Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Under Fire Again

Tampa Bay Criminal Attorney and Former State Prosecutor Melinda Morris of the Morris Law Firm discusses the recent turmoil affecting the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.


In late 2011 the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit carried out a questionable sting operation on citizens that frequented a legal hydroponics gardening store in Largo.  More recently, an internal investigation found that patrol officers were loafing while on duty and misleading their supervisors as to their location.  Now, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has transferred Capt. Greg Handsel out of the lead role overseeing the Administrative Investigations Unit as the Sheriff has stated that he, “wanted a fresh set of eyes on everything.”
Pinellas County Sheriff's Office badge

Why This Matters To You:

The recent turmoil at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office places potential doubt on how the law enforcement operation is run and whether it is operating transparently and in a fair manner to alleged offenders.  The Tampa Bay Times recently analyzed the operations of the Sheriff’s internal affairs group and found that there were failures in following procedure to produce a complete investigation on several levels.

As a result of the questionable tactics in the marijuana grow house arrests, approximately 18 cases have had to be dropped by the Pinellas County State Attorney’s office.  Officers that intentionally mislead their supervisors as to their whereabouts may not be trusted to honestly and ethically enforce the law.  It now appears that with the personnel changes in the Sheriff’s Internal Investigations office that the operation is having issues policing itself.

With the above facts considered, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s office may be using questionable tactics and producing potentially inaccurate affidavits of arrest, which may be grounds for the dismissal of the criminal charges.

What To Do Next:

If you have been arrested by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in the Tampa Bay area, contact the Morris Law Firm, a St. Petersburg based Criminal Defense Law Firm to discuss possible defenses and specific strategies that may exist in your case.  Call the Morris Law Firm at 727-388-4736 to discuss your case directly with an attorney, or fill out our Online Form (found on our main web site) to be contacted for a free initial consultation.  The Morris Law Firm can help.  Attorney Melinda Morris has specific knowledge and experience in representing alleged felony offenders throughout the Tampa Bay Florida area including Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties.