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.
Ms. Kharlap graduated from Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, Florida, with a Juris Doctor degree and a Family Law Certificate. Before studying law, Ms. Kharlap attended John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York where she earned a Bachelors of Arts in Humanities and Justice Studies.
Bruce P. Culbert is an experienced trial lawyer with over 18 years of experience exclusively devoted to criminal defense at both the state and federal levels. He has defended individuals charged in a wide range of criminal
cases throughout North Florida including all types of drug offenses, federal drug conspiracy charges, white collar crimes, homicide, violent crimes, sex crimes, DUI and violations of probation. Mr. Culbert is an honors graduate of Florida Coastal School of
Beth Marie Sammons is a Florida Bar Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer with over 10 years of experience in all areas of criminal defense including violation of probation, DUI, drug crimes, sexual offenses, aggravated battery,
arson, firearms offenses, vehicular homicide, manslaughter and murder. She also handles cases involving the death penalty. Ms. Sammons is an honors graduate of the University of Florida and Florida Coastal School of Law.
Prior to moving to Florida, Ms. Lazareva lived in Kazakhstan where she became fluent in the Russian language. She is a graduate of the University of North Florida where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and a minor in Criminal Justice. Ms. Lazareva continued her education at Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, Florida, where she graduated with a Juris Doctorate degree. Before joining Finnell, McGuinness, Nezami, and Andux, Ms. Lazareva worked as a title processor at a real estate law firm and earned an internship at the Office of the Public Defender, Fourth Judicial Circuit, located in Jacksonville, Florida. Ms.
Melanie Trogolo obtained her bachelor’s degree in Criminology from Florida State University and her law degree from Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville where she was in the Honors Program and a Governor’s Merit Scholarship Recipient. While in law school Ms. Trogolo was also the Director of the Pro Bono Program and graduated with a certificate in Family Law. Ms. Trogolo was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2016 and practiced at the Public Defender’s Office in Duval County handling a range of misdemeanor and felony cases. Ms. Trogolo is fluent in Spanish.