Saturday, December 16, 2017
Public safety

Isolated Nick Bollea asks for new jail cell

Nick Bollea sits alone in a maximum-security cell with tan concrete walls, a 6-inch-high window and a slot in the door for his food tray.

The 17-year-old has lost more than 10 pounds, his attorneys say, since he began serving an eight-month jail sentence for a wreck that left his friend with a major brain injury. They say Bollea is traumatized by what they say amounts to "solitary confinement."

So in a motion filed Friday, they asked that Bollea either be released on house arrest until July 27, when he turns 18 and would return to jail, or moved to minimum security.

Not only that, Bollea's attorneys filed a separate lawsuit Monday asking a judge to stop the Sheriff's Office from releasing recordings of Bollea's telephone calls with his family.

"Just because you have a conversation recorded, it doesn't necessarily make it a public record," said Bollea's attorney, Kevin Hayslett.

Bollea's conversations, he contended, are between a child and parent and are not subject to disclosure under public record laws.

Bollea's "excessively harsh" housing, along with media coverage of his family's visits and the release of his calls, "amounts to cruel and unusual punishment," according to his attorneys' motion to modify his sentence.

George Tragos, a lawyer for John Graziano's family, said he was appalled at the request.

"It doesn't sound cruel compared to what John Graziano's going through," Tragos said.

Graziano, 23, has been in a semiconscious state since Aug. 26, when Bollea's speeding Toyota Supra slammed into a tree. Bollea pleaded no contest May 9 to reckless driving with serious bodily injury.

Sheriff's officials have said that although Bollea was sentenced as an adult, he is still a child, and Florida law requires them to house him separately from adult inmates.

But Bollea's attorneys note that he is a nonviolent first-time offender and point out that inmates with similar offenses are allowed to move about freely within "pods" and have access to a telephone and TV.

By comparison, Bollea's 8½-by-16½-foot cell contains a sink, a toilet, a shower, a small desk and a bed. He is allowed reading materials, letters and commissary items.

Before filing their motion, Bollea's attorneys had asked that he be allowed a television and/or a DVD player and additional time off based on his time in solitary confinement.

In a letter last week, sheriff's deputy general counsel Jennifer Monrose Moore wrote that Bollea's "current classification, housing and treatment … are proper."

The motion also contends the problems created by Bollea's confinement were "magnified" by the sheriff's release of 26 hours of calls between Bollea and his family.

In the tapes, Nick Bollea calls Graziano a "negative person" and discusses creating a new reality show with his father, former professional wrestler Terry Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan.

Attorneys said Bollea's hourlong video visits are his only contact with the outside world.

"Now," they wrote, "Nick cannot even have a private conversation with his family without fear that it be immediately broadcast nationally."

Comments
Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

LARGO — A Pinellas sheriff’s child protective investigator has been fired and could face criminal charges after an investigation found she made a child custody recommendation to a judge as a favor to a friend.Jayne Johnson, who has worked for the She...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

DOVER — Two Plant City men who ran from deputies and shot a dog were captured after a brief pursuit Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.They ditched a stolen car, ran away on foot, crossed through several yards and then tr...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Tampa bicyclist, 52, dies after being rear-ended by vehicle; no charges

TAMPA — A 52-year-old man riding a bicycle was killed early Friday when he was struck from behind by a car in Seminole Heights, according to Tampa police.The incident took place at about 12:15 a.m. Wayne Kersh, 52, was riding his bicycle in the eastb...
Updated: 8 hours ago
After third fire at former Ybor City bathhouse, arrest is made

After third fire at former Ybor City bathhouse, arrest is made

TAMPA — A 46-year-old man was arrested Friday and accused of setting fire to a vacant Ybor City bathhouse hit by arson at least two other times earlier this year.Two Tampa police officers spotted smoke from the vacant building at 1512 E Eighth Ave. a...
Updated: 10 hours ago

FHP: Overturned pick-up slowed traffic on northbound Howard Frankland

ST. PETERSBURG — A pick-up truck towing a car onto the northbound Howard Frankland Bridge overturned and crashed on the shoulder, causing back-ups for motorists trying to get to Tampa, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The incident was reported...
Updated: 10 hours ago
New video shows cows beaten and burned at Florida dairy farm

New video shows cows beaten and burned at Florida dairy farm

The Miami Beach-based Animal Recovery Mission has released a video from its undercover abuse investigation at a Central Florida dairy farmThe graphic video, with disturbing images of cows cruelly being beaten, speared, stabbed and burned, was shot by...
Updated: 12 hours ago

Missing Child Alert canceled for Port St. Lucie girl, 17

A Florida Missing Child Alert has been canceled for a 17-year-old Port St. Lucie girl who was last seen on Thursday.The case involving Heaven Flores has been resolved, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Published: 12/15/17

Hudson pedestrian killed while crossing U.S. 19

HUDSON — A Hudson man was killed Thursday night while crossing U.S. 19.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 59-year-old Gerald Berube was crossing the northbound lanes of U.S. 19 north of Stahl Drive around 6:40 p.m. when he walked into the path ...
Published: 12/15/17
Tampa police seek ‘person of interest’ in Dec. 3 homicide

Tampa police seek ‘person of interest’ in Dec. 3 homicide

TAMPA — Police are seeking a "person of interest" who they believe has information about a Dec. 3 drive-by shooting that killed a 22-year-old man.Police are searching for Anan Motilal, 25. He stands about 5-foot-10 and weighs 180 pounds. He may have ...
Published: 12/14/17

Pinellas Park officer stuns middle school student with Taser

PINELLAS PARK — A school resource officer stunned a middle school student with a Taser while trying to break up a fight between her and another female student on Thursday, police said.Neither the Pinellas Park officer nor the students involved in the...
Published: 12/14/17