Our prisons are filled with people who shouldn’t be there.  As this blog has noted minimum mandatory drug sentencing destroys more lives than do the drugs that are outlawed. And the extraordinary sentences served by nonviolent drug offenders have undermined American claims that our system of justice is fair and impartial, especially in Florida where one can be convicted without knowledge of drugs. Those involved in the criminal justice system such as prosecutors, judges and even Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyers find that long sentences for nonviolent drug offenses are no longer extraordinary in a grinding process that continues to destroy lives at a blinding pace.

Van Gogh's The Prison Courtyard shows that wasted time of prison. We must stop mandatory minimum drug sentencing in Clearwater, Largo, St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay, Florida
Van Gogh, The Prison Courtyard

 Today the NYT notes a recent Justice Department report that “public safety can be maximized without maximizing prison population.” Who knew? It’s a little late for the 218, 000 federal prisoners waiting for a justice system to catch up to common sense. And too bad for the many prisoners held in Tampa Bay, Florida for nonviolent drug crimes. 

Your Clearwater Drug Defense Attorney recommends the following actions:

  • The minimum mandatory sentence laws should either be abolished or be applicable only for violent crimes.
  • By law prosecutors should be given less discretion in making charging decisions that force plea agreements and high sentences because of the fear that other charges will be added to an indictment or charging information.
  • Our Judges need to be given more discretion to reduce minimum mandatory sentences.
  • The Federal Bureau of Prisons should be given more incentives and direction to allow old prisoners, sick prisoners and nonviolent drug prisoners out of prison where there is little likelihood of recidivism without the need for Court Hearings unless either party objects to a reduction of sentence.


Sometimes you wonder how our Tampa Bay Judges keep their sanity. Not only do our esteemed Judges have to deal with argumentative Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorneys, braying prosecutors, belligerent bailiffs, but now even the once meek jurors jurors of Tampa Bay are giving our esteemed Judges trouble. After admonishing perspective jurors not to talk to each other about a Defendant who is facing multiple murder trials including a significant murder trial where he is implicated in the deaths of two Tampa Bay Florida officers, jurors just couldn’t resist some chatter (and chatter and further chatter).

Gossiping Jurors cause year delay in murder trial in Tampa Florida
Norman Rockwell, The Gossip

As a recent news article noted:
The judge said the rescheduled trial, will probably not take place for another year and may have to be moved outside the Tampa area.

Announcing his decision on Wednesday, Hillsborough Circuit Judge William Fuente didn’t criticize any individual jurors for gossiping, but said, “If you did, you know who you are. You should be ashamed.” … One offending juror confessed, “I guess I don’t have good self-control.”

Press reports further noted that as many as sixteen of the jurors participated in the gossip directly or inadvertently by just happening to listen as others spoke. Your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer has some special advice for future jurors – just gossip about each other.


What happens to a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Deputy who is demeaning and abrasive to citizens while failing to properly investigate DUI cases? Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyers might think he’d be lucky if he wasn’t fired. But instead he was merely assigned to be a bailiff. And he isn’t happy about it. Now he’s appealing that decision so that he can investigate DUI cases again. 
According to press reports the Pinellas County Deputy : 

Clearwater law enforcement officer in 1950, a Clearwater Criminal Lawyer thinks they should still honor the uniform & the badge
Honoring uniform & badge, 1950

According to an inter-office disciplinary memo, Hubbard was also suspended for 160 hours and had to undergo a fitness-for-duty evaluation…Internal affairs officials investigated 38 arrests … In 24 of those cases, the investigation found, the DUI charge was either dropped or reduced because either the suspect’s blood-alcohol content was barely at or under the legal limit of .08 or the driver refused the tests after interacting with Hubbard…“Upon review of videos relating to several of your DUI cases, you were found to be demeaning and abrasive towards citizens,” Hubbard was told in a disciplinary memo…

Would you want that Deputy investigating you? This Tampa Bay Criminal Defense Blog has noted that there is plenty of misconduct in Tampa Bay law enforcement such as Sheriff’s Deputies destroying evidence, police officers caught doing crimes, and Pinellas Deputies using fake subpoenas to obtain evidence

When his conduct is compared to some of the others in local law enforcement this Deputy must believe he is an example of rectitude, discipline and excellence within the force. At least one Clearwater Defense Criminal Attorney would set the standards for police officers and sheriff’s deputies in Tampa Bay at a higher level than not being caught in felonious conduct by firing – not reassigning – officers who don’t respect citizen’s rights.