Articles Posted in Violations of Probation

A rather disturbing story was featured in today’s St. Pete Times about a Seminole mother who tried to sell her son for $2,000 because of her addiction to prescription drugs.

The 5-year-old boy was excited to start kindergarten Tuesday in Tampa.

Jim and Betty Gardner, who have helped raise the boy since he was an infant, were working hard to prepare him by establishing a morning routine.

Now, they’re worried how his first school year will begin.

The child was taken into protective custody Saturday after authorities arrested his mother and accused her of trying to sell him to the Gardners for $2,000.

Jessica Mickles Beers, 28, whose last known address was in Seminole, was charged with Felony Sale of Parental Rights along with a Violation of Probation (VOP) on her pending Grand Theft charge. At her First Appearance Hearing on Sunday, bail was set at $10,000.Gardner, 58, said he and his wife met Beers when the boy was just a few months old after she called their church for assistance. They took food and diapers to her.

Beers essentially was homeless, but was living with other people. She asked to move in with the Gardners and they agreed, Gardner said.

For the next five (5) years or so, the Gardners, who have fostered numerous children over the years, helped take care of Beers and her child.

About two years ago, Beers began talking about having the couple take guardianship of her son but never followed through with it. Early Saturday, Gardner said, Beers called him and offered to sign away her parental rights if the Gardners would pay her $2,000.

“It was money or else …” Gardner said. “I thought ‘Whoa, that’s illegal.’ “He contacted the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), which arrested Beers at a Seminole grocery store when she came to collect the cash.

The child was not with Beers, but she told authorities where he could be found, Gardner said. Gardner said he believes Beers is addicted to prescription drugs.
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As reported by BayNews9, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is at it again.

In another “cost-cutting” measure, the Polk County Jail will no longer provide free underwear to its inmates.Normally, when an inmate is booked in the jail, they are given an orange shirt, orange pants and underwear.

In order to save money, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd has proposed making males inmates pay if they want their “tighty whities.”

The cost-saving measure was part of the sheriff’s 2011-2012 budget he presented to county commissioners Thursday afternoon. Judd said it will save the county $45,000.

Although women behind bars will still be provided underwear, the men will have to pay.

“For those who don’t want to pay, they can let the breeze blow up one leg and out the other,” Judd said (in classic Grady Judd fashion).

The idea drew smiles from several county commissioners and laughter from the crowd.

“You and I buy it at the store. So, if they want it, they can buy it,” he said. Judd said they are also cutting eleven (11) positions, including six (6) supervisors.

Judd says while his department is doing more with less, his highest priority remains keeping the people of Polk County safe.

Judd said the new policy will not cause the quality of service from the department to go down.

“None of these cuts will keep us from answering the call,” Judd said.

FYI — As for the underwear, it’s about $2.50 for briefs and $4.50 for boxers. The choice is up to the inmates.

“We give our inmates choices at our jail,” he said.

The new underwear rule will breeze into effect Aug. 1st.
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As we enter another Holiday Season, the Blake & Dorsten, P.A. would like to wish you and yours a Happy and Safe Holiday weekend.With the support of all of our friends, family and clients, 2010 was another excellent year for the Blake & Dorsten, P.A.. And for that, we have much to be thankful for this Holiday Season.

To our family and friends, thank you for your patience and understanding when it was necessary to work late nights and/or weekends.

To our business colleagues and our outstanding network of fellow attorneys, thank you for not only your referrals but for the trust that you have placed in the Blake & Dorsten, P.A. to provide an experienced and aggressive representation to those that you’ve sent our way.

And to both our former and present clients, thank you for the trust that you have placed in the Blake & Dorsten, P.A. to protect your rights and to handle your important criminal and/or traffic-related matters.

As many of you know, 2010 presented some different challenges for the Blake & Dorsten, P.A.. Without your support, we would not have been able to achieve the many successes that came our way.

On behalf of the entire Blake & Dorsten, P.A. team (Pam, Eryn, Oatie and myself), have a Happy, Healthy and Safe Holiday Season.As always, attorney Nicholas J. Dorsten will be available throughout the Holiday Weekend. In fact, we were very grateful to sign up a new Client today and make a Christmas Eve trip to the Pinellas County Jail.
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A breaking story on reported that New York Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards was arrested Tuesday on charges of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) after officers pulled him over because his SUV had “excessive tinting” on its windows, police said.Officers on the lookout for minor Traffic Violations like excessive tinting or missing registration stickers pulled over Edwards’ Land Rover on Manhattan’s West Side at about 5:15 a.m. and noticed a “strong smell of alcohol,” chief NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.

Edwards was given a breath test at the scene and another at a police station. His blood alcohol level was .16, twice the .08 legal limit. There were four (4) other people in the SUV at the time.

The Jets expressed their disappointment in the receiver in a statement Tuesday from general manager Mike Tannenbaum.

“We are very disappointed in Braylon’s actions this morning. The Player Protect program is in place for our organization to prevent this situation. Braylon is aware of this program and showed poor judgment,” Tannenbaum said.

“We are reviewing the information with the league and will impose the appropriate disciplinary measures.”

The Player Protect program provides a 24-hour driving service exclusively for professional athletes. The company also provides security, if requested, from current or former law-enforcement agents.

If a player wants a lift home, he can call anytime and will be driven home in a luxury SUV or a Mercedes limo or an executive limo van.

The Jets, through their player development program, distributed leaflets on the Player Protect program to every player on the team. It informs them they aren’t charged for the service, and the club picks up the expense.

Edwards caught a touchdown pass as well as a two-point conversion on Sunday in the Jets’ 28-14 victory against the New England Patriots.Edwards’ attorney, Peter Frankel, acknowledged that the specifics of the case as laid out by authorities were accurate, saying: “That’s my understanding, yes.” But he quickly added: “I can’t really get into anything that happened.”

Frankel, who represented imprisoned former Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress in his attempt to gain work release, said Edwards would not be available to the media. “We just want to get him out,” he said. “I’m sure he’s absolutely exhausted and he wants to go back to his home and his teammates.”During his weekly spot on WFAN-AM on Tuesday morning, Jets wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery said Edwards attended a Monday night event in support of Cotchery’s nonprofit foundation benefiting underprivileged youth in Manhattan.

Cotchery said several teammates were there, and the event ran from 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. on Manhattan’s West Side.

It’s not clear where Edwards was coming from when he was pulled over.

Pending the outcome of his New York City DUI case, Edwards may have to return to Cleveland to face a possible Violation of Probation, which could carry jail time.

On a side note: Being a Jets fan is not easy…
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LOS ANGELES – According to a breaking story published by the Associated Press, Grammy-winning rapper T.I., who has a history of Drug Offenses and is on Federal Probation after spending time behind bars on Gun Charges, was arrested along with his wife after police smelled marijuana coming from their car, authorities said.The rapper was arrested Wednesday night in West Hollywood during a traffic stop, Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy Mark Pope told The Associated Press. Authorities said they smelled a strong marijuana odor but would not say if any other drugs were found in the car.

The 29-year-old rapper and his wife, Tameka Cottle, were released from jail at about 4 a.m. Thursday after posting $10,000 bail each, sheriff’s Deputy Luis Castro said.

T.I.’s publicist declined to comment.

The arrests follow last week’s detention of socialite Paris Hilton, who is being investigated for Felony Cocaine Possession after a motorcycle officer smelled pot wafting from her car.

The Atlanta-based rapper, whose real name is Clifford Harris Jr., is a multiplatinum hitmaker. Known as the “King of the South,” he has emerged one of music’s most profitable stars.He also has a key role in the current top box office movie “Takers.” The shoot-’em-up about an armored truck Robbery that goes bad was released last week and topped the box-office chart.

T.I. served seven (7) months in an Arkansas Federal prison and three (3) months in a Georgia halfway house on Federal Weapons Charges and was released in March. He was sentenced to serve three (3) years of supervised release after his prison sentence ended.

He was ordered not to commit another Federal, State or local crime while on supervised release, and also ordered not to illegally possess a controlled substance. He was also told to take at least three (3) drug tests after his release and to participate in a drug and alcohol treatment program.

Patrick Crosby, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney in Atlanta, had no immediate comment Thursday on whether Harris violated the terms of the judge’s order.

Since his release, the rapper, who previously spent time behind bars for Drug Offenses, has vowed to live a better life. He spoke to children about the dangers of drugs and guns, and former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young was one of his supporters. As he prepared for his most recent sentence, he starred in the MTV reality show “T.I.’s Road to Redemption: 45 Days to Go.”

In a recent interview with The Associated Press, T.I. talked about living a more positive life.

“Right now, it’s all about moving forward and just acknowledging the blessing that are here today. … Just moving past the regrets of yesterday — the things that could’ve been done better,” T.I. said in a July interview.

Unfortunately, at this point in time, it looks like the only forward moving for T.I. is that he is one step closer to going back to Federal prison.
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According to a story just released by the Associated Press, tormer U.S. figure skating champion Nicole Bobek has been sentenced to five (5) years Felony Probation for her role in a Crystal Methamphetamine ring in New Jersey.The 32-year-old Bobek choked up in court in Jersey City on Monday as she said she was sorry. She pleaded guilty in June to Conspiring to Distribute Methamphetamine.

“Nothing but positive things can come out of this,” Bobek said outside the Jersey City courtroom where she was sentenced Monday. “It’s been a long 1½ years. I’m looking to get back onto that ice.”

She was among twenty eight (28) people accused last year of running a network that allegedly distributed $10,000 worth of methamphetamine per week.

The alleged leader of the group, Edward Cruz Jr., was sentenced last week to sixteen (16) years in prison.

Bobek won the U.S. figure skating title in 1995. But her disappointing 17th-place finish at the 1998 Winter Olympics took a psychological toll on her, according to her lawyer, Sam DeLuca. Bobek had been skating since age 3, forgoing high school and even home schooling for the rigorous, cloistered world of professional training, DeLuca said.”Here is a girl whose star was shining … and when the star went out, when the star started fading, she was not prepared,” DeLuca said. She then fell into “a sleazy world” of drug addiction and bad influences, he said.

Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor Lisa Ledoux argued for a sentence of a year in the county jail, saying Bobek was no innocent victim and was not a minor player in the drug ring.

Superior Court Judge Kevin Callahan noted he had received letters on Bobek’s behalf from former Olympic athletes, including JoJo Starbuck, and even rock ‘n’ roll musicians he didn’t name.

Callahan warned Bobek that she was at a dangerous crossroads and that a single Violation of Probation or failed drug test could land her in prison for at least five (5) years.

Bobek, accompanied by her mother, applied to serve her probation near the family’s Jupiter, Florida home. She was also ordered to serve 250 hours of community service and pay a $2,500 fine, plus additional court expenses.
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Sara Lou Kenny, 20, of New Port Richey, needed some clean urine to pass a drug test so, authorities say, she tried to smuggle the urine from her friend’s 4-year-old son past a probation officer and pass it off as her own.It didn’t work!!!

Kenney was arrested Friday at a substance abuse program office on Little Road in New Port Richey, according to the St. Pete Times.

Her friend and roommate, 26-year-old Amber Tobeck, was also arrested at the same office for giving her son’s urine to Kenny, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Both women are on Felony Probation – Kenny for Drug Offenses and Tobeck for Fraud and Theft convictions – according to the Florida Department of Corrections. Kenny’s two-year drug court probation sentence began Feb. 1st. An arrest report said Kenny had methadone that was not prescribed to her.

Kenny and Tobeck are being held without Bond at the Pasco County jail on charges of Violating their Probations. Kenny is unemployed. Tobeck told authorities she is a waitress at the Cracker Barrel restaurant in New Port Richey. Gotta love their chicken-n-dumplings!
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A story in this morning’s St. Pete Times about the “SCRAM” monitor caught my attention:

For a solid year, Stephen Hulgin knew he could not sneak a drink without getting locked up.

The reason was strapped around his ankle: an alcohol monitoring device he wore 24 hours a day, as part of his sentence for a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) conviction. If he took a drink, the device would know it.”I knew it was there; I knew I couldn’t beat it,” Hulgin said. And he knew what the judge had told him: One more drink and “I go to prison for four (4) years.”

Hulgin, 44, who lives in a Clearwater rehab center and has a paving company, recently had his electronic monitor removed after an alcohol-free year. He says the device helped him and was a “big component of me getting out of jail.”

It also is becoming part of the anti-alcohol strategy for the criminal justice system in the Tampa Bay area. Judges are increasingly requiring monitoring devices for Defendants who need to prove they’re not drinking.

“I think it can be a very effective tool in protecting the public,” said Pinellas County Judge Donald E. Horrox, who has ordered Defendants to wear them.

Week after week, judges sentence people for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and other alcohol-related offenses. While some get jail time, probation usually follows. Others are released on bail as they await their trial.

Judges almost always order these people to stop drinking alcohol while they are on probation or awaiting their trial. But how do you make sure someone doesn’t drink?

There are ways, such as random urine samples, mandatory AA meetings, and visits to probation officers — all with the threat of more jail time looming overhead.

But it can still be possible to cheat, partly because traces of alcohol disappear from the body more quickly than other drugs. Alcohol monitors are designed to take away that possibility.

The Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor, or “SCRAM” brand alcohol bracelet, which has been used in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties, is strapped to a Defendant’s leg above his or her ankle and can be hidden under a pants cuff.

It samples sweat on the skin every thirty (30) minutes, and detects the presence of alcohol. It records the data and sends results back to a central computer and, eventually, on to the court system.

“It’s a Breathalyzer for your ankle,” said Kathleen Brown, spokeswoman for the Denver-based company that makes them, Alcohol Monitoring Systems.

It also contains anti-tampering technology designed to detect when someone is trying to fool the device — such as the person who wedged a piece of baloney in between his ankle and the bracelet. (Baloney may feel roughly like skin, but it’s cold and doesn’t sweat.)

About fifty (50) of the SCRAM bracelets are in use at any one time in the Tampa Bay area, said local representative and bail bondsman Frank Kopczynski. More than 10,000 are in use nationwide, Brown said.Pinellas County Judge Paul Levine said he became intrigued with the alcohol bracelets when he realized they provide a good way to continuously check on serious alcohol offenders, such as repeat drunken drivers. They’re also good for Domestic Violence offenders who get violent when drunk; take away the alcohol, and you often take away the violence, he said.

But over time, he said he heard from Defendants who say “they can’t believe they actually went ninety (90) days without drinking, and it helps their recovery.”

“It’s a tool now to help break the cycle of drinking,” he said.

Hulgin agrees. He said when he was sentenced in Pasco County to wear the bracelet for a full year, the judge told him “If I drank, I’d be in prison. He made sure I understood that if I failed … I’m going away.”

He wore it 24 hours a day, even in the shower. After about three (3) sober months, he said he felt his alcohol cravings subside. Now that he is off the bracelet, he is optimistic that he will also be able to stay off alcohol, with help from his family and the Christian recovery center where he lives, called Center of Hope.

“It helped me,” Hulgin said. And he added, “it’s nice to be able to prove to the Court system and society that I haven’t drank a drop.”

But he does have a reason to be happy to get off of it. It costs $10 a day, and he’s the one who had to pay it.

That $300 a month is a burden that not everyone can afford. But Kopczynski, the Tampa Bay representative for SCRAM monitors, said $10 a day is less than some people spend at bars. He also has a question for people who have been released from jail but are complaining about the cost of the bracelet:

“How much money are you making in jail?”
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An unlucky Tampa man is behind bars after swinging a machete at his wife in a “fit of rage” early Monday morning, according to police.

Around 2:30 a.m. Virticee Lamar Thompson approached his wife of five (5) years, swinging the machete back and forth and threatening to kill her and himself, an arrest affidavit states.The woman’s 16-year-old daughter witnessed the incident.

Thompson, of 8100 North Marks Street, was arrested about 3 a.m. on charges of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Violation of Probation in connection with an Attempted Sexual Battery conviction in 2000 out of Polk County.

Thompson spent about two (2) years in the Florida State Prison system and his probation expires in 2013, court records show.

About 4:30 a.m., Thompson was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail, where he was held without bail (as is customary on a Felony VIolation of Probation as well as a charge of Domestic Violence).This was Thompson’s fourth arrest in Hillsborough County; other charges include Driving Under the Influence and Driving with a Suspended License, jail records show.
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Welcome to the odd world of random crime committed in the Tampa Bay area. As they say on “Law & Order,” here’s another story that has been “ripped from the headlines.” You just can’t make this stuff up.

Yesterday, the Chief of Tampa General Hospital’s trauma center pleaded “no contest” to two (2) misdemeanor charges and was sentenced to two (2) years of probation and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. For the complete story, check out the full St. Petersburg Times article.

Documents which were released yesterday shed some light on this unusual crime. On April 21, 2009, Dr. Sergio Alvarez, a first year resident in the plastic surgery department of the University of South Florida, was assisting Dr. David J. Ciesla during a surgery when they located a bullet on top of the man’s liver. About an hour into the surgery, Dr. Ciesla was relieved by another doctor. However, prior to leaving the operating room, Dr. Ciesla reached into the fugitive’s body and removed the bullet. According to Dr. Alvarez, Dr. Ciesla stated “this is what we do with bullets” before placing the bullet inside the rubber glove on his right hand.

Unfortunately for Dr. Ciesla, two (2) agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement were sitting inside the operating room waiting to take the bullets into evidence. However, when questioned by the FDLE agents, Dr. Ciesla stated that the bullets were still stuck in the patient’s body.

Dr. Ciesla eventually returned his souvenir, one week later, after being confronted by University officials. For his part, Dr. Ciesla was charged by the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office with Providing False Information to Law Enforcement and Obstructing or Opposing an Officer without Violence.

Yesterday, County Court Judge Cheryl Thomas “withheld adjudication,” meaning Dr. Ciesla will not receive a conviction on his record (assuming he completes the terms of his probation successfully). He will also be eligible for an Early Termination of Probation, after serving one full year of probation, if all of his terms and conditions have been met.
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