Monday, December 11, 2017
News Roundup

Court officials increase staffing to handle RNC arrests

TAMPA — Both early birds and night owls who get in trouble during the Republican National Convention will be accommodated by a triple shift of judges, prosecutors and public defenders camping out for RNC week at the Falkenburg Road Jail.

Officials have no idea how many arrests to expect from RNC protests Aug. 27-31, but one worst-case estimate is 1,000.

If the worst happens, the courts and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office say they have plenty of judges and jail cells. Judges will convene at 8 a.m., 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. every day and will be prepared to stay late.

The first step will be to entirely fence off the downtown courthouse and annex, as well as the State Attorney's Office and Public Defender's Office on Aug. 24.

No juries will be summoned convention week. Court proceedings will be parceled out to the Falkenburg Road Jail and satellite offices.

The plan was actually developed years ago for natural disasters like hurricanes. It has never been needed. The Republican convention and any "waves" of violence or other lawbreaking, "is a good opportunity to test it out," says the 13th Judicial Circuit's Trial Court administrator, Michael Bridenback.

Court officials won't neglect the everyday, run-of-the-mill crooks, either.

At Falkenburg, Judge Walter Heinrich will conduct his usual first-appearance court every morning at 8. He'll hear a mixed docket of routine arrests and any protester arrests. Depending on circumstances, arrested protesters could plead guilty to misdemeanors or they could seek bond and help from public defenders.

They won't be in the same room as the judge. They'll appear before him from large gallery rooms at Falkenburg and Orient Road jails by way of closed-circuit TV.

Other judges will take over at 2 and 8 p.m. All will be authorized to go late.

Other court proceedings, including hearings for domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, child-support enforcement and the emergency shelterings of abused and neglected children, will take place at satellite offices.

No hearings will be held at the downtown courthouse, but a security staff will be on hand. Anyone who shows up will be directed to the right place.

John Barry can be reached at (813) 226-3383 or [email protected]

Comments
Veteran 3B Evan Longoria as uncertain as anyone about Rays’ plans

Veteran 3B Evan Longoria as uncertain as anyone about Rays’ plans

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Uncertain with all the talk about potentially rebuilding if the Rays would go as far as trading franchise cornerstone 3B Evan Longoria?So is he."I don’t know what to think, really,’’ Longoria said via text message Sunday night as t...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Sunny day floods become new norm

WASHINGTON — The tide watchers start patrolling whenever the celestial forces align. From coast to coast, hundreds of tide watchers come out with their cameras to record the latest ‘‘king tides,’’ brief episodes of tidal flooding that could become th...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Tiny snowmen appear in Florida as Sunshine State gets snow

Tiny snowmen appear in Florida as Sunshine State gets snow

The "Welcome to Florida" sign in the northwest part of the state was covered in light snow as winter weather dipped into the Sunshine State. It was part of a winter storm that hit the Deep South over the weekend and left thousands of people without p...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Florida professional wrestler arrested, charged with battery of his wife, also a professional wrestler

Florida professional wrestler arrested, charged with battery of his wife, also a professional wrestler

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Wrestler Rich Swann is being held without bail in a Florida jail after he was arrested and charged with battery and false imprisonment. Swann, who is 26 and a former WWE cruiserweight champion, was arrested Saturday. According to ...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Updated: 6 hours ago
Getting around Cuban customs control

Getting around Cuban customs control

HAVANA, CUBA — Ernesto Machado will never forget that cold morning in 1968 at José Martí International Airport in Havana, when an immigration official seized his parents’ gold wedding bands and ripped up his passport."This is property of the revoluti...
Updated: 7 hours ago
FSU beats Tulane in Tampa, stays unbeaten in basketball

FSU beats Tulane in Tampa, stays unbeaten in basketball

Updated: 7 hours ago
Struggling Florida citrus growers face tough decisions

Struggling Florida citrus growers face tough decisions

WINTER HAVEN — Although the 2017-18 citrus harvest has barely begun, growers are already planning for the 2018-19 season, and they have critical decisions to make in the coming months that will affect next season’s crop and perhaps others in years to...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Bucs-Lions journal: Backup lineman was most unlikely of targets

Bucs-Lions journal: Backup lineman was most unlikely of targets

TAMPA — The Bucs’ unlikely comeback to erase a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter was capped by the most unlikely of targets. Tampa Bay tied the game when Jameis Winston threw a 2-yard pass to 305-pound Leonard Wester, a backup lineman who lined ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
New normal: Firefighting at Christmas; U.S. homeless population increases 1st time since 2010; Athletes, celebrities rally for bullied boy; more in U.S. news

New normal: Firefighting at Christmas; U.S. homeless population increases 1st time since 2010; Athletes, celebrities rally for bullied boy; more in U.S. news

CaliforniaNew normal: Christmas firefightingA flare-up on the western edge of Southern California’s largest and most destructive wildfire sent residents fleeing Sunday. Fire crews saved several homes as unpredictable gusts sent the blaze churning dee...
Updated: 9 hours ago