Articles Posted in Violations of Probation

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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A Pinellas County doctor, Kevin Mark Denny, ot Tierra Verde, pleaded guilty to Federal Charges that he illegally sold and/or distributed pain pill prescriptions. For more info, you can check out the full Tampa Bay Online article.

Denny, who also had an office in Tampa on North Dale Mabry Highway, illegally prescribed popular painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone as well as alprazolam (which is the generic form of Xanax). A Federal prosecutor stated that Denny was employed by Shiloh Medical Group to work in a “small, one doctor shop connected to a pharmacy,” and was paid to seek patients and write lots of prescriptions. In April alone, Denny wrote $25,000 worth of presciptions for oxycodone at Grace Pharmacy.The Blake & Dorsten, P.A., in Clearwater, has been seeing many new clients that have been arrested and/or charged with various Drug Offenses like: Sale of Oxycodone, Possession of Oxycodone, Doctor Shopping (formally known as “Withholding Information from a Practitioner,” Obtaining Controlled Substances by Fraud and Trafficking in Illegal Drugs (covering the wide spectrum of drugs from painkillers like Oxycodone to hardcore street drugs like Cocaine, Heroin and Methadone). Likewise, clients are coming into the office at an ever-increasing rate with a Violation of Probation on one or many of the above-listed offenses.

It is important to know that there are many different ways in which a drug case can be handled. How YOUR drug case is handled and whether YOUR criminal defense attorney has the training and experience necessary to aggressively fight the State of Florida on your behalf are two questions that YOU should consider very carefully. With the many life-changing consequences associated with a drug conviction, the selection of the right criminal defense attorney is vital.
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