LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's deputies arrested a local attorney Thursday on charges that he carried a loaded firearm into the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center on the day of his disbarment hearing.
Clearwater attorney James Franklin Lowy, 49, entered the courthouse at about 9 a.m., according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office. Deputies working security said they saw the outlines of a loaded handgun and extra magazine in his backpack, which were detected by the courthouse's X-ray machine.
A search of Lowy's backpack revealed a Ruger .45-caliber handgun — fully loaded with a round in the chamber — deputies said, along with a loaded magazine.
According to deputies, Lowy said the gun was his but did not have a concealed weapons permit. The Sheriff's Office said his disbarment hearing was set to be held that day at the courthouse. According to a 2015 Florida Bar email, Lowy was suspended indefinitely for "causing great public harm" after more than $60,000 went missing from a trust account.
The Sheriff's Office did not release any other details about the incident, including whether Lowy unintentionally brought the gun into the courthouse.
He was arrested on a charge of carrying a concealed firearm. He was being held in the Pinellas County jail late Thursday in lieu of $10,000 bail.