Saint Augustine Tea Party welcomes public defender candidate as speaker

Historic City News readers are patriotically invited to attend the open meeting of the Saint Augustine Tea Party to hear their guest speaker, candidate for Public Defender, Anne Marie Gennusa.

Gennusa was admitted to the New York Bar in 1995 and moved to Florida in 1999. She worked as a public defender in New York and now runs her own firm in St. Augustine; specializing in criminal law and family law.

“With age comes experience and I’ve tried probably almost every kind of criminal case and trial in general that you can try,” Gennusa said. “But as the head of the public defender’s office, you want someone that has run a business and is able to facilitate a good working environment.”

Current Public Defender Jim Purdy, 66, will retire when his current four-year term ends in 2020 after 16 years in office. Purdy’s attorneys represent criminal defendants who can’t afford their own lawyers in the 7th Circuit, covering St Johns, Volusia, Flagler, and Putnam counties. The public defender oversees 58 trial attorneys and 27 appellate attorneys. The job pays $169,000 per year.

“I like mentoring young lawyers, I like running my business and I would like to be able to do it on a larger scale and you’d be the chief financial officer of the largest criminal defense office in our circuit,” she said.

She said she has nearly 25 years of legal experience.  Gennusa added that she has two master’s certificates, one in human resource management and another in government contracting. She said that knowledge will help her manage the Public Defender’s Office, including getting the best deals on contracts.

“People ask me, are you from the south?” Gennusa said.  “I tell them, yes, the South Bronx.”

Gennusa is married to a retired sergeant from the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office. They have a blended family of five children ages 16 to 31.

There will be a question and answer session following the end of the meeting, time permitting; providing a great opportunity for you to meet Anne Marie.