John Pacenti

John Pacenti is an investigative reporter for The Palm Beach Post with an emphasis on the justice system and health. He is a veteran reporter of 30 years who recently worked for the Daily Business Review in Miami covering justice. He returned to the Post in 2015 where he served as a courts and investigative reporter for several years. A graduate of the University of Arizona, John has also worked for The Associated Press, The New Times and The Arizona Daily Star. 

Latest from John Pacenti

Memories and empathy as Michael zeroes in on North Florida
 The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle said, “To perceive is to suffer,” and no more so is this the case as when South Florida residents — veterans of a hurricane panic just last year — watched as mammoth Category 4 Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle. About a year ago, South Floridians...

Posted: 4 days ago

The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle said, “To perceive is to suffer,” and no more so is this the case as when South Florida residents — veterans of a hurricane panic just last year — watched as mammoth Category 4 Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday in the Florida Panhandle. About a year ago, South Floridians...
Ex-judge’s wife Betsy Savitt kicked off county’s guardianship registry
 It’s on a loop that runs in James Vassallo’s mind. He repeats it every time he is asked about court-appointed professional guardian Elizabeth Savitt. When he confronted Savitt over her billing practices, over the care of his incapacitated father, over the depleting of his father’s estate as her cadre of lawyers fought him...

Posted: 23 days ago

It’s on a loop that runs in James Vassallo’s mind. He repeats it every time he is asked about court-appointed professional guardian Elizabeth Savitt. When he confronted Savitt over her billing practices, over the care of his incapacitated father, over the depleting of his father’s estate as her cadre of lawyers fought him...
Report: Savitt involved with ‘corruption, collusion of judges’
 “Corruption and collusion of judges and lawyers in Delray Beach for financial gain” centered around dubious professional guardian Elizabeth “Betsy” Savitt and her husband, former Circuit Judge Martin Colin, according to a report never before made public by Palm Beach County’s guardianship watchdog. Once again...

12:01 AM Sunday, Sep. 09, 2018

“Corruption and collusion of judges and lawyers in Delray Beach for financial gain” centered around dubious professional guardian Elizabeth “Betsy” Savitt and her husband, former Circuit Judge Martin Colin, according to a report never before made public by Palm Beach County’s guardianship watchdog. Once again...
Judge Colin says it’s ‘nonsense’ that he funneled work to wife
 With $190,000 and his wife’s job as a professional guardian on the line, former Circuit Judge Martin Colin took the stand Wednesday and called it “nonsense” that his spouse stands accused of receiving appointments by virtue of their marriage. Instead, Colin said his fellow judges — who he referred to as friends...

1:20 AM Friday, Sep. 07, 2018

With $190,000 and his wife’s job as a professional guardian on the line, former Circuit Judge Martin Colin took the stand Wednesday and called it “nonsense” that his spouse stands accused of receiving appointments by virtue of their marriage. Instead, Colin said his fellow judges — who he referred to as friends...
EXCLUSIVE: Betsy Savitt guardianship report alleges ‘wrongdoing by sitting judges’
 A confidential investigation into controversial professional guardian Elizabeth “Betsy” Savitt contains “allegations or suggestions of wrongdoing by sitting judges,” an administrative judge revealed on Wednesday. The revelation surfaced during a first-of-its-kind hearing, held in West Palm Beach, into whether...

12:15 AM Thursday, Sep. 06, 2018

A confidential investigation into controversial professional guardian Elizabeth “Betsy” Savitt contains “allegations or suggestions of wrongdoing by sitting judges,” an administrative judge revealed on Wednesday. The revelation surfaced during a first-of-its-kind hearing, held in West Palm Beach, into whether...
Coast guard: missing diver rescued near Lake Worth Inlet
 A missing diver was spotted by a “good Samaritan vessel” one mile north of Lake Worth Inlet and rescued, the Coast Guard reported The Coast Guard Sector Miami received a report from the 36-foot dive vessel Marin that Nabiel Babar was missing. An urgent marine information broadcast was issued and a law enforcement boat from the...

10:10 PM Sunday, Sep. 02, 2018

A missing diver was spotted by a “good Samaritan vessel” one mile north of Lake Worth Inlet and rescued, the Coast Guard reported The Coast Guard Sector Miami received a report from the 36-foot dive vessel Marin that Nabiel Babar was missing. An urgent marine information broadcast was issued and a law enforcement boat from the...
Labor Day expected to be a washout with rain, heavy winds
 Expect heavy downpours and treacherous surf on Labor Day in Palm Beach County, as a strong tropical wave from the southern Bahamas pushes storms toward the region, causing riptides and possible flooding in low-lying areas. And that was the good news. Forecasters said Monday morning the wave has a 100 percent chance to turn into a named cyclone...

1:25 PM Sunday, Sep. 02, 2018

Expect heavy downpours and treacherous surf on Labor Day in Palm Beach County, as a strong tropical wave from the southern Bahamas pushes storms toward the region, causing riptides and possible flooding in low-lying areas. And that was the good news. Forecasters said Monday morning the wave has a 100 percent chance to turn into a named cyclone...
Judge Martin Colin had a hand in his wife’s guardianship cases, state says
 Former Circuit Judge Martin Colin, his finances in shambles in the fall of 2009, asked an attorney who appeared regularly in front of him to step out from the courtroom into the hall. There in the corridor, Colin’s wife, Elizabeth “Betsy” Savitt, waited. The judge then asked lawyer Sheri Hazeltine to represent his spouse...

9:00 AM Saturday, Sep. 01, 2018

Former Circuit Judge Martin Colin, his finances in shambles in the fall of 2009, asked an attorney who appeared regularly in front of him to step out from the courtroom into the hall. There in the corridor, Colin’s wife, Elizabeth “Betsy” Savitt, waited. The judge then asked lawyer Sheri Hazeltine to represent his spouse...
Ex-state attorney running for judge stokes the wrath of the powerful
 Despite its urban setting and diverse population, Palm Beach County’s politics still run on a small-town mentality where long-standing feuds lie dormant and then erupt. Few figures split these treacherous waters like one Michael McAuliffe.  A former state attorney, McAuliffe is running to be a circuit judge — a powerful position...

4:09 PM Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018

Despite its urban setting and diverse population, Palm Beach County’s politics still run on a small-town mentality where long-standing feuds lie dormant and then erupt. Few figures split these treacherous waters like one Michael McAuliffe.  A former state attorney, McAuliffe is running to be a circuit judge — a powerful position...
Ex-state attorney running for judge stokes the wrath of the powerful
 Despite its urban setting and diverse population, Palm Beach County’s politics still run on a small-town mentality where long-standing feuds lie dormant and then erupt. Few figures split these treacherous waters like one Michael McAuliffe. A former state attorney, McAuliffe is running to be a circuit judge — a powerful position...

3:08 PM Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018

Despite its urban setting and diverse population, Palm Beach County’s politics still run on a small-town mentality where long-standing feuds lie dormant and then erupt. Few figures split these treacherous waters like one Michael McAuliffe. A former state attorney, McAuliffe is running to be a circuit judge — a powerful position...