Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Security company reports clash with former Hillsborough judge

TAMPA — Robert Bonanno was once a powerful judge in Hillsborough County. He didn't have to deal with security to enter his chambers in the old courthouse on Pierce Street.

Things changed after Bonanno resigned amid a 2001 ethics investigation.

On Friday, Bonanno was just another lawyer headed into the State Attorney's Office, meaning he had to go through metal detectors. But, according to a report, he thought he was above the rules and lashed out with a racial insult.

Bonanno didn't want to put his wallet through an X-ray machine, private security company G4S reported to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

"The subject, a private attorney, began yelling that he does not need to go through that process due to who he is," reported security officer Marie Leggon.

Another officer told him those were the rules.

"He started calling me names, like 'stupid dumb black lady' and 'low life,' " security officer Lurene Easterly reported. "I asked him not to call me names. He kept calling me names. I told him, 'I will call a deputy.' He said, 'Call them.' He didn't care."

Bonanno eventually put his wallet in the X-ray machine and passed through security. Two minutes later, he returned, ready to leave.

This time, deputies were on their way.

"I asked him to please wait for law enforcement to come over," Leggon said. "The subject continued yelling that no one can make him stay as he exited the door."

When deputies arrived, Bonanno was gone.

Witnesses at the State Attorney's Office recognized the former judge. Deputies pulled up a photo from his law firm website. The officers confirmed it was him.

Bonanno faces no charges, said sheriff's Col. Jim Previtera. He wasn't required to stay and wait for a deputy. The former judge isn't the only attorney who has ever been rude to a security officer.

"Unfortunately, there's a very small number of attorneys who enter the courthouse who routinely engage in this kind of conduct toward the screeners and the deputies," Previtera said.

None, however, has prompted the private security company to file a report for this kind of behavior, Previtera said.

Bonanno's downfall began in 2000, when a bailiff found him after hours in another judge's darkened office. That judge, Gregory Holder, was out of town.

A grand jury found that Bonanno told "incredible and conflicting" stories about why he was in Holder's office.

A state House committee had begun impeachment proceedings when Bonanno stepped down. He otherwise would have faced questions about a courthouse affair, the sealing of cases and the purchase of a $450,000 model home.

Bonanno, 66, runs a for-profit course aimed at helping people stay out of trouble while on probation. He didn't return two phone messages or an e-mail about Friday's incident.

"I would certainly hope that he was having a bad day," Col. Previtera said, "and that his behavior won't be repeated."

Times staff writer Sue Carlton contributed to this report. Alexandra Zayas can be reached at azayas@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3354.

Security company reports clash with former Hillsborough judge 07/05/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 12:32am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Told not to look, Donald Trump looks at the solar eclipse

    National

    Of course he looked.

    Monday's solar eclipse — life-giving, eye-threatening, ostensibly apolitical — summoned the nation's First Viewer to the Truman Balcony of the White House around 2:38 p.m. Eastern time.

    The executive metaphor came quickly.

    President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump view the solar eclipse from the Truman balcony of the White House, in Washington, Aug. 21, 2017. [Al Drago | New York Times]
  2. Secret Service says it will run out of money to protect Trump and his family Sept. 30

    National

    WASHINGTON — The Secret Service said Monday that it has enough money to cover the cost of protecting President Donald Trump and his family through the end of September, but after that the agency will hit a federally mandated cap on salaries and overtime unless Congress intervenes.

    Secret service agents walk with President Donald Trump after a ceremony to welcome the 2016 NCAA Football National Champions the Clemson Tigers on the South Lawn of the White House on June 12, 2017. [Olivier Douliery | Sipa USA via TNS]
  3. After fraught debate, Trump to disclose new Afghanistan plan

    War

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will unveil his updated Afghanistan policy Monday night in a rare, prime-time address to a nation that broadly shares his pessimism about American involvement in the 16-year conflict. Although he may send a few thousand more troops, there are no signs of a major shift in …

    U.S. soldiers patrol the perimeter of a weapons cache near the U.S. military base in Bagram, Afghanistan in 2003. Sixteen years of U.S. warfare in Afghanistan have left the insurgents as strong as ever and the nation's future precarious. Facing a quagmire, President Donald Trump on Monday will outline his strategy for a country that has historically snared great powers and defied easy solutions.  [Associated Press (2003)]
  4. Trial begins for man accused of threatening to kill Tampa federal judge

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Jason Jerome Springer was in jail awaiting trial on a firearms charge when he heard inmates talking about a case that had made the news.

    His attorney said Jason Jerome Springer, 39, just talked, and there was “no true threat.”


  5. Editorial: Tampa Electric customers should not pay for utility's fatal misjudgments

    Editorials

    There will be financial fallout from the terrible miscalculations that resulted in five workers being killed in June at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. State and federal regulators should ensure those costs are borne by the company's shareholders, not its customers. Monetary considerations will not begin to …

    LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
There will be financial fallout from the terrible miscalculations that resulted in five workers being killed in June at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. State and federal regulators should ensure those costs are borne by the company's shareholders, not its customers.