Ann E. Finnell is a graduate of Duke University and the University of Florida College of Law. Ms. Finnell has extensively lectured and taught in the areas of criminal trial practice and death penalty practice. She has lectured for the Florida Public Defender Association, Arizona Public Defenders, Wisconsin Public Defenders and Montana Public Defenders. She has taught at the Prosecutor/Public Defender Program in Gainesville, Florida since 1988 and has taught at the Florida Public Defenders College. She also lectured for the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys Annual Conference in Aspen, Colorado.
Ms. Finnell previously served on the Florida Supreme Court Committee on Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases, and on the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee. She was the 2007-08 Chair of the Executive Council of the Criminal Law Section of the Florida Bar and served on the Bar’s Judicial Nominating Procedures Committee. Ms. Finnell is the 1996 recipient of the Barnard Award, in recognition of outstanding service, from the Florida Public Defender Association. Ms. Finnell was featured in the 2002 Oscar-winning documentary “Murder on a Sunday Morning” along with Patrick T. McGuinness, a shareholder in the firm. The film documented the defense team successfully defending a young man against the false charge of murder.
Ms. Finnell is a Master of the Chester Bedell Inn of Court, a founding member of the Northeast Chapter of the Florida Association of Defense Attorneys, a member of the Jacksonville Bar Association, the Florida Bar and the Bar of the Middle District of Florida.
Ms. Finnell is a past President of the Jacksonville Women Lawyer’s Association and is a past President of the Jacksonville League of Women Voters. She has also previously served on the local Duke Alumni Advisory Admissions Committee.
Ann E. Finnell is a graduate of Duke University and the University of Florida Levin College of Law. She has been a trial lawyer for over 35 years. She has handled homicide and death penalty cases and is qualified to be court appointed on death penalty cases as first chair counsel. Ms. Finnell also handles capital sexual battery cases and other sexual offenses, drug trafficking, sales and possession cases as well as DUI and domestic violence cases. In addition to criminal cases, Ms. Finnell handles trial litigation involving family law, child custody/support and personal injury cases.
Of Counsel ~ Mr. McGuinness left the public defender’s office in Jacksonville, Florida as a senior trial attorney in the homicide division after 31 years of service. During his tenure, Mr. McGuinness worked in every division handling felonies and misdemeanors, as well as mental health issues. Since 1983, he has worked primarily capital cases, first and second degree murder cases and manslaughter cases. In addition, he has been the lead counsel in many of the most high profile cases tried in Jacksonville over the past three decades.
Lara Nezami received her bachelor’s degree from Vassar College in Philosophy (B.A. 1994), and her law degree from George Washington University Law School (J.D. 1997). She is admitted to practice law in Florida and California. Ms. Nezami concentrates in the areas of criminal trial litigation and family law. She represents clients in both state and federal court where she has handled complex criminal cases including trafficking and other drug offenses and sexual offenses. In the area of family law she handles divorce, child support, paternity and time-sharing. She also represents clients in a variety of personal injury matters.
Gonzalo Andux is a graduate of the University of Florida, and the University of Florida Levin College of Law. He has been a trial lawyer for over 29 years. Mr. Andux practiced as a trial attorney at the Office of the Public Defender in Jacksonville, Florida for 23 years. While at the Public Defender’s office, Mr. Andux supervised both the special defense and homicide sections of the office. He is death penalty qualified and has tried hundreds of complex criminal cases. In addition to criminal cases, Mr. Andux handles litigation matters involving civil rights and personal injury. He is admitted to practice in both federal and state court. Mr. Andux is fluent in Spanish.
BeJae Shelton, originally from Alabama, is a graduate of Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, where she excelled, and currently practices several areas of law at Finnell, McGuinness, Nezami & Andux, P.A., including Divorce and Family Law, Criminal Defense, and civil litigation. Before studying law, Ms. Shelton attended Agnes Scott College in Decatur, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations.
Vanessa Newtson has lived in Florida her entire life. She obtained her law degree and bachelor degree at the University of Florida. She has been a trial lawyer for over 13 years. She currently practices at Finnell, McGuinness, Nezami & Andux, P.A., in the areas of Criminal Defense (State and Federal) and Immigration. Ms. Newtson is fluent in Spanish.
Megan Cunningham practices exclusively in the area of family law. She is a graduate of the University of North Florida where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Political Science. Ms. Cunningham then continued her passion for the law at Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, Florida, where she graduated with a Juris Doctor Degree.