Kevin Doll has served as an official voice of the Pasco County Sheriff's Office for nearly a decade, a position that provided him an insider's view of the justice system.
But late last year, the sheriff's chief spokesman found himself watching the pursuit of justice from a different perspective: defendant.
He did not like what he saw.
"I'm looking into filing a letter of complaint against the (Hernando County) State Attorney's Office," he said Monday. "I don't know why it got this far in the first place. I don't think I was treated like the average citizen."
His comments came hours after learning that Hernando County prosecutors had dropped a misdemeanor battery charge against him. The charge stemmed from an Oct. 7, 2007, argument he had with his former stepdaughter at his Spring Hill home.
The 16-year-old girl told a school resource officer that Doll had pushed her during the argument. Doll said he never touched her, only yelled at her for swearing at him in front of his young son.
Doll, 46, said the girl swore at him because he and her mother — Doll's ex-wife — were arguing about a pile of laundry. Despite the couple's divorce last June, Doll and his ex-wife and the two children were still living together because their Spring Hill home had not sold.
Doll said prosecutors knew they had no evidence from the get-go. He said his stepdaughter changed her story and denied to social service workers and Hernando deputies that Doll had pushed her.
"She had no injuries," he said, "and no other witnesses."
Last week, the girl and her mother moved out of the Spring Hill home, which is still on the market, Doll said. He said he and the girl did not have any problems over the past three months.
He called the prosecution's pursuit of the case "ridiculous."
But Hernando Assistant State Attorney Amy Germann said Monday she thought the case was still strong. She dropped the charge only because of one problem: The victim didn't want anything else to do with the case.
"The victim was initially cooperative," Germann said. "She has since changed her mind."
Germann said she never heard the girl change her story. "She never recanted to me," she said.
The prosecutor said she felt forcing the teenager to testify in court would "revictimize" her. "I didn't feel that was appropriate," she said.
Germann disputed Doll's statement that he was treated differently. "His case was treated like any other," she said.
Doll is expected to be back on the job in Pasco today. Because of the pending charge, Doll had to go on leave from his Pasco sheriff's spokesman job in December. He was paid for the first month, but received no pay for the past two months.
Sheriff Bob White has not said yet whether Doll will receive back pay for the two unpaid months, said Doug Tobin, the department's other spokesman. Doll earns about $69,000 a year.
Jodie Tillman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6247.