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State Attorneys office

Public defender: Fees for pleas lead to unequal justice

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Criminal defendants in three central Florida counties often face a stark choice, a public defender says: Pay hundreds of dollars in fees that help fund the prosecutors’ office, as a condition of reaching a plea deal, or face trial and risk stiffer punishment. Now public defender Rex Dimmig says that the practice creates unequal treatment for the criminal justice system’s poorest defendants. “My office only represents indigent people, and they ought to be entitled to the same punishment for the…

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Orange County Commissioner (and one-time Crist supporter) Mildred Fernandez arrested for accepting illegal campaign contributions, grand theft, and bribery

in Statewide by

Several Orlando news outlets are reporting that Orange County Commissioner Mildred Fernandez, who is running for Orange County mayor, was taken to the Orange County Jail Tuesday. Fernandez, 64, was arrested and charged with accepting illegal campaign contributions, grand theft, and bribery. She was released on $5,300 bond around 8:15 p.m. Tuesday. Gov. Charlie Crist has suspended Fernandezfrom her position on the Orange County Commission. He signed the executive order late Tuesday afternoon after Fernandez was arrested, and issued an…

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Pinellas County Housing Authority declares legal war on St. Pete Housing Authority, requesting SA & AG to investigate violations of public records law

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

The Pinellas County Housing Authority is asking the State Attorney’s office and the Attorney General to investigate the St. Petersburg Housing Authority over the SPHA’s failure to comply with a public records request. That may sound like just another bureaucratic turf war, but when one agency asks law enforcement to investigate another agency, especially in light of the acrimonious nature of the relationship between the two housing authorities, this legal action is nothing short of declaring war. Below and after…

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