L. King's representation of youth Austin Harrouff in this double homicide case involves an insanity defense because of Mr. Harrouff's mental illness at the time of the offense. The case has attracted considerable media coverage around the globe and highlights the need for awareness and treatment for those who suffer from mental illness:

Insanity Defense:

  • 3/24/2020 - Palm Beach Post: State seeks 2nd mental health expert after 1st State expert agrees with defense Harrouff was insane
  • 3/5/2020 - Detroit News: State's expert: Harrouff unable to distinguish right from wrong, "bolster[ing] the case of Harrouff's attorneys...[that Harrouff] should be found not guilty by reason of insanity"
  • 3/5/2020 - Palm Beach Post: State wants 2nd opinion on insanity finding by own expert that Harrouff was insane
  • 6/13/2019 - Law & Crime: Harrouff defense argues Florida's insanity law is unconstitutional
  • 4/2/2019 - UK The Sun: Attorney Nellie L. King: the "evaluation confirms Austin could not form the requisite intent to commit these crimes due to his severe mental illness"
  • 2/5/2019 - Media Local 10: Link to defense expert's report, Dr. Phillip J. Resnick, documenting Harrouff's psychosis, including the belief he was 'half-dog, half-man'
  • 2/28/2017 - AP: Harrouff "fled demon-like figure before killings" and was "scared out of [his] mind"
  • 12/6/2017 - People Magazine: Attorney Nellie L. King files Notice of Intent to Rely on Insanity Defense as Harrouff was "suffering from a full-blown psychotic episode" at the time of the attacks
  • 12/6/2017 - WPTV News Channel 5: Attorney Nellie L. King: "There is overwhelming and compelling evidence Austin was suffering acute psychosis which rendered him unable to appreciate what he was doing or the wrongfulness of his actions, his mental state squarely fitting within the definition of legal insanity in Florida."
  • 8/20/2017 - Korean Aju Business Daily: Attorney Nellie L. King: "Austin had a psychological break, as evidenced by the auditory and visual hallucinations, paranoia and persecutory ideations he experienced and, more importantly, as recounted by numerous people, both relatives and non-relatives, who were around Austin in the days and weeks before the murders.
  • 8/18/2017 - New York Daily News: State not to seek death penalty in Harrouff murder case
  • 12/23/2016 - Lansing State Journal: Austin Harrouff case one of Top 5 Stories of 2016
  • 11/25/2016 – AP: Link to Harrouff writings released. Attorney Nellie L. King: "Austin is struggling with severe mental illness and the judicial process will bear all of this out in due time"
  • 11/4/2016 - Palm Beach Post: Harrouff Team Adds Defense Lawyer Who Handled Amy Kern's Case - Attorney Nellie L. King represented Kern, "a mentally ill woman who used a tire iron to beat her 80-year-old grandmother to death in Jupiter and fatally shot her aunt’s boyfriend in Palm Beach Gardens." Kern was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

FBI Toxicology Results – No Hallucinogenic Drugs Found

  • 2/23/17 - Fox 29, WFLX: "Austin Harrouff's defense called out Martin County Sheriff William Snyder for speculating about certain drugs that Harrouff may have taken. It turned out Harrouff was not under the influence of anything like bath salts or flakka." Attorney Nellie L. King: "There's an avalanche of rank speculation about excited delirium," defense attorney Nellie King said during the proceedings.
  • 11/23/16 - AP: No Hallucinogens Found in System of Face-Biting Suspect - "Martin County Sheriff William Snyder had previously speculated that Harrouff may have been on flakka or bath salts, but those drugs weren’t detected."
  • TC Palm: Attorney Nellie L. King: "The FBI results are as we expected, they are negative for flakka, or Alpha-PVP. Importantly, the samples were collected within a timeframe that, had Austin ingested flakka, the levels would have been detected, and they were not,” Nellie King, the lawyer representing Mr. Harrouff said. “This is a cautionary tale for why law enforcement should endeavor to conduct complete investigations reliant on evidence, like toxicology reports, instead of speculation with no basis in fact...We know this information will be of no comfort to the victims’ families and friends, but, as painful as this process is, it is critical for everyone involved to examine the facts and avoid jumping to conclusions."

The "Dr. Phil" Show

  • 5/25/18 - WPTV News Channel 5: Harrouff Attorney Heads to California to Fight for Full, Unedited Dr. Phil Tapes - Attorney Nellie L. King: “In serious cases like this one, the micro-examination of the defendant's behaviors is undertaken, fairly or not, in an effort to examine the thought processes that brought the defendant to the very moment, the very second, the alleged criminal act occurred. Everything becomes important.”
  • 3/1/17 - Courthouse News Service: Attorney Nellie L. King files appellate pleadings challenging lower court's ruling on release of tapes.
  • 2/22/17 - USA Today: "One of [Harrouff's] attorneys, Nellie King, blamed the Martin County Sheriff’s Office for putting out misinformation by saying Harrouff showed signs he may have ingested Flakka or bath salts when toxicology results later revealed he hadn’t." King argued Harrouff has a right to a fair trial, and releasing that video would interfere with that: “It’s not about closure; it’s about access,” King said. “It’s become a sensationalized mess.”

State v. Amy Kern, Palm Beach Co. Case No.: 09-001682CFAXX

Insanity Defense:

  • 4/5/12 - PsychCentral.com: When the System Collapses: The Horrific Case of Amy Kern, Christine Stapleton - "Amy’s case has it all – every single controversy and failure in our mental health care system. Among those to blame: insurance companies; law enforcement; public mental health centers; guns; and ignorance of postpartum mental conditions. Fortunately, the criminal justice system is not on the list. Amy got a very good attorney, Nellie L. King, who hired the psychiatrist who examined Andrea Yates to evaluate Amy’s mental state at the time of the crime." "Yesterday, in a courtroom filled with livid relatives and a weeping Amy Kern, a judge answered the impossibly difficult question: What should we do with Amy? What should become of this 33-year-old mother of a 3-year-old daughter who carries a load of guilt that could crush her? Should Amy go to prison for the rest of her life where she will very likely get very little treatment for her bipolar disorder and schizophrenia? Or, should Amy be declared not guilty by reason of insanity and spend years – perhaps the rest of her life – in a locked-down mental health treatment facility?...Amy’s case could have gone horribly wrong from there but it did not – despite the request of furious family members to lock her up in prison forever. The judge did not agree and found Amy not guilty by reason of insanity. She will be sent to a state-run, secure mental health hospital. Her case will come back to court periodically for review and eventually, if she is found to no longer be a danger to society, she could be released. But that is a very big IF. Most likely she will spend many, many years locked in the hospital and may never be free again."

Verdict:

  • 4/3/12 - Fox 29, WFLX: Woman Who Killed Two Found Not Guilty - Attorney Nellie L. King: "Kern had been diagnosed as bipolar and schizophrenic in her 20s and had never gotten the proper psychiatric treatment she needed...[Amy] was a young woman with hopes, dreams and a lot of potential."
  • 4/2/12 - South Florida Sun Sentinal: "A Dwyer High School graduate who went on a murderous rampage three years ago, bludgeoning her grandmother with a tire iron and gunning down her aunt's boyfriend, Monday was found not guilty by reason of insanity."

Release:

  • 1/13/16 - Palm Beach Post: Killer of Grandmother, Family, Granted Release From Mental Hospital - Attorney Nellie L. King: Kern is " the mother of a 7-year-old daughter [who] wants to move on with her life and hopes to one day live independently. Kern is deeply remorseful for killing her grandmother, who helped raise her, and her aunt’s boyfriend...It’s the first thing she thinks about when she gets up in the morning and the last thing she thinks about before she goes to bed...Had Kern gotten the treatment she needed, the tragedy could have been avoided."

State v. Vincent Crump, Leon County Case No.: 2018CF000838A001

  • 5/17/19 - Tallahassee Democrat
  • 4/12/19 - WCTV Eyewitness News
  • 4/10/19 - Tallahassee Democrat: Attorney Nellie L. King: "Mr. Crump engaged in consensual sex while on duty...He broke the morality code but not the laws of the state of Florida. Mr. Crump broke his marital vows, but not laws of the state of Florida. Mr. Crump broke the cardinal rules as an officer and with it the trust of the citizens of Tallahassee, but not the laws of the state of Florida. Bad choices, but certainly not felonies.”
  • 2/14/19 - Tallahassee Democrat: Ex-Tallahassee Police Department Cop Seeks Dismissal of Rape Charges, Points to 'Unconstitutional Vagueness' - Attorney Nellie L. King: “There is no guidance on how to determine or interpret what exactly is meant by the complex term “acquiescence,” King wrote in the 30-page filing. “Further, the law is not clear as to whether the evidence is to be viewed from the perspective of the alleged victim or from the vantage point of a reasonable person, leaving jurors with no framework to approach the required analysis.”
  • 10/4/18 - Tallahassee Democrat

Post-Conviction Cases

  • 3/26/18 - Vero Beach News: Vero Lake Estates Murder to Be Revisited - Attorney Nellie L. King "[Mr. Vose] was denied his state and federal right to effective assistance of counsel as guaranteed by the U.S. and Florida constitutions... Prosecutors filed hundreds of pages of evidence and transcripts in an attempt to prevent the hearing."
  • 11/19/10 - TC Palm: Port St. Lucie Man Resentenced to Time Served for 2002 Fatal Automobile Crash - Attorney Nellie L. King secured freedom for client Kyle Benson, who was 16 at the time of the crash, after a hearing in which King "hired an accident reconstruction expert who said Benson was traveling about 46 mph in a 45 mph zone, significantly slower than the prosecution witness claimed, and that the treads on Benson's tires were within the state's legal limits."
  • 4/6/11 - Palm Beach Post

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

  • 9/1/15 - Florida Bar News - Attorney Nellie L. King: "I believe lawyers can most effectively represent their clients by involving themselves in efforts which improve the system and impart change for the people we serve,” King said. “For me, sitting on the sidelines is not an option. As a member of The Florida Bar, Clemency Project 2014 represents a way for all of us to stand for something. I am passionate about the clemency initiative announced by the White House, and lawyers who participate in this endeavor are making history...It is, simply stated, the right thing to do.”
  • 7/12/12 – WFSU: Florida Supreme Court Upholds Controversial Drug Law - "Florida’s Supreme Court ruled citizens can now be prosecuted for illegal drug possession, even if they didn’t know they had them. In most other states, intent or knowledge of wrongdoing is necessary to be tried for a criminal action." Attorney Nellie L. King, Immediate Past President of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said, “This is a sad day for the rule of law in this country and Florida ought not to be proud. The majority’s suggestion that citizens who are truly innocent can simply rely on raising an affirmative defense to clear them of drug charges is laughable. This “just prove your innocence” approach shifts the burden of proof to the citizen accused.”
  • 10/1/11 – Florida Bar News: Groups Challenge Administration of Rights to Misdemeanor Defendants - Attorney Nellie L. King, FACDL president, said the organization is concerned that constitutional rights are taking a back seat to expediency: "The Edenfieldcase exposes a court culture that has transformed arraignment from a defendant’s opportunity to obtain counsel and make the case for release pending investigation, plea negotiations or trial, to a false choice between going home following a guilty plea or obtaining counsel and delaying the case for a month,” she said. “The former is obviously more enticing, so one after another, defendants waive counsel and plead guilty or no contest...The concern to our members is that defendants have no idea what rights they have given up until they confront them head-on in their day-to-day lives...When the court’s discussion focuses on defendants entering guilty pleas as quickly as possible, and without benefit of the advice of counsel, the process is flawed. Criminal court proceedings should be guided by the tenets of the Constitution, not by budgetary concerns and docket size.”

LEADERSHIP ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

AWARDS:

COMMUNITY ADVOCACY:

INNOCENCE PROJECT OF FLORIDA:

SOCIAL JUSTICE TEACHING

Palm Beach Post

Additional Coverage

Presentations and Speeches

  • November 2015 – The keynote address will focus on the White House Clemency Initiative. Nellie L. King, a criminal defense attorney in West Palm Beach, who serves on the board of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, will provide information about the bipartisan effort and the project’s race against the clock.
  • July 2012 – NACDL Statewide Criminal Justice Network Symposium, San Francisco, CA – Presented “Juvenile Justice Reform Measures: Graham on the Ground”
  • June 2012 – FACDL Annual Meeting, Naples, FL – Presented “FACDL: The Past, Present and Future”
  • May 2012 – Nova Southeastern University Law School Alumni Meeting, West Palm Beach, FL – Presented “The John Goodman Trial: A Civil and Criminal Perspective”
  • February 2012 – NACDL Midwinter Meeting & Seminar, Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Presented “Beyond Registration: Collateral Consequences of a Sex Crime Conviction”
  • February 2012 – Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Academy, West Palm Beach, FL – Presented “The Nature of the Private Criminal Defense Practice”
  • March 2010 – Leadership Palm Beach County, West Palm Beach, FL – Presented on Criminal Justice Issues for Law
  • Enforcement and Public Safety Day
  • November 2009 – FACDL Sentencing Seminar, Sandestin, FL – Presented “Advocating for Alternatives to Prison”
  • June 2004 – Palm Beach County Drug Court, West Palm Beach, FL – Presented Graduation Address to Program Participants
  • November 2003 – Florida Association of Licensed Investigators Meeting, West Palm Beach, FL – Presented “Defending Abuse Cases”

Publications and Editorship

  • 2009-2010 – Editor, The Defender Magazine, the statewide publication of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL). The Defender Magazine enjoys extensive publication, distributed to 2,000 members and all Florida criminal court judges.
  • Summer 2005 – “More than Just the Ocean Separates Us: The Haitian Language Divide,” Published in The Defender Magazine
  • Spring 1999 – “Unique Legal Issues Facing the Deaf Defendant,” Published in The Defender Magazine

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Featured In Jupiter,
Palm Beacher,
& Boca Life Magazines

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Events

Attorney King was elected to the Board of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the nationwide organization dedicated to ensuring justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. View Video Here

(Photo: Nellie L. King is at an NACDL event and is wearing a dress is made out of The Champion magazine covers.)

Client Reviews

See What People Are Saying About Us
  • Attorney King was my voice in the courtroom.

    “Her knowledge of the law, her courage while aggressively fighting for me, belief in my innocence and the ability to communicate with the jury were priceless in ensuring my freedom.”

    - V.C., Former Client
  • Top-notch, caring, and highly respected.

    “Nellie represented our son fiercely in her trademark "pit bull" style and won a landmark case in our county. Top-notch, caring, and highly respected are the qualities that come to mind when I think of Nellie King.”

    - Brenda Benson
  • Ms. King truly cares about her clients and the outcome of their cases.

    “Between her knowledge, hard work, and respect she is able to get her clients the best possible outcome in their cases. Ms. King is very knowledgeable in criminal law, she is hardworking and caring.”

    - W.G.
  • Nellie brings power and grace. She is the velvet hammer.

    “Sharp, tenacious, passionate, and totally committed to securing justice, Nellie King advocates tirelessly for her clients. Your case becomes her case.”

    - Leigh D. Hagan (Ph.D. Board-Certified Forensic Psychologist)
  • She is a true leader and one of the fiercest advocates in the legal profession.

    “Attorney Nellie King is absolutely unstoppable in the courtroom. Her skill and technique are matched only by her will and her drive. She is not afraid to zealously defend her clients and never shies away from protecting their constitutional rights.”

    - Jessica Yeary (Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer & Public Defender Elect, Florida’s 2nd Judicial Circuit)
  • Nellie is a DEFENDER!

    “Her concern for the turmoil of the client’s life, and its impact on their family, imbue every strategic decision she makes.”

    - Joe Guastaferro (Nationally Recognized Trial Consultant and Jury Selection Specialist)
  • A top-notch fighter who will protect their legal rights.

    “Nellie is one of the most dogged, detailed, dedicated, and skilled advocates that I've had the pleasure of working with in my 30-year career. Prosecutors undoubtedly cringe upon her entry into the case.”

    - Charles Mittelstadt (Criminal Defense Investigator)
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