Saturday, February 24, 2018
News Roundup

Hillsborough to consider expanding civil citations for youth

TAMPA -- Years after Hillsborough created a civil citation program to reduce youth arrests, the county's Juvenile Justice Board will meet later this month to discuss expanding the program.

Currently, law enforcement officers who catch people younger than 18 committing petty theft, trespassing, or several other minor offenses can issue them a civil citation rather than arresting them. But juveniles found with small amounts of marijuana for the first time have no such luck — they face misdemeanor charges and a trip to a Juvenile Assessment Center.

Of the 59 Florida counties with civil citation programs for youth, Hillsborough is the only one that excludes misdemeanor marijuana possession.

But a recent report from the Tallahassee-based Project on Accountable Justice is renewing local discussions about whether to bring Hillsborough's policies in line with the majority of the state. On May 15, the board will meet to discuss the report's findings.

In a draft version of their report, researchers analyzed state-wide data on children who received civil citations and compared it to those who were arrested and went through diversion programs, such as teen court. They found that youth given citations were significantly less likely to commit another offense — four percent of them re-offended compared to nine percent of children who completed diversion programs.

"From a pragmatic perspective, evidence supports the use of civil citation as an effective strategy statewide, even for drug offenses," the draft report states.

Although Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee continues to oppose expanding the civil citation program to low-level marijuana possession, it's possible such a proposal could receive the backing of the State Attorney's Office.

"We don't have any problem with them going into the civil citation program, as long as there's some meat to it," said prosecutor Doug Covington, who oversees misdemeanor and juvenile cases for the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office. Covington said he would like to see a program that still requires juveniles to appear before a judge and be evaluated for drug use.

Comments
Police: Registered sex offender who attacked Marriott hotel worker arrested

Police: Registered sex offender who attacked Marriott hotel worker arrested

TAMPA — A registered sex offender was arrested early Saturday morning by Tampa Police in connection with a hotel worker who was attacked earlier this week, the department said.John Eckhard, 41, was arrested about 1:30 a.m. on charges of aggravated ba...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Orchestra explores spirit of Florida and the U.S. with ‘Triptych’ and ‘New World’ Symphony

Orchestra explores spirit of Florida and the U.S. with ‘Triptych’ and ‘New World’ Symphony

ST. PETERSBURG — One of the more important programs in the Florida Orchestra’s season combined Antonin Dvorak’s best known symphony with the debut of a major commission. Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, better known as the "New World," reaches to the roots o...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Parents accused of torturing their 13 children face new charges

Parents accused of torturing their 13 children face new charges

The 13 Turpin siblings gained their freedom last month after one of them escaped through a window and called 911, ending years of imprisonment under parents accused of starving and chaining them to their beds in a putrid home not far from Los Angeles...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
Activists call for tech companies to drop NRA’s digital TV channel

Activists call for tech companies to drop NRA’s digital TV channel

Activists are calling for Apple, Amazon, Google and other streaming companies to drop the National Rifle Association’s digital TV channel in the wake of the mass shooting at a Florida school last week, putting the companies in the delicate position o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pregnant mother Paige Howard wins women’s Gasparilla 15K

Pregnant mother Paige Howard wins women’s Gasparilla 15K

TAMPA — Initially, Tampa's Paige Howard was a little reticent about joining the pre-dawn throng at the starting line of Saturday's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K.On a morning when temperatures began in the mid-60s and climbed, Howard's ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Concerned about gun posts, dad turns in son’s phones. Cops find something else.

Concerned about gun posts, dad turns in son’s phones. Cops find something else.

After the Parkland school shooting that horrified the nation, a Miami father told police he was worried about his son’s disturbing posts with guns on Instagram and Snapchat.So he gave investigators his son’s smartphones — and they found child porn, c...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

Roughly 20 minutes into Saturday morning's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K, reigning champ A.J. Richmond glanced over his left shoulder to former college teammate Jon Mott and flashed a quick hand signal."He was telling me that the two guys in...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Trump processes Fla. students’ grief as president, parent

Trump processes Fla. students’ grief as president, parent

WASHINGTON — Once again, it was the images of children that propelled President Donald Trump to act. Trump spent the first days after the Feb. 14 school shooting in Florida fixated on the grieving and anguished students and parents. While at his Flor...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Live blog: 2018 Gasparilla Distance Classic

Live blog: 2018 Gasparilla Distance Classic

The Tampa Bay Times will be there for every step of this year's Gasparilla Distance Classic. Whether you'll be walking, skipping, jogging or sprinting across the 5K, 8K, 15K or half-marathon finish, join us by using #gasparillarun.(function(d, s, id)...
Published: 02/24/18
Rotary prepares for annual ‘Wild Game Night’ in Plant City

Rotary prepares for annual ‘Wild Game Night’ in Plant City

PLANT CITY — The Rotary Club of Brandon will host a Wild Game Night at 6 p.m. on Friday (March 2) on Lupton’s Boggy Bottom Ranch, 8407 Lupton Place in Plant City. This is an annual stag-only event with $100 donations to benefit local charities.This i...
Updated: 2 hours ago