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Tonight at 11: Journalists jailed

Published Oct. 1, 2005

Since polls rating the most hated professionals generally list reporters and their ilk up as high as, say, lawyers, there was a sight at the courthouse last week that might have warmed some folks' hearts: two TV photojournalists behind bars.

Well, in a holding cell, at least.

Last week, Calvin Green of WFLA-Ch. 8 and Steve Siesel of WTVT-Ch. 13 found themselves shut inside the holding cell next to Circuit Judge Ralph Steinberg's courtroom.

The two, both courthouse regulars, had been in the courtroom for a particularly emotional and volatile criminal court hearing. When a relative of the defendant swooned and passed out as Green was filming the scene, her son advanced on the cameraman, yelling.

Since things seemed to be going from bad to worse, the courtroom bailiff, Deputy Fred Childers, hustled Green off to the nearby holding cell for his own protection. When observers decided to hone in on Siesel, he was taken away, too.

The two sat in the cell for about 10 minutes until the dust settled.

We'd guess it seemed much, much longer.

SENIOR SERVICE: Harry Lee Coe has his detractors, but there are some people who will happily work for him for free.

Frank Kimbell is one of them.

Since early this year, Kimbell, 64, has been one of about 10 retirees who are volunteering to work in the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office. It's part of a new program to give retirees "something to do with their time" and save some taxpayer dollars in the process, said Dudley Dickson, the office's director of the task force on crimes against the elderly.

For Kimbell, it was a return to familiar territory.

Kimbell served as a bailiff in Coe's courtroom for eight years before retiring in 1989 to help his wife, Sylvia Kimbell, run for County Commission. When Coe made the jump from judge to Hillsborough state attorney, he asked Kimbell to come back to work for him.

Kimbell demurred.

"Whenever you want to, you come back," he recalls Coe telling him.

Now, for about eight hours a week, Kimbell uses a computer to track some of the thousands of case files that move through the state attorney's office. Other volunteers help trace bad checks or answer telephones. Several doctors have offered to provide medical advice.

"This was an opportunity to really give something back to the community," said Kimbell, whose wife died in 1994. "I'd like to give them a whole week. They really need it."

JUVENILE, BUT JUDICIOUS: A group of fifth-graders from the Academy of the Holy Names recently took a field trip not to Busch Gardens or the Lowry Park Zoo, but to Judge Greg Holder's juvenile courtroom.

The reviews, in the form of thank-you notes, were raves.

Among the students' observations:

"Thank you for leting us watch while you gave to crimial's the rightful sentance."

"I really liked the courthouse. My mother was once a jury so I'm really into judge things."

"It was sooo cool! I've never been in a real prison sell before! Thank you for planning it!"

"I think your job was one of the hardess jobs I have ever heard of."

"I was really surprised by some of your cases. Especially the one about the girl who was 13 and six mounths pregnant!"

"I never knew that so many kids commited crime!"

"P.S. I hope that I will not have to see you in court!"

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