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Anna M. Phillips, Times Staff Writer

Anna M. Phillips

Anna M. Phillips writes about legal affairs and criminal justice in Tampa and Hillsborough County. Before joining the Times in 2012, she covered the New York City public schools for the New York Times and for the education news website Chalkbeat New York (formerly GothamSchools).

Phone: (813) 226-3354

Email: aphillips@tampabay.com

Twitter: @annamphillips

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  1. Judge sentences former Riverview substitute teacher to prison

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Samuel Bullock Jr., a former substitute teacher for the Hillsborough County School District, was sentenced Friday to more than two years in state prison for sending nude photographs of himself to a teenage student.

    Fired in the fall of 2015 when news broke of the charges against him, Bullock pleaded guilty to transmitting harmful material to a minor, as well as two other third-degree felonies. He asked Circuit Judge Kimberly Fernandez for leniency....

    Samuel Bullock Jr., a former substitute teacher for the Hillsborough County School District, was sentenced to nearly two years in state prison for sending nude photographs of himself to a teenage student.
  2. Florida may be running out of execution drug, records show

    Courts

    Florida may be running out of the controversial and difficult-to-procure sedative that the state uses to execute prisoners on death row.

    Records of the state's lethal injection drug supply logs show that Florida has not purchased midazolam in over a year. The logs, which are maintained by the state Department of Corrections, indicate that while Florida may still have 250 vials of the drug — enough for at least 12 executions — it is possible the drug has either already expired or will likely expire by the end of this year....

    Records show that Florida has not purchased midazolam in over a year and that whatever supply is left is quite old.
  3. Florida Supreme Court will reprimand Hillsborough judge

    Courts

    TAMPA — The Florida Supreme Court will publicly reprimand a Hillsborough judge for his attempts to secure a more lenient sentence for a former U.S. Army Green Beret charged with multiple felonies, the court announced Thursday.

    The circuit judge, Gregory Holder, was accused of overstepping his bounds by Hillsborough's chief assistant state attorney, who said the judge asked him to reduce the defendant's remaining community control to probation without conducting a hearing in open court. ...

    Hillsborough Circuit Judge Gregory  Holder sought a more lenient sentence for a veteran.
  4. Jury acquits Tampa nurse in fatal hit-and-run

    Criminal

    TAMPA — After two trials that ended in hung juries, the legal saga of a former Tampa General Hospital nurse concluded on Thursday when a jury found her not guilty of killing a pedestrian and fleeing the scene of the accident.

    The nurse, Danielle Goeller, 28, was acquitted despite prosecutors' insistence that she had to have known she had hit a human being with her car.

    "This picture speaks a thousand words," said Hillsborough Assistant State Attorney Steven Capriati, showing jurors a photograph of Goeller's shattered windshield. She had been driving east on Kennedy Boulevard, approaching Armenia Avenue, when she struck Philip Richard Barrett, 60, who had stepped into the roadway. He died at the scene; Goeller drove home....

    Danielle Goeller’s defense maintained she never saw any signs that she had hit a man.
  5. Security firm that employed Orlando gunman goes to court in Hillsborough

    Civil

    TAMPA — G4S Youth Services, an arm of the private security company that employed the gunman who killed 49 people earlier this month in Orlando, is taking its former president to court in Hillsborough County.

    In a lawsuit filed in circuit court last week, the company accused its ex-president, James C. Hill Jr., and ex-chief operating officer Brian Neupaver, of unfair and deceptive trade practices and breach of fiduciary duty, among other allegations. ...

  6. Experts find Tampa woman accused of extreme child abuse fit for trial

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Nearly two years after experts pronounced Jamie Hicks paranoid and unstable, the same doctors have decided she is fit to stand trial for starving and physically abusing her eight children.

    Two psychologists who interviewed her several times since her arrest in 2014 said at a hearing Monday that they now believe she is competent.

    She faces charges of child abuse, child neglect and child neglect with great bodily harm. If she is convicted, she could receive a maximum sentence of 160 years in prison....

    Jamie Hicks, 45, charged with multiple counts of child abuse and neglect, was arrested in 2014.
  7. Orlando tattoo artists memorialize the pain of the Pulse nightclub shootings

    Crime

    ORLANDO — Days after a gunman killed 49 people and wounded more than 50 at the Pulse nightclub, a young woman walked into Robby Charneco's tattoo shop. The night of the shooting, she was one of the 911 dispatchers who picked up the phone when people called, screaming for help. She wanted ink to remember.

     

    ZACK WITTMAN | Times...

    Chelsea McCarthy of Orlando gets a free tattoo from Angel "Evil Tattu" Ruiza at Anarchy Tattoos and Art Co. in Orlando on Friday in memory of the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. "Yeah, I know Angel," says McCarthy, remembering  Angel Santiago, a survivor who spoke to reporters about his story inside the club. "I work next door to him, and I know he goes out all the time. I woke up the next day and saw he was there on Facebook. I was scared." [ZACK WITTMAN | Times]
  8. In Orlando, the gravedigger's work begins

    News

    ORLANDO — It wasn't until Tuesday that the gravedigger woke up to the enormity of the task before him.

    For Juan DeLeon, 33, the murders of 49 people in a gay nightclub in downtown Orlando on Sunday morning were an unspeakable tragedy. His wife knew two of the victims from her job at Universal Orlando. While their deaths struck him as most deaths don't, it wasn't until later that he realized the role he would play....

    Cemetery worker Juan DeLeon (Left) clears debris while colleague Richard Ossorio, (Center) removes roots from the grave at Greenwood Cemetery, near downtown Orlando on Thursday, June 16, 2016.  The three graves are for the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre.  The funerals are expected on Friday and Saturday. Special to the Times   |   
WILLIE J. ALLEN JR.
  9. Family, friends mourn Christopher Sanfeliz, 24, Tampa victim of Orlando's Pulse shooting

    Public Safety

    CARROLLWOOD — An entourage of law enforcement officers visited the home of Carlos Sanfeliz on Monday morning to deliver grim news.

    But Sanfeliz already had an idea of what they came to say. His phone "was blowing up" Sunday morning with people inquiring about his son, 24-year-old Christopher Sanfeliz, and he had spent the rest of the day driving and waiting at an Orlando hospital for word on the young man's fate....

    Tampa native Christopher Sanfeliz, who was killed in the Pulse night club shooting, worked as a personal banker. 
  10. Attack at Orlando gay nightclub is deadliest in U.S. history

    News

    A reggaeton song was pounding in the club's speakers as Jeannette McCoy, 37, danced close to her friend Angel in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

    Dozens of sweaty people packed the floor at the Orlando gay nightclub Pulse. Club lights threw patches of purple across the dance floor. As one song ended, McCoy waited for the DJ to play another, but instead she heard a very different sound.

    "It was just pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop," she said. "The shots were continuous."...

    An injured person is carried out of the Pulse nightclub after a shooting rampage early Sunday in Orlando. The gunman with an assault-type rifle and a handgun opened fire, also injuring 53.
  11. Killer pledged allegiance to Islamic State before executing worst mass shooting in U.S. history; death toll at 50

    Public Safety

    A reggaeton song was pounding in the club's speakers as Jeannette McCoy, 37, danced close to her friend Angel in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

    Dozens of sweaty people packed the floor at the Orlando gay nightclub Pulse. Club lights threw patches of purple across the dance floor. As one song ended, McCoy waited for the DJ to play another, but instead she heard a very different sound.

    "It was just pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop-pop," she said. "The shots were continuous."...

    An unidentified couple are seen near flowers at the which are placed at the base of a flagpole at Lake Eola Park Sunday, June 12, 2016 in Orlando. A group gathered at the downtown park to mourn the loss of lives from the Pulse Nightclub shooting which occurred in the early morning hours on Sunday.
  12. For young boxers in St. Pete, Ali's legacy lives on

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sweat flew in every direction in Dan Birmingham's boxing gym on Saturday afternoon, as young fighters sparred under worn photographs of the greats.

    Inside the St. Pete Boxing Club, a venerable institution known for training some of the most gifted boxers in the country, it was a typical day. There in the ring was Keith "One Time" Thurman, WBA welterweight champion, preparing for his big fight next month against Shawn Porter. Edner Cherry, 33, a two-time world title challenger, ripped into a heavy bag while, in the back of the room, 22-year-old My'cheal Teal — "the top amateur prospect in this area," Birmingham said — did sit ups in front of a mirror....

    Dan Birmingham, who trained local champions like Winky Wright and Jeff Lacy, said he loved Ali’s style and confidence.
  13. Charlotte Anderson, Hillsborough judge and equal rights activist, dies at 72

    Obituaries

    TAMPA — Charlotte Anderson, a former Hillsborough County judge who helped create a division dedicated solely to victims of domestic violence, died last month at age 72.

    Elected to the bench in 1994, Ms. Anderson presided over domestic violence cases, as well as run-of-the-mill civil suits, for 15 years. She was well-known as a champion of many causes, from women's rights to antidiscrimination protections for gays and lesbians, and a fixture in local Democratic Party politics....

    Retired Hillsborough Circuit Judge Charlotte Anderson, left, appears with Ms. magazine founder, author and activist Gloria Steinem in 2015 at the first Helen Gordon Davis Waves of Change Luncheon at the Crowne Plaza Tampa Westshore. Anderson, who helped create a division dedicated solely to victims of domestic violence, died last month at the age of 72. [JAMES BORCHUCK  |  TIMES]
  14. Hillsborough judge agrees to reprimand for going 'too far' on defendant's behalf

    Courts

    TAMPA — Hillsborough Circuit Judge Gregory P. Holder, who intervened in the case of a former U.S. Army Green Beret charged with multiple felonies, has agreed to be publicly reprimanded for trying to persuade prosecutors to change the man's sentence.

    In a deal reached with the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission, which oversees judges across the state, Holder acknowledged that he "went too far" in his attempts to lighten the man's punishment, creating "the appearance of impropriety and partiality."...

    Hillsborough Circuit Judge Gregory P. Holder will also undergo six hours of training.
  15. Florida Supreme Court opens the door for new hearings for juvenile killers

    Blog

    The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday that juvenile killers serving lengthy sentences tantamount to life in prison must have their cases reconsidered by a judge, even if they are eligible for parole.

    The opinion could dramatically expand the number of juvenile offenders who must be resentenced, granting a second chance for release to potentially hundreds of people who committed murder in their youth. It's unclear how broadly the decision would be applied to juveniles serving similar sentences...