The Duval County jail. | Jacksonville Daily RecordThe Duval County jail. | Jacksonville Daily Record
The Duval County jail. | Jacksonville Daily Record

Jacksonville attorney arrested on perjury charges

Published on September 25, 2023 at 12:26 pm

A Jacksonville attorney has been arrested on charges of conspiracy and solicitation to commit perjury, according to Duval County jail records.

The arrest of Nah-Deh E.W. Simmons last week came after a Jacksonville murder suspect said he made visits to her at the Duval County jail, although he was not her attorney. He asked her to lie in court because it was in her “best interests,” his arrest warrant states.

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Simmons has had issues in the past. The Florida Bar reported his 90-day suspension late last year for complaints that included failing to represent his clients, responding to a judge’s inquiry or appearing at hearings, according to court documents.

Simmons has no office address listed and did not respond to multiple emails seeking comment. Florida Bar spokeswoman Jennifer Davis confirmed Simmons was disciplined late last year and there is a “new active file” on him now.

A warranted released Friday details the perjury charges against him, stemming from a homicide in early 2021 on Shenandoah Avenue. Three people — Timothy Smith, Jordan Hodge and Esmone Duncan — were arrested.

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According to the warrant released by the State Attorney’s Office, Duncan agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in cases against the others during a meeting in March 2022. That’s when she told investigators that Simmons visited her in jail “on at least six or seven occasions” to discuss her and the co-defendants’ cases.

“During their meetings, Simmons and Duncan discussed various versions of false statements she could testify to in future court proceedings regarding the facts of the murder,” the warrant says. “During their meetings, Simmons advised Duncan that he was looking out for Duncan’s best interests.”

Simmons is a 2004 graduate of Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2007, according to its membership profile. The profile shows Simmons to be a lawyer in good standing with no prior issues or discipline until the Florida Supreme Court ruling in October 2022.

That 16-page complaint came after the 4th Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee found probable cause after five different clients officially complained about issues with the way Simmons handled their cases. The allegations included failure to file an appeal and other required documents, failure to handle a wrongful termination case, failure to handle an appeal properly, failure to explain matters to a client and failure to abide by a client’s wishes.

The Florida Supreme Court recommended that Simmons be found guilty of misconduct and get a 90-day suspension and probation. It also said he had to attend ethics school, undergo an office and record-keeping analysis and pay the Florida Bar’s costs of $2,247.

As to his recent arrest, the warrant indicates that Simmons told Duncan that she should not trust her attorney because he was “working for the state.” Simmons also told her to never reveal that he was meeting with her to her own attorney, “or about their plans to provide false testimony in the case.”

Simmons visited Duncan at least six times without the knowledge of her attorney, the warrant said. “Simmons never officially ‘signed in’ to see Duncan for any of these jail visits. Instead, Simmons would sign in to see another client and while in the jail, Simmons would go to Duncan’s floor to meet with her,” the warrant says.

As for the suspects in that case, Duncan pleaded guilty in February to murder and accessory after the fact. Sentencing is set for Nov. 9. Hodge and Smith both face a hearing in the case Nov 17. No trial date has been set, court records show.

Meanwhile, Simmons was released from jail Thursday on the perjury charges. His next court date is set for Oct. 11, jail records state.

author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 email Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.

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