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Perennial capitol critic gets jail term

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Supreme Court this week, with a two-page order, ensured committee meetings this legislative session will be considerably briefer than in springs past.

Capitol gadfly Brian Pitts, better known by lawmakers and lobbyists as "Justice2Jesus," was ordered to spend five months in the Pinellas County Jail for practicing law without a license, after the court found Pitts, 38, violated a previous order stemming from 2006 when the Florida Bar filed a petition against him.

A Philadelphia native who moved to St. Petersburg in 1999, Pitts spent four months in 2003 in the Pinellas County Jail for practicing law without a license. Pitts told the Times in 2008 that he represented Jeanie Nardozi in a paternity and divorce case, and June 2003 court records show him listed as her legal counsel.

The Supreme Court and Florida Bar in November of that year ordered Pitts to stop engaging in any practice of law.

But in 2006, he listed himself as the "attorney in fact" for Calvester Benjamin-Anderson in a discrimination case against the Manhattan Beauty School in St. Petersburg, court records show. He was arrested in June 2007 by the Pinellas Sheriff's Office.

Pitts is the Legislature's best-known gadfly, attending committee meetings all day and lecturing lawmakers on the flaws he sees in their proposals.

The Supreme Court order gives Pitts five days to turn himself in to the Pinellas jail, or have deputies come looking for him. The order also allows Pitts 15 days to ask for another hearing.

Perennial capitol critic gets jail term 02/23/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 9:31pm]
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