Zimmerman’s wife admits to perjury
George Zimmerman’s wife has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor perjury charge for lying during a bail hearing after her husband’s arrest. She was sentenced to a year’s probation and 100 hours of community service.
Shellie Zimmerman, 26, had been charged with felony perjury after she lied about the couple’s assets during a bail hearing following her husband’s arrest for the fatal 2012 shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
WEST PALM BEACH
Ruling: Docs can face trafficking charges
Overturning two lower-court decisions, an appeals court said physicians can face drug-trafficking and racketeering charges stemming from prescriptions written for the powerful painkiller oxycodone. The 4th District Court of Appeal reversed decisions by Palm Beach County circuit judges that dismissed numerous charges against physicians Carlos M. Gonzalez, Jr., and Barry Michael Schultz.
Court rejects med mal case over expert specialty
A divided appeals court has upheld a decision to dismiss a medical-malpractice case because of the background of an expert witness. The Broward County lawsuit was filed by Marianne Edwards, who alleged that she suffered a rare bacterial infection after having eyelid surgery, requiring additional surgery and creating disfigurement of her eye.
The lawsuit was filed against ophthalmologist Gil Epstein and the Fort Lauderdale Eye Institute, along with a surgery center that remains in the case, according to the opinion from the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach.
The dismissal centered on Edwards’ use of an affidavit from an infectious-disease doctor in giving a required notice before filing the complaint. A trial judge issued the dismissal because of a state law that required expert witnesses to specialize in the same or similar types of medicine as malpractice defendants. The appeals court agreed.
USF’S Dozier dig receives federal grant
University of South Florida researchers have received a $423,528 federal grant to help excavate graves and identify remains at the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna. The U.S. Department of Justice grant comes as exhumation of long-buried human remains from unmarked graves at the closed Panhandle reform school is set to begin Saturday. The university researchers, led by Erin Kimmerle and Christian Wells, have a one-year window to search the grounds for reportedly unaccounted-for bodies of boys who died between 1900 and 1952. Questions have arisen about whether boys were killed at the school.
Prosecutor: Orange officials violated records law
Orange County’s mayor and four county commissioners broke Florida’s public record laws when they deleted text messages from lobbyists on their phones, a prosecutor said.
But State Attorney Jeff Ashton said in a report that the Orange County leaders didn’t realize the text messages are considered public records. The officials face only $500 in civil fines rather than criminal charges. If the officials don’t make the $500 payment, Ashton said, he would submit charging documents to the court and let the judicial system handle the matter.
The officials named in the report were Orange County Mayor Theresa Jacobs, commissioners Scott Boyd, Fred Brummer and Jennifer Thompson and former commissioner John Martinez. Orange County is home to Orlando and its many tourist attractions.
Ashton launched the investigation after it was discovered that some Orange County commissioners had deleted text messages from corporate lobbyists last year while they considered putting a sick leave referendum on the November ballot.
Drug database changes under fire
Proposed changes to a state-run prescription drug database won’t do anything to protect patient privacy, civil rights lawyers argued this week. Florida Department of Health officials say they want to tighten security on the state’s prescription-drug monitoring program, after the names and detailed prescription-drug histories of more than 3,000 people were released to defense attorneys after a drug sting in May.
The draft rule changes, discussed at a DOH workshop, are “minor, inconsequential and fail to address the practical issues” that led to the release of private data of thousands of people who weren’t under investigation, American Civil Liberties Union of Florida lobbyist Pamela Burch Fort said during the meeting.