Articles on this Page
- 12/03/13--08:48: _Bay County man gets...
- 12/03/13--13:44: _Jury picked for ex-...
- 12/03/13--13:46: _FHP: Medical proble...
- 12/03/13--14:19: _Deputies seek shoot...
- 12/04/13--06:43: _Accused robber shoo...
- 12/04/13--06:51: _18-year-old arreste...
- 12/04/13--08:10: _Man arrested on gun...
- 12/04/13--12:41: _Raccoon tests posit...
- 12/04/13--14:33: _Sheriff: Florida ma...
- 12/04/13--14:55: _FBI agent testifies...
- 12/04/13--15:39: _Travelers urged to ...
- 12/04/13--17:54: _Suspect arrested, c...
- 12/04/13--17:56: _Police: Man had gun...
- 12/05/13--09:45: _Blotter: Threats, e...
- 12/05/13--10:41: _Blotter: Austin is ...
- 12/05/13--13:28: _Plea deal reached i...
- 12/05/13--15:08: _Medical marijuana g...
- 12/05/13--16:50: _BCSO: Suspect duped...
- 12/06/13--12:24: _Blotter: ‘Hello Pol...
- 12/06/13--17:40: _Additional arrest m...
- 12/03/13--08:48: Bay County man gets 15 years in fatal DUI crash
- 12/03/13--13:44: Jury picked for ex-BP engineer's federal trial
- 12/03/13--13:46: FHP: Medical problems led to crash
- 12/03/13--14:19: Deputies seek shooting witnesses
- 12/04/13--06:43: Accused robber shoots self before arrest
- 12/04/13--06:51: 18-year-old arrested after lewd Facebook pictures sent to girl
- 12/04/13--08:10: Man arrested on gun charges possessed mass shooting news clippings
- 12/04/13--12:41: Raccoon tests positive for rabies in Springfield
- 12/04/13--14:33: Sheriff: Florida man kills wife, son with crossbow
- 12/04/13--14:55: FBI agent testifies at ex-BP engineer's trial
- 12/04/13--15:39: Travelers urged to use caution due to fog
- 12/04/13--17:54: Suspect arrested, charged in stabbing
- 12/04/13--17:56: Police: Man had gunshot wound
- 12/05/13--09:45: Blotter: Threats, eggs and bricks on the fly
- 12/05/13--10:41: Blotter: Austin is in trouble
- 12/05/13--13:28: Plea deal reached in perjury case
- 12/05/13--15:08: Medical marijuana gets court hearing
- 12/05/13--16:50: BCSO: Suspect duped woman, 94, out of $130,000
- 12/06/13--12:24: Blotter: ‘Hello Police? I can’t pay my drug dealer, please help.’
- 12/06/13--17:40: Additional arrest made in Monday shooting
PANAMA CITY— A Bayou George man was sentenced to 15 years in prison Monday for killing a man while driving drunk.
Margarito Curiel-Agiorri, 44, of 7241 Coe Road, also had his driver’s license revoked for life for causing the crash that killed 28-year-old Ryan Ramsey. Prosecutors showed jurors during the November trial that Curiel-Agiorri drove away from a friend’s house with a blood alcohol level of 0.22 the night of Feb. 13, 2012, and crossed into oncoming traffic on the Hathaway Bridge, striking Ramsey’s vehicle head on.
During the trial Curiel-Agiorri told the jury he did not believe he caused the crash that killed the 27-year-old father of two. He blamed the crash on almost everything but the alcohol, which he said actually made him a more careful driver that night because he didn’t want to be stopped by police.
“Everything falls on me, and I feel I am not guilty of anything,” Curiel-Agiorri said through an interpreter.
He blamed the construction work on the bridge that night, saying if there had been a barrier between eastbound and westbound traffic instead of a 10-foot wide safety lane and traffic barrels, no one would have been hurt.
He denied crossing that 10-foot wide safety lane, saying he was driving “where I was supposed to.”
The translation led to some confusion during cross-examination from prosecutor Bob Sombathy, who at one point believed Curiel-Agiorri was blaming Ramsey for the crash and asked if that was correct.
“No,” Curiel-Agiorri said. “We have to be fair. ... It just happened. It was a bad moment.”
Curiel-Agiorri said he did not remember much of what happened after the crash. He didn’t remember giving a blood sample at the hospital after the crash that showed his blood-alcohol content was 0.22, nearly three times the legal limit to drive.
“He literally has no idea what happened as he sits in this courtroom today,” Sombathy told jurors during his closing arguments.
Doug White, Curiel-Agiorri’s attorney, argued the conclusions of the investigators were conjecture, and the statements his client made to police in English after the crash were tainted by Curiel-Agiorri’s lack of a firm grasp on the language. Prosecutors based their theory of the case on misinterpretations, White argued.
The jury of six women deliberated less than 90 minutes before finding him guilty as charged of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide, but the later charge was consolidated to avoid double jeopardy issues
NEW ORLEANS — Twelve jurors and three alternates have been picked to hear the Justice Department's case against a former BP drilling engineer charged with deleting text messages and voicemails about the company's response to its massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The jury will hear attorneys' opening statements Tuesday for Kurt Mix's federal trial, which is expected to last up to three weeks.
Prosecutors claim Mix deliberately deleted strings of text messages to and from a supervisor and a BP contractor to stymie a grand jury's probe of the nation's worst offshore oil spill.
The 52-year-old resident of Katy, Texas, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
BLOUNTSTOWN - A wrecker driver suffered a medical emergency before he drove off the road and hit a utility box Tuesday morning, a passen-ger told the Florida Highway Patrol.
Paul R. Mattice, 56, of Blountstown, was pronounced dead at Calhoun-Liberty Hospital Tuesday. The condition of passenger Kenneth Hopkins, 21, also of Blountstown, is not clear.
Hopkins told troopers Mattice suffered an unspecified medical emergency when he drove onto the shoulder of State 20 west of Blountstown around 11:20 a.m. Tuesday. The 1999 Dodge wrecker continued until it stuck a telephone junction box in the ditch.
PANAMA CITY — Deputies are looking for two men they believe witnessed a shooting early Monday that left a woman shot in the abdomen but in stable condition.
The Bay County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public’s help finding Renaldo “Majestic” Williams and another man they believe goes by “DJ.” Investigators believe the two men were present in a home on West 29th Court around 3:30 a.m. Monday when a woman was shot in the abdomen.
The BCSO released a two photos of Williams, but a news release issued Tuesday afternoon doesn’t indicate if Williams and DJ are considered suspects. Officials didn’t immediately return calls for comment.
A third man, 19-year-old Blake Youngblood, has already been arrested and charged with improper exhibition of a firearm, tampering with evidence and lying to police.
Investigators believe Youngblood shot the victim, who is not identified in the news release, accidently after they finished playing video games in her room. Officials said the three men were preparing to leave when Youngblood pulled a pistol, removed the magazine and pulled the trigger once, shooting the victim in the gut.
The two other men left after the victim was shot. Youngblood stayed to help the victim, who told investigators she didn’t want to press charges.
Youngblood initially told investigators a version of the events that led to the shooting that was inconsistent with what the victim described, the news release states. When he changed his story the details matched those given to investigators by the victim, officials said.
Anyone who knows Williams or DJ is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 747-5079 or CrimeStoppers at 785 TIPS (8477).
GAINESVILLE — A suspected robber is in critical condition after shooting himself in the chest when police came to take him into custody.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Bryon Carroll says the shooting occurred as a fugitive task force arrived at a Gainesville apartment on Tuesday to arrest 42-year-old Miker Debose.
Carroll told the Gainesville Sun (http://bit.ly/1hxBm47 ) members of the task force noticed movement inside the apartment. A short time later a gunshot was heard and a woman ran out saying Debose had shot himself.
Debose is accused of an armed robbery in Marion County and was wanted on a federal warrant for violation of conditions of supervised released. He was released from federal prison in June after serving 210 months.
Carroll says Debose was taken to UF Health Shands Hospital in critical condition.
A University High School student was arrested after sheriff’s investigators determined he sent pictures of his genitals to a 14-year-old girl, also a student at the school, Volusia sheriff’s investigators said Tuesday.
Joshua Smith, 18, of Enterprise was charged with electronic transmission of harmful information to a minor and booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail on $1,500 bail, jail records show.
Deputies responded Monday to reports that Smith had sent lewd pictures to the 14-year-old girl in a Facebook message, reports state.
The girl told deputies Smith sent her the photos Nov. 16 while they were engaged in a Facebook conversation, reports state.
The girl logged on to her Facebook page and showed deputies the message with the photos attached to it, investigators said.
Investigators said Smith knew the girl and admitted to sending the photos, the report states.
WEST HAVEN, Conn. — Police say they found newspaper clippings about mass shootings at the home of a University of New Haven student arrested near campus carrying two handguns and having an assault rifle in his car.
No shots were fired and no one was injured.
West Haven police announced Wednesday that 22-year-old William Dong was charged with illegal possession of an assault weapon and other crimes after Tuesday's scare, which led to a campus lockdown of more than four hours.
Dong is detained on $500,000 bail and faces arraignment on Wednesday. It's not clear if he has a lawyer.
Police say Dong had an assault rifle in his Toyota and the newspaper clippings at his Fairfield home. Authorities say he has permits for the handguns.
SPRINGFIELD – A raccoon killed near the intersection of E. 12th Street and Bob Little Road in the City of Springfield has tested positive for rabies, health officials wrote in a news release.
The Florida Department of Health in Bay County would like to remind citizens that Florida law requires all dogs and cats over four months of age to be currently vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian. Animals given “feed-store” rabies vaccines by their owners are not legally vaccinated.
Most laboratory confirmed rabid raccoons are involved in conflicts with dogs. Following raccoons and bats, domestic cats are the animal third most likely to test positive for rabies in Florida. An unvaccinated pet increases your family’s risk for exposure to this deadly disease. Dogs and cats without a current veterinarian-administered rabies vaccination should not be left outside unsupervised.
This is the seventh Bay County animal testing positive for rabies in 2013. Other Bay County animals testing positive for rabies in 2013 include five raccoons and one domestic cat, the most recent being rabid raccoons killed off North Lagoon Drive in September and near the south end of the Baily Bridge in October.
Rabies is a disease of the nervous system and is fatal to warm blooded animals and humans. The rabies virus is secreted in the saliva of an infected animal or human. Exposure to the virus can be through broken skin (bites, scratches) or mucous membrane (eyes, nose, mouth) contact with infected saliva or tissues. The only treatment for human exposure to rabies is rabies specific immune globulin and rabies immunization. Appropriate treatment started soon after the exposure will protect an exposed person from the disease.
Raccoons and bats are the Florida animals most frequently testing positive for rabies. Raccoons can secrete the rabies virus in their saliva before they have noticeable symptoms. All contact with raccoons and bats should be avoided. As well, it is illegal to feed raccoons, either directly or indirectly. Feeding raccoons artificially increases their population and increases the likelihood diseases like rabies will spread and conflicts with dogs or cats will occur.
The following advice is issued:
Secure outside garbage in covered containers to avoid attracting wild animals.
Do not leave pet food outside overnight as this attracts wild animals to your home and increases the chance of a pet-raccoon conflict.
If bitten or scratched by an animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water. Seek medical treatment as needed and report the injury to the Florida Department of Health in Bay County at (850) 872-4455, X1125. If the animal is stray or wild, call 911 or Bay County Animal Control at (850) 248-6034 and report the animal’s location. Follow up. Rabies is preventable when treatment is provided in a timely manner.
If your dog or cat fights with a wild animal, contact the Florida Department of Health in Bay County immediately. The wild animal will need to be tested for rabies. Your animal may need to be quarantined. Do not shoot suspected rabid animals in the head.
Do not touch animals that are not yours. Avoid contact with all wildlife, especially raccoons, bats, bobcats, otters, foxes, skunks and coyotes. No animal is too young to have rabies. A rabid animal may act friendly.
Wear rubber gloves and protective eyewear when dressing/butchering wild animals to avoid exposure to rabies and other diseases. Cook all meat thoroughly to 165 degrees.
For general questions pertaining to stray animals or odd acting wild animals, contact your area’s animal control department.
For questions regarding the health of an animal, contact a veterinarian.
Teach your children about rabies and to never touch a bat.
For further information on rabies, go to the Florida Department of Health website: website http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/medicine/rabies/rabies-index.html or contact the Florida Department of Health in Bay County at 850-872-4720, X1125.
WESTON — A South Florida man used a crossbow to kill his wife and teenage son in their townhouse, tried to kill a second son who is a student at Florida State University and wound up dead in a motel bathroom, authorities said Wednesday.
Broward Sheriff's Office deputies said the body of Pedro Jose Maldonado Sr., 53, of Weston was found inside the motel room near Lake City. He apparently died by slitting his own throat, investigators said.
Before that, deputies said Maldonado called a friend to say he had killed his wife, 47-year-old Monica Narvaez-Maldonado, and younger son Pedro Jose Maldonado Jr., 17. Both had been shot with what deputies described as a handheld crossbow that fires small darts.
Authorities believe they were killed sometime Monday. After that, they said, Maldonado drove to Tallahassee and rented a motel room. Just after 7 a.m. Tuesday, he apparently attacked his older son, 21-year-old Jose Maldonado, with the crossbow but the dart just grazed the son's ear. Deputies say the father tried to choke the son, but the younger Maldonado managed to escape.
Authorities had responded to the Maldonado home Tuesday with a SWAT team after the man's friend telephoned about his confession to the killings. After finding the bodies, they learned through unspecified means that Maldonado was staying at a motel near Lake City, east of Tallahassee and hundreds of miles north of the original crime scene.
Columbia County Sheriff's Office deputies found Maldonado dead about 2 a.m. Wednesday.
No information was provided about a possible motive for the rampage.
NEW ORLEANS — Some of the text messages that a former BP drilling engineer deleted from his cellphone contained information that could have been evidence in the Justice Department's investigation of the company's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, an FBI agent testified Wednesday at the engineer's trial on obstruction of justice charges.
Investigators recovered a string of deleted text messages that Kurt Mix had sent to a supervisor while he worked on a team of experts who were trying to seal BP's blown-out Macondo well. Special Agent Kelly Bryson, the first witness at Mix's trial, said some of those messages helped show what BP engineers knew at the time about the amount of oil gushing out of the well.
Mix deleted from his iPhone a string of 331 text messages to the supervisor, Jonathan Sprague, in October 2010 and another string of 182 messages to BP contractor Wilson Arabie in August 2011.
"I would have presented those to the grand jury," said Bryson, who served on a task force that the Justice Department formed after the blowout triggered an explosion that killed 11 workers and spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf.
During cross-examination by one of Mix's attorneys, Bryson acknowledged that investigators received many emails and other documents that Mix had saved on his laptop. Mix's lawyers say their client preserved and turned over records containing the same information that he is accused of trying to conceal from the grand jury.
Bryson said the FBI's probe focused on "what was known publicly and what was known privately" inside BP in the weeks after the blowout. Information about oil flow rates was "absolutely crucial" to the investigation, she added.
Mix worked on BP's unsuccessful effort to halt the spill using a technique called "top kill" and had access to internal data about the rate that oil was flowing from the well. On May 26, 2010, the day the top kill attempt began, Mix estimated in a text to a supervisor that more than 630,000 gallons of oil per day were spilling — three times BP's public estimate of 210,000 gallons daily and a rate far greater than what the company said a top kill could handle.
Two days later, after it became clear that the top kill was failing, Sprague texted Mix to ask what "plan b" would be.
"Not sure — big powwow," Mix replied.
Arabie texted Mix on the same day to ask, "u still at it?"
"Yep, but taking another spanking," Mix responded.
Walter Becker, one of Mix's lawyers, said his client saved thousands of Macondo-related records on his laptop, including an email attachment containing flow-rate estimates on April 22, 2010, that were higher than what BP was publicly releasing at the time.
Bryson said the text message exchanges can be valuable to investigators because they are essentially records of private conversations that tend to be more candid.
During the trial's opening statements, Justice Department prosecutor Jennifer Saulino said Mix didn't share his higher flow-rate estimates with a team of outside scientists during a May 2010 meeting. She suggested his silence could have been his motive for later deleting his May 26 text message to Sprague.
Mix's lawyers, however, said he deleted the text messages for innocent reasons. Defense lawyer Joan McPhee said Mix deleted the string of messages with Sprague seconds after Sprague jokingly took his photo during a meeting and texted it to his phone.
Seventeen of the text messages that Mix exchanged with Sprague between April 26, 2010, and April 30, 2010, couldn't be recovered by a government expert. U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. instructed jurors that they can't give "undue importance" to those messages simply because the contents aren't known.
Mix, 52, of Katy, Texas, pleaded not guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
His trial is expected to last up to three weeks.
TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) officials are urging residents and visitors to use caution as patches of dense morning fog may affect north, central and southwest Florida roadways through Friday morning.
Expect foggy conditions as far west as Escambia County and as far southwest as Okeechobee and Collier counties, FDEM said.
“Warmer than normal overnight temperatures, high humidity levels and calm winds will combine to create favorable dense fog conditions across much of the Florida Big Bend and Peninsula early Thursday and Friday morning,” said Brad Schaaf, a meteorologist with FDEM. “This fog is expected to linger until mid-morning, and motorists should be prepared for sudden drops in visibility.”
GRACEVILLE -- Deputies arrested a man suspected of stabbing a woman in the head, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
Shawn Murry Ellsworth, 46, was booked into the Jackson County jail on a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. He is suspected of stabbing Lori Munford on Tuesday on Damascus Church Road.
Munford’s mother took her to Campbellton Graceville Hospital. She is in stable condition.
PANAMA CITY -- A Panama City Police Department incident report on the discovery of a man found dead Tuesday in an isolated area near St. Andrews Bay says the man had a gunshot wound to the head.
His death is being investigated as a suicide, police said Tuesday.
The body was discovered near the waterline around 2 p.m. Tuesday at the vacant research campus of Florida A & M University at the northern end of Frankford Avenue. An employee collecting material from the campus found the body unresponsive and called police after noticing a gunshot wound to his head.
Police found a 12-gauge shotgun under his body after the Medical Examiner’s Office removed it. The case is still under investigation pending a report from the Medical Examiner’s Office.
(The Blotter is a look at some of the unusual things that happen on the crime beat in Bay County.)
More than threats were flying through the air earlier this week in Panama City, and it's not just the bricks in the air you need to look out for.
Eggs were the order of the day in one incident, when Panama City police responded to a report of a disturbance. The complainant reported that a man and woman she barely knows stopped in front of her residence, with the man kicked her door and throwing three eggs at it.
The woman, she said, "stayed by the vehicle and yelled, 'I'm pregnant with your man's baby!' "
The complainant said the two got back in the car and fled. She said she has met the woman a few times but never had problems with her until recently, when the woman declared she "wants to be with her boyfriend, so she has been sending messages stating she was going to get her."
The same day and not that far away, police responded to a report of an injured man and arrived to find a man with cuts to his face.
The victim said another man threw a brick at him and missed, so he chased after him. Unfortunately, the victim said, he tripped over a brick during the foot pursuit and fell, cutting his face.
The Blotter is a look at some of the unusual things that happen on the crime beat in Bay County.
A man met up with a friend at a local restaurant.
They had dinner and then left together for a few hours in his friends car.
When he returned he immediately noticed someone had keyed his car. The damage to the hood was in the shape of a man’s genitals, and the side said, "(expletive) U Austin.”
There were no witnesses or suspects, and area surveillance cameras weren’t facing the car.
To make matters worse, the victim was not Austin. He doesn’t even know anybody named Austin.
PANAMA CITY — Prosecutors said Thursday they accomplished what they set out to do 10 months ago when they filed felony perjury charges against an expert witness who testified for a defendant they felt got off easy.
John Lloyd won’t be serving as an expert witness anytime soon after he entered a provisional plea of no contest to two felony counts of perjury Thursday, less than a week before attorneys were scheduled to select a jury to try his case. But the provisional plea means that if he completes his probation the charges ultimately will be dismissed.
The deal is described in a news release from the State Attorney’s Office as both a necessity and victory that came together after Judge Michael Overstreet dismissed three perjury counts charging Lloyd of falsely claiming to be a professor of medicine. The dismissal of those counts resulted in diminished optimism among prosecutors about the state’s ability to prove the remaining counts to a jury, according to the news release.
But prosecutors said they still got what they wanted: a prohibition against Lloyd testifying or consulting in criminal cases. One of the terms of Lloyd’s probation prohibits him from testifying until at least Christmas next year.
“Prohibiting the defendant from falsely testifying in future criminal matters was a high priority in this case; therefore the state successfully achieved this objective with the resolution,” the statement states.
Lloyd pleaded no contest to counts charging him with lying when he testified he had handled brains when he attended autopsies in other parts of the state and that he held an unpaid faculty appointment at a Florida college. All other charges against him were dismissed or consolidated.
Michael Grabner, an attorney representing Lloyd, was unavailable for comment Thursday afternoon.
Lloyd was arrested in February after he testified for the defense in the case of Timothy Foxworth, who was accused of aggravated child abuse, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Foxworth, whose son was an infant when nearly died after suffering brain injuries that he is unlikely to ever fully recover from, was ultimately convicted of the less severe charge of child abuse and he was sentenced to four years.
TALLAHASSEE— The Florida Supreme Court is giving no clear indication on how it will rule on the medical marijuana ballot initiative.
The court heard oral arguments Thursday on the proposed state constitutional amendment, which state Attorney General Pam Bondi is trying to block from the 2014 general election ballot. Her office argues the ballot summary is misleading.
The amendment calls for legalizing the use of marijuana under some medical circumstances and would require a 60 percent voter majority to pass.
The crux of the debate Thursday centered on the difference between “debilitating disease” and “debilitating medical condition.” The ballot summary uses the phrase “debilitating disease” to describe the conditions under which medical marijuana use would be allowed in the state. However, Parkinson's disease is the only mention of disease in the amendment’s language, said Solicitor General Allen Winsor, who represented Bondi’s office.
Winsor argued voters would view “debilitating disease” as narrow in scope — only ailments such as cancer and Parkinson’s disease — but the ballot initiative language allows for pot to be prescribed for a host of conditions, including football injuries and back pain.
But Justice R. Fred Lewis told Winsor that he was using “circular reasoning.” Lewis seemed sympathetic to the amendment and said regardless of phrasing, a doctor must adhere to the amendment’s provision that the “benefits outweigh the risks” when prescribing marijuana.
“That doesn’t seem to be a logical reading of — of much of anything,” Lewis told Winsor.
Need 685,000 signatures
People United for Medical Marijuana is pushing the amendment, led by prominent trial lawyer John Morgan. While the group works to round up nearly 685,000 signatures by February to get the amendment on the ballot, it must contend with the court battle. The court must rule by April 1.
People United’s lawyer, Jon Mills, said voters will understand that both diseases and other ailments qualify for marijuana prescriptions, once they read the title and summary together. The title states “Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions.”
Justice Barbara Pariente also had sympathy for the ballot initiative’s plight. She asked what the difference between “disease” and “condition” was and how it represented a “fatal flaw” that should keep the amendment off the ballot.
“If I’m debilitated because of something medical, whether I call it a condition or a disease, that’s what I’m concerned about,” she said.
Pariente said having “certain medical conditions” in the title is enough for voters to know marijuana could be prescribed for back pain.
Conversely, two judges had reservations about the amendment. Chief Justice Ricky Polston was worried it would open the door to widespread marijuana prescriptions.
“It would seem like … if a student’s just stressed over exams and they go in and see a doctor,” then they could be prescribed marijuana, he said.
Justice Charles Canady was more openly opposed. He was particularly critical of the ballot language’s reference to federal law. It concludes: “Applies only to Florida law. Does not authorize violations of federal law or any non-medical use, possession or production of marijuana.”
Mills said the ballot sentences put voters “on notice” that nothing in the amendment violates federal law.
“But it does,” Canady replied, adding, “It certainly authorizes conduct under state law, which would be conduct that violates federal law.”
Canady said the federal law reference was a “confusing statement” and likely would lead voters to believe the amendment is in line with federal law.
Although all marijuana use is illegal under federal law, the U.S. Justice Department announced in August it would not sue to block marijuana laws in the 20 states and District of Columbia where use has been legalized.
Mills said there’s an expectation for the voter to bring some knowledge into the voting booth. He cited a previous state Supreme Court case dealing with casinos where the court ruled voters were expected to know that casinos were not authorized.
“I think we can expect the voters to understand something about the context of this,” Mills said.
The other judges on the seven-member panel were more restrained during the hearing, offering little indication on where they’d fall when the ruling comes down.
Gaetz, Weatherford oppose
Meanwhile, state Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, and state House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, have backed Bondi.
Floridavoters see things differently, supporting the legalization of medical marijuana 82 percent to 16 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released last month.
The state attorney general’s office also has raised a third issue with the amendment: It violates the single-subject rule. Winsor briefly argued Thursday the amendment would accomplish multiple separate policy objectives, which would disqualify it. He said it would let doctors prescribe marijuana, outline a state health-department-managed regulatory structure, and give prescribing physicians immunity.
“The single-subject rule is a rule of restraint and the purpose was to stop things that don’t necessarily go together from being put into an amendment together, and it’s unique to the citizen initiative to protect against precipitous change,” Winsor said.
Supporters have argued in court filings the amendment does not violate the single-subject rule because “it has a specific and unified purpose” and would “not have a substantial effect on multiple provisions of the Constitution or multiple functions of Florida government.”
PANAMA CITY -- A man suspected of bilking a 94-year-old woman out of more than $100,000 was arrested in Arkansas Monday on charges of exploiting the elderly, according to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies believe Henry Don Ogden, 46, fled Bay County when he realized investigators were going over his bank records. In those bank records, deputies found deposits that seemed to coincide with withdrawals made from the victim’s bank account.
Investigators believe Ogden befriended the victim and gained her trust in order to get access to her bank account. He would take her to the bank. He would represent himself as having performed work for the victim. At times he claimed he was her grandson.
Between February 2012 and May 2013, he is suspected of taking $131,789.56. He was arrested in Randolph County, Ark. Monday with assistance from the sheriff there and the U.S. Marshals. He is currently in the Randolph County Jail waiting for extradition to Bay County to face an exploitation of the elderly charge.
The Blotter is a look at some of the unusual things that happen on the crime beat in
A man called police because people had been harassing him in person and over the phone. He wanted to know how to have someone trespassed, so police gave him that information.
The man called back 30 minutes later to report that they were at his home again. He had invited them.
Police spoke the man suspected of harassment, and he told them he was simply trying to collect money the man owed him for drugs.
The drug dealer had an arrest warrant, but police weren’t particularly happy about being used to protect a drug user from people he owed money too. They did trespass the drug dealer.
“[He] was contacted later to sign the trespass warning and advised in the future he will not be allowed to use the department to keep the drug dealers from collected the money he owes them, especially if he calls them over to facilitate the trespass warning being issued.”
PANAMA CITY -- Deputies with the Bay County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man who was present Monday when a 19-year-old woman was shot in the abdomen in a Panama City home.
Renaldo Williams, 19, of Panama City, was arrested on suspicion of tampering with evidence for allegedly taking the gun and the shell casing involved in the shooting of Jesi Mack.
Blake Youngblood, 19, was charged after the shooting with evidence tampering, unlawful exhibition of a firearm and evidence tampering. He eventually admitted to shooting Mack accidentally because he believed his gun was not loaded.
Mack told investigators she didn’t want to press charges, BCSO said.