Charges reduced against lawyer stunned with Taser and arrested at code enforcement hearing

TAMPA — The lawyer accused of felonies after being shocked by a Taser stun gun at a code enforcement meeting last November now faces a lighter charge.

On Monday, the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office filed only a misdemeanor charge of resisting an officer without violence against attorney Carl Roland Hayes.

Because the case is pending, Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi would not explain the scaled-back charges.

Tampa police initially arrested Hayes, 53, on felony charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and obstructing or opposing an officer with violence, plus a misdemeanor trespassing.

They said Hayes slapped Officer Dan Miller's face as he escorted the attorney out of a city Code Enforcement Board meeting. Hayes had gone there to appeal a citation he received for not complying with historic preservation codes on his home.

Miller stunned Hayes twice with his Taser. A police captain found that the officer acted appropriately.

Hayes' attorney, Steve Romine, disagreed from the start with the police position.

"I think the state rightfully found that the felony charges did not merit prosecution," Romine said Monday. "Mr. Hayes never struck the officer. The Taser was unlawfully used on Mr. Hayes."

Romine doesn't think the case merits any charges at all.

"We'll be interested in seeing the officer's reports," Romine said, "and what the basis of this obstruction (charge) could possibly be."

Colleen Jenkins can be reached at cjenkins@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3337.

Charges reduced against lawyer stunned with Taser and arrested at code enforcement hearing 03/16/09 [Last modified: Monday, March 16, 2009 11:38pm]

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