McNeill got her legal start as a defense lawyer in Hillsborough County before moving to Broward. She’s been with the Public Defender’s Office for 20 years and, like many in her office who handle accused murderers, has dealt with her share of hopeless cases. In 2017, she jumped on an opportunity to spare the life of one of her more notorious clients. Fidel Lopez was facing the death penalty for the gruesome murder of his wife, but when the state’s penalty was ruled to be unconstitutional, McNeill had Lopez plead guilty before the Florida Legislature could pass a new death penalty law. Lopez, ineligible for the death penalty, was sentenced to life in prison.