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Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015

Elaine Silvestrini

Tribune Staff

Retired lawmen aid in defense of former federal agent


TAMPA — Former federal agent Robert Quinn pleaded guilty to a federal crime on Friday, but he still has the admiration and loyalty of fellow retired lawmen.

Tampa mobster applies for reduced sentence under new guidelines

- A capo in the Gambino crime family prosecuted nine years ago in Tampa hopes recent changes in federal drug sentences mean he won’t die in prison.

Former Tampa police informant gets 12 years; judge calls her a ‘failure’


TAMPA — Whenever Rita Girven got in trouble, she called in her chits, getting help from Tampa police for all the assistance she had given them.

Retired drug agent pleads guilty to lying to FBI


TAMPA — A retired federal drug agent pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI, admitting he tried to hide the actions of a fellow former agent who was working to free a drug trafficker.

Models sue Caliente nudist resort: Stop using our images

- The 16 successful models say they are paid tens of thousands of dollars for each use of one of their images. A lawsuit says the Land O' Lakes business didn't get their permission and asks for more than $1.6 million in compe...

Floridians’ inability to afford lawyers a ‘crisis,’ says Bar president


TAMPA — Florida Bar President Ray Abadin says the inability of the majority of Floridians to afford legal representation is at “crisis proportions.”

Judge: Cortnee Brantley to remain free despite violating release conditions

- A month after a federal appellate court denied her appeal, and after she repeatedly violated the conditions of her release, Cortnee Brantley will remain free, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Fantasy sports face tough odds as Tampa investigation puts future in doubt

- A Tampa-based federal investigation into daily fantasy sports games has put the future of the multibillion-dollar industry at risk.

18 months for Tampa man in Facebook investment scheme


TAMPA — A Tampa man was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in federal prison for fraud in an investment scheme involving Facebook shares.

Retired DEA agent admits lying for friend who helped drug dealer

- Robert Quinn is prepared to face a possible five-year sentence for aiding a friend, who was handed a bag containing more than $200,000 to help a marijuana importer win release from prison, court documents say.

Prisons freeing thousands as drug penalties rolled back


Today is the day thousands of federal inmates are scheduled for release from prison nationwide, including more than 300 in Florida, under a rollback of federal drug penalties.

Disgraced ex-Tampa police officers indicted on tax fraud charges

- The possibility of an indictment for Eric and Lajoyce Houston has been in the air for months, as authorities disclosed in court documents evidence of tax refund fraud being committed by a close circle of former Tampa police...

Court filings: ABC Liquor store employee robs another ABC Liquor store


TAMPA — An employee of the ABC Liquor Store on West Kennedy Boulevard called in to his workplace in April to let them know couldn’t come in because his mother was sick for several days.

Report: IRS’ tax refund fraud detection system vulnerable to hackers


TAMPA — The new computer system the IRS is using to detect identity theft refund fraud may be vulnerable to hackers, according to a recent

IRS adding ID validation steps to shield tax returns


Next year, filing federal tax returns will be more like getting access to bank accounts and credit card statements, part of an initiative to fight identity theft refund fraud.

Despite laws, synthetic pot continues to bedevil authorities

- Synthetic marijuana and other drugs continue to bedevil authorities, who say some progress is being made in the battle against unregulated chemicals that are landing teeangers and young adults in emergency rooms with horrif...

Tampa teen pleads guilty, gets probation in Cabela dog abuse case


TAMPA — A teen who shot the dog Cabela pleaded guilty Wednesday to aggravated animal cruelty and was sentenced to four years of probation.

Video captures USF lineman firing at a dorm, bail raised to $32,500


— University of South Florida freshman reserve offensive lineman Benjamin Knox was captured on video surveillance shooting a gun at a campus dormitory, officials said Monday.

Disobedient juror’s punishment: Keep reporting for jury duty


TAMPA — A former jury candidate who disobeyed a judge’s order is now facing the possibility of reporting for jury duty every other week for six months.

It’s basic black for Florida’s judges says Supreme Court


When it comes to fashion, the Florida Supreme Court wants judges to stick to basic black in the courtroom.

PTSD-afflicted veteran gets 15 years for wounding deputy


TAMPA — When jurors appeared on the brink of deadlocking, a Marine veteran took a plea deal Friday evening and was sentenced to 15 years in state prison for shooting a sheriff’s deputy in 2011.

Judge: Suspect in murder in Poland must stay in jail until extradition


TAMPA — A suspect in a murder in Poland won’t be released from jail before he is extradited, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Juror in Buju Banton trial guilty of researching case during trial


TAMPA — For the second time in four days, a juror in Tampa was found guilty of contempt on Tuesday for violating a judge’s order that she not do outside research on a criminal case.

Nude photos stolen from cellphone haunt Tampa woman

- A woman who went to a cellphone store for a new phone wound up having personal photos stolen and shared by store employees.

Jury candidate in Dontae Morris trial admits to contempt


TAMPA — A former jury candidate pleaded guilty to contempt of court Friday, saying she was so overhwhelmed at the possibility she’d have to recommend the death penalty that she violated a judge’s ord...

Fisherman sues Tampa after police detained him during open-carry event

- A Polk County man says he was exercising his right to openly carry a gun while fishing at Ballast Point Park in June when police detained him.

Attorney says jailed Polish suspect should be freed


Until his arrest in July, Stanislaw Kasprzak was homeless, living out of motels in the Tampa and Orlando areas.

Sarasota woman latest to file suit against Volkswagen


A Sarasota County woman who bought a 2014 Volkswagen Passat has joined the dozens of people filing lawsuits against the German carmaker for misleading them over emissions from the company’s diesel cars.

Tampa trio in DUI setup casts light on legal discipline


Some lawyers steal from clients.