Marcille: Experience to Do the job
Last week, State Attorney Bill Eddins called to say that he had decided not to run for a fifth term in 2020.
“It’s been the high honor of my life to serve as a state attorney for the people of the First Judicial Circuit,” Eddins told Inweekly.
The state of Florida has 20 Judicial Circuits. The First Judicial Circuit covers Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties and has 70-plus attorneys spread over offices in Pensacola, Milton, Crestview, Shalimar and DeFuniak Springs. The state attorney for the First Judicial Circuit is an elected position. Since 1969, the district has only had two attorneys hold the office—Eddins and Curtis Golden, who served 36 years.
During the phone call, Eddins made it clear he wanted Greg Marcille to be his successor. He added that Marcille’s willingness to run for the post made his decision easier.
“I contacted my chief assistant, Greg Marcille, who’s been my chief assistant since day one,” Eddins said. “I asked him if he would consider running. He indicated that he would, and after careful consideration, I decided that I would not seek re-election.”
Inweekly sat down with Marcille last Friday, the day after he had filed to run state attorney. Marcille grew up in Pensacola, attending parochial schools and graduating from Pensacola Catholic High. He graduated from Pensacola Junior College and the University of West Florida, where he majored in political science. Marcille earned his law degree at Florida State University.
After working for a sole practitioner in Tallahassee for a couple of years, he and his wife decided to return to Pensacola. He explained, “My wife was also from here. All our family was here, and my parents were getting older. The first job I was offered was at the state attorney’s office.”
Marcille went to work for Curtis Golden in 1986. Like all new assistant state attorneys, he started in county court. He said, “Back then, we had five county court divisions, and we had about six attorneys plus the supervisor who’d been in the office for many years. I spent about three years in county court.”
Golden began to assign Marcille special prosecution cases, including a substantial economic crime case involving a disbarred attorney who allegedly had stolen a considerable amount of money from Pensacola Christian College. He was then promoted to the felony division, and, after a year, he was made county court supervisor for Escambia County, replacing an attorney who held the position for more than 25 years.
“I supervised everything that had to do with Escambia County Court on a day-to-day basis,” said Marcille. “County Court is all your misdemeanor cases and all your criminal traffic cases, such as DUI. The majority of them would be DUIs and then domestic violence cases.”
Marcille became involved with the Education Committee of the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, where he taught and assisted with seminars throughout the state, primarily in the areas of domestic violence and DUI.
He added, “I also would handle executive assignments that are cases that our office is assigned by the governor to prosecute in other judicial circuits because those state attorneys had a conflict. So I did prosecute a number of executive assignments throughout Panama City, Tallahassee, Apalachicola, a few other locations throughout the state, during that period of time.”
Marcille also began to work closely with State Attorney Golden, taking on the additional job of administrative assistant to the state attorney. He said, “During that time, I worked closely with Curtis on a day-to-day basis on any issue dealing with the administration and management of the office and the building.”
Chief Assistant State Attorney
When Eddins came into office in January 2005, Marcille was named chief assistant state attorney and became involved in the cases in the other counties of the First Judicial Circuit. Later, he also took on the role of executive director of the state attorney’s office.
“The executive director supervises the administrative part of the office,” he said. “So as part of my duties, I also supervise human resources and the budget. So not only do I have the experience in the legal side of the office, but I’m also very experienced with the human resources and the budget.”
When asked about how much crime has changed since the mid-’80s, Marcille cited the increase in gun violence and drug activity.
“You have a lot of cases now dealing with heroin, fentanyl, those types of drugs, that you did not have before,” he shared. “When I started, you almost never saw a case involving heroin. Fentanyl probably hadn’t even been invented at that time, but now it’s not uncommon to see that.”
He continued, “I think there’s been a growth recently in white-collar crime. But the gun violence, I think, is the area where there’s been the most increase.”
He believes the office is in good shape. Marcille shared, “Over the last few years, one of the big changes that Mr. Eddins has done is we have a lot more special prosecutors than we’ve had in the past. We have a homicide division, violent crime division. We have a white-collar crime division, which we have had for a number of years. We also have Gulf Coast Kids’ houses with dedicated prosecutors in all four counties.”
Marcille plans to continue the emphasize the prosecution of the most serious cases. He said, “I want to try to develop a staff that is as experienced as we can have, encourage people to be able to make this a career as much as possible, and basically build on the position that we’re in right now.”
He has handled several grand jury investigations regarding public record laws, as well as the operations of several local governments across the Florida Panhandle.
“Our office has emphasized public records and Sunshine laws more so than a lot of state attorney’s offices,” said Marcille. “We’ve been very proactive, not just in Escambia County but in all four counties. We’ve done reviews, we’ve issued opinions, we’ve made recommendations to governmental agencies, and we have charged people.”
Marcille said that running for state attorney has always been in the back of his mind. When Eddins came to him, Marcille said he would run if Eddins chose not to do so. He agreed to run because he believed the state attorney’s office is essential to the community.
“I think it’s important that whoever becomes the next state attorney have the experience to run the office—it’s a very difficult job,” said Marcille. “People don’t realize this is virtually a 24/7 job. Things happen at all times of the day, all times of the night. And not only does it involve the prosecution of every defendant in state court in four counties; also, it’s a very large office, and it’s a very complicated office, and there’s a lot of work involved.”
He continued, “Somebody that has the experience and the knowledge to do that, I believe, is the person that should be there. You should not come in and learn the job on the job. I don’t believe there’s anybody else in the First Judicial Circuit that has more experience in all areas of our office than I do.”