SAFETY HARBOR: Former Finance Director Gets Jail Time

One year after being arrested for stealing approximately $128,000 from the City of Safety Harbor, while serving as their finance director, JoAnne Ryan was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Thane Covert to one year in the Pinellas County Jail. However, six months of her time will be spent on “work release,” formerly known as the “Day Reporting” program.Ryan, who accepted the State’s plea deal, was convicted of Second Degree Grand Theft. As part of her sentence, Ryan will be placed on 15 years of probation and will be ordered to pay $128,000 in restitution. She already paid about $58,000 in restitution, up front, in an effort to mitigate the damage that she caused.

At her sentencing hearing, Judge Covert stated, “You are a good person, but you made some very serious mistakes you knew were wrong. You should never hold a position of trust in the future.” For the complete story, check out today’s St. Petersburg Times article.

As part of a very well prepared defense, Dr. Walter Afield, a neuropsychiatrist, testified that Ryan suffered from a condition known as “chemo brain,” following her treatment for breast cancer, which affects memory, concentration and focus. Afield also told the Court that Ryan had major depression and was suicidal.

While this case does not qualify for entrance into this blog’s “Celebrity Justice” column, it certainly begs the following questions: Are all Defendants treated equal? Does it help to have an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney on your side? And would she have gotten this same sentence had she been represented by the Office of the Public Defender?

The Blake & Dorsten, P.A., in Clearwater, handles all criminal matters throughout the Tampa Bay area and select criminal matters throughout the State of Florida. If your case requires an experienced and aggressive criminal defense, the Blake & Dorsten, P.A. will be there for you. 365/24/7.

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