Disgraced Panhandle sheriff could face 60 more years in prison

PENSACOLA

Ex-sheriff could face 60 more years

Former Okaloosa County Sheriff Charlie Morris pleaded no contest to state racketeering and money laundering charges Tuesday, a move that could add up to 60 years in state prison to the federal term he is serving.

Sabra Thornton, a woman prosecutors have described as Morris' mistress, was found guilty Tuesday of grand theft and could face up to 61 years in prison when she is sentenced. Prosecutors allege she was paid for a government job she did not do and accepted expensive gifts from Morris.

The once-popular Panhandle sheriff headed Florida's powerful Sheriff's Association until his arrest by FBI agents at a Las Vegas casino last year. He had $35,000 in cash with him that agents traced to an employee bonus kickback scheme. Investigators said the money came from Homeland Security and Justice Department training grants.

JACKSONVILLE

Officers accused of staging burglary

Two Jacksonville police officers have been charged with filing a false police report and official misconduct after authorities say they staged a burglary at what they thought was a drug house.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office reports that 43-year-old Sgt. Marc E. Garza and 32-year-old Officer David Michael Cervone made up the report in August after moving a window air conditioning unit and climbing into the empty home. No drugs were found.

TALLAHASSEE

Court to reprimand judge for YouTube ad

The Florida Supreme Court had agreed to publicly reprimand a Tallahassee judge for misleading campaign claims.

The justices Thursday ruled unanimously in the case of Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey, who has admitted violating ethics rules. One of Dempsey's 2008 campaign ads on YouTube urged voters to re-elect her although she had not previously been elected. She was appointed in 2005 by then-Gov. Jeb Bush.

Disgraced Panhandle sheriff could face 60 more years in prison 02/04/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 4, 2010 9:33pm]

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