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Probation waived for once-jailed researcher

Score a victory for Petr Taborsky, who has been entangled in nearly a decade of criminal and civil court disputes over his work as a graduate student researcher at the University of South Florida.

Taborsky, 35, has been convicted of theft, served 18 months in prison, worked on a chain gang and continues a legal battle over his work with cat litter in a USF research project.

On Tuesday, a judge agreed to terminate Taborsky's 11-year probation sentence, which Taborsky said amounted to double jeopardy.

Prosecutor Robert Shimberg said it appears that Taborsky cannot legally be sent to jail. He said the state did not object to ending Taborsky's probation.

"The only reason I'm terminating it is because you're telling me I can't put him in jail," Circuit Judge Bob Anderson Mitcham told Shimberg.

"There are no holds on you. You're free to go," he told Taborsky.

While working on the project in 1988, Taborsky discovered a cheap way to treat sewage. He was later convicted of stealing research notebooks that USF said belonged to the school and sent to prison after refusing to turn over a patent.

The civil court matter involving ownership of related patents is still pending, Taborsky said.

He said he is also working to overturn his criminal convictions and clear his name, he said.