Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

With DUI case resolved, Hernando teacher awaits word on whether he will keep his job

Jesse T. Mockler has previously faced drug possession and trafficking charges.

Jesse T. Mockler has previously faced drug possession and trafficking charges.

BROOKSVILLE — A Hernando County teacher charged with driving under the influence earlier this year has resolved his case. Now school district officials will decide whether Jesse T. Mockler, who has a prior arrest record, should keep his job.

Mockler, 36, pleaded no contest last week to DUI and refusing to submit to a breath test. County Judge Kurt Hitzemann adjudicated the Powell Middle School teacher guilty and sentenced him to one year of probation. He must also complete 50 hours of community service, and his driver's license was revoked for six months.

Mockler must submit records to the school district showing the disposition of the case, said Heather Martin, executive director of business services.

"Once the information is reviewed, the superintendent will determine what employment action will be taken, if any," Martin said.

Mockler would have the right to a hearing if superintendent Lori Romano recommends to the School Board that he be fired.

Mockler's latest misdemeanor convictions alone likely would not prompt the district to fire him. But the totality of an employee's criminal record can be taken into account when deciding what disciplinary action to take, Martin said.

In 2007, Mockler was charged with DUI, drug trafficking and possession of illegal drugs after a deputy found 12 oxycodone pills in his pocket. School officials suspended him after the felony drug charge, but Mockler returned to his job after accepting a plea deal that averted a felony conviction.

In May 2012, Mockler was charged with misdemeanor battery and criminal mischief after admitting to punching his girlfriend in the arm and smacking her in the face, records show. Mockler remained in the classroom, and the charges were eventually dropped after the woman asked prosecutors not to move forward with the case.

The more recent DUI arrest came early on the morning of Feb. 3, after a Florida Highway Patrol trooper stopped Mockler for speeding on U.S. 19. Mockler failed field sobriety exercises and showed signs of "extreme impairment," the trooper wrote in the report. Belligerent and profane, Mockler admitted he was high and said that he was "an alcoholic and needed help," the report said.

Mockler could not be reached for comment. His attorney, Michael Mastrogiovanni, did not return messages.

With DUI case resolved, Hernando teacher awaits word on whether he will keep his job 07/24/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 8:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Editorial: The unknown price tags in the mayor's race


    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has been busy promoting all sorts initiatives in the months leading up to the Nov. 7 election, doubling down on his progressive agenda without spending much money or generating much controversy. But make no mistake, the cost will come due after the election. Without a change in …

    The mayor is determined to get artist Janet Echelman to create a sculpture for the new Pier. But the cost would be much higher than what is allocated. Above is Echelman’s As If It Were Already Here in Boston.
  2. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  3. Judge won't cut prison term of man who pleads obesity


    TAMPA — A claim of obesity won't shave time off a Tampa man's prison sentence.

    Duane Crithfield and Stephen Donaldson Sr. were sentenced to prison after marketing a fraudulent offshore tax strategy known as a "Business Protection Plan" to medical practices, offering doctors and others coverage against unlikely events such as a kidnapping.
  4. Advocates for charter, public schools argue their cases at education forum


    TAMPA — Advocates of charter schools argued for diversity in education while supporters of traditional public schools charged that state funding is stacked against them during a forum Friday titled "Choices in Education."

    Schools such as Winthrop Charter School deserve greater public support, their operators say, because they offer a choice in education that is popular among parents. Public school advocates say charter and voucher schools represent a double standard in accountability and enrollment. [WILL VRAGOVIC  |  Times]
  5. Editorial: UF shows how to preserve free speech


    The University of Florida was forced to navigate a treacherous terrain of constitutional concerns and public safety this week, all in a glaring public spotlight. In the end, Thursday's appearance by Richard Spencer was a success — as much as an unwelcome visit from a notorious white nationalist can be. The …