Client of Pinellas lawyer ordered to take a drug test will get a new trial

(01/22/2007 Clearwater, FL) Pinellas Circuit Judge Chris Helinger presides over a pre-trial hearing. (ATOYIA DEANS | Times)
(01/22/2007 Clearwater, FL) Pinellas Circuit Judge Chris Helinger presides over a pre-trial hearing. (ATOYIA DEANS | Times)
Published March 6 2018
Updated March 6 2018

LARGO — A Clearwater man will get a new trial after he was represented by a lawyer whose behavior in court last month caught the attention of a judge who ordered him to take a drug test.

On Feb. 13, Derrick Floyd, 32, was on trial for several felony charges, including trafficking in oxycodone and hydromorphone, cocaine possession, marijuana possession, and fleeing and eluding police.

JUDGE TO LAWYER: ‘I am very concerned that you have conducted this trial high’

After the jury found Floyd guilty, Pinellas Circuit judge Chris Helinger questioned his lawyer, Tobias Pardue, about what she called "bizarre" behavior in the courtroom. In court records, Helinger noted that Pardue was making snorting sounds and resting his head on the lectern while questioning witnesses. He also made remarks to the jury about evidence that was never submitted in the trial and left the courthouse during jury deliberations without the judge’s permission.

Helinger ordered Pardue to take a drug test, which revealed the presence of two substances. Since Pardue is on several prescribed medications, additional drug analysis will be discussed at a hearing next month.

Floyd’s new lawyer, Kelly McCabe, requested that her client get a new trial due to Pardue’s ineffective counsel. Helinger granted her motion. The new trial is scheduled for Aug. 8.

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