New investigations of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office reveal that narcotics officers gained inappropriate access to private electric power bills from Progress Energy. Later the Deputies used fake state attorney subpoenas to cover their tracks according to the Tampa Bay Times. The narcotics officers are also accused of telling lies to gain entry into homes, of giving false testimony under oath to obtain warrants and of using secret video feeds to spy on shoppers at a store in order to gain investigative information for marijuana grow house cases in Pinellas County, a part of Tampa Bay where your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney warily lives a day to day existence.
Currently sixteen separate internal affairs investigations of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Narcotics Division are moving forward with six new investigations launched within the past week as the newly anointed Sheriff, only in office for a few months, heads into election. Is the Sheriff throwing the narcotics division “under the bus,” as his recent, now resigned, former head of the narcotics division believes. Or is the Sheriff somehow an innocent bystander just trying to clean up the mess?
“You know what you are doing is wrong and you are covering yourself on the backside,” Sheriff Gualtieri said. “You don’t fully inform the state attorney and have them go through hoops to get information on something you already have.
Here is a Training Bulletin for Police from a Jacksonville Florida Law Enforcement agency which clearly balances the rights of citizens to have personal information protected against the need of Law Enforcement to conduct appropriate criminal investigations as does this bulletin from FDLE. Should PCSO need help I know a Clearwater Criminal Drug Attorney who’d happily talk to the Deputies about the need for a proper balance if they’ll promise not to frisk me first.
The only certain thing is that laws may have been broken. When a law enforcement officer falsely swears under oath or steals personal information, that officer should be prosecuted just like anyone else would be. A GRAND JURY should be convened to investigate possible criminal acts as well as any systemic corruption within the Pinellas Sheriff’s Office and the Pinellas State Attorney’s Office, which is somehow still moving forward with the marijuana grow house cases despite the lies and illegal activity. All of the cases involving these dishonest Deputies should be re-evalutated.
|Jacques-Louis David, The Death of Marat, 1793|