Melissa Nelson took office as the State Attorney for Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit in January 2017. There, she leads 300 plus attorneys, staff, and investigators in their pursuit of justice.
In 1997, Nelson started her career as an Assistant State Attorney and for the next 12 years prosecuted cases ranging from misdemeanors to capital homicides. From 2009-2016, she worked at the international law firm of McGuireWoods.
Since taking office, Nelson has implemented many smart justice initiatives and spearheaded modern criminal justice reforms. She established Florida’s first Conviction Integrity Review unit, developed a driver’s license restoration program, convened the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee aimed at reducing juvenile recidivism, and engaged the office in an academic research study focused on making data driven decisions. Each of these accomplishments reinforce her pledge to the citizens of Clay, Duval, and Nassau counties.
Nelson sits on various boards, both nationally and locally, including ATF’s National Crime Gun Intelligence Governing Board, Florida’s Cold Case Advisory Commission, Columbia University’s Executive Session on the Future of Justice Policy, the Florida Supreme Court’s Steering Committee on Problem-Solving Courts, and Jacksonville’s Sulzbacher Center. She is also a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Nelson earned both her undergraduate and law degrees with honors from the University of Florida. She and her husband, Jason, live in Jacksonville where they raise their three children.