Ah, delicious irony: Florida law allows judges to require criminals to pay the cost of investigating their crimes. In Tampa and Hillsborough County, however, there's just one problem. Most judges don't do it.
That prompted Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman to write all of Hillsborough's judges this week to remind them of the law and to ask that they help the city's Police Department cover the costs of its investigations.
Potentially, the city could receive more than $1-million annually from the reimbursements. As it stands, officials say, the city only gets about $25,000 a year.
"We're not talking chump change," Freedman said Wednesday. "That would go a long way toward assisting law enforcement."
Freedman said police and sheriff's officials have met with prosecutors, who have agreed to ask that upon conviction defendants pay for the costs of their investigations. So far, she said, only two judges have begun doing so.
_ RICK DANIELSON