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By Tami Stevenson

Chief Judge Mark Feagle sent out an official notification Sunday afternoon, announcing the appointment of Acting State Attorney. Judge Feagle will administer the Oath of Office to David A. Phelps, Esquire, Monday, December 23, 2019. He will be sworn in and will serve as the Acting State Attorney for the Third Judicial Circuit of Florida.

The notification went on to say Phelps is a resident of Taylor County and a member of the Florida Bar since 1978. He has spent his entire legal career as a prosecutor in the Third Judicial Circuit, serving as an assistant state attorney for over thirty-five years. During that time, Phelps served under four State Attorneys, including, the Honorable L. Arthur Lawrence, the Honorable Jerry Blair, the Honorable Robert L. "Skip" Jarvis, and the Honorable Jeffery A. Siegmeister. Phelps retired from the office in 2013 as the Chief Assistant State Attorney.

The notice also stated Phelps is a legal scholar who is certain to have the respect of his staff, the citizens and all branches of our government.

Judge Feagle said, "On behalf of the Third Judicial Circuit, I wish to express my sincerest appreciation to Mr. Phelps for graciously accepting this honorable position for the benefit of the citizens of the third circuit."


State Attorney Jeff Siegmeister retiring

Third Circuit State Attorney Jeff Siegmeister -Courtesy Photo

By Tami Stevenson

Effective Monday, December 23, 2019, Third Judicial Circuit State Attorney Jeff Siegmeister has announced he is retiring after serving the circuit since 2012.

According to a statement released on his behalf by a Gainesville attorney, Bobi J. Frank, Siegmeister is retiring because of a personal matter he is working through, specifically his marriage to Jamie Siegmeister, of 13 years. 

In Frank's statement she said, "It has always been his distinct honor to serve the people of the Third Judicial Circuit and he will always put the community’s best interests before his own. He intends on taking this time to reflect and heal." Frank also said in the statement that, "Jeff respectfully requests his privacy during this difficult time."

Jamie Siegmeister, a Live Oak native, spoke with the Suwannee Valley Times earlier today. She plans to stay in the area, but said she does not know what Jeff's plans are after he retires.  She added the divorce was/is amicable and they remain friends.

There is much speculation about his sudden retirement not being solely due to his divorce.    

Jeff Siegmeister was re-elected in 2016 and had one year left on his second term. The Third Circuit includes Columbia, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee and Taylor Counties.

An interim state attorney will likely be appointed by Chief Judge Mark Feagle within the next few days.