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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Florida the rules are different here Chapter CLIII

Call our 153rd chapter Express Justice. A starter on the University of Florida Gator Football team, Tony Joiner was arrested on Tuesday for burglary. Guess what? By Friday the Alachua County State Attorney decided to dismiss the charges. That expedited justice wouldn't have anything to do with the big game Florida is playing today? You got to love the Sunshine State.

Linked to- Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson, The World According to Carl,

GAINESVILLE - Alachua County prosecutors dropped a felony burglary charge against Florida safety Tony Joiner on Friday morning, just three days after he was arrested on burglary charges for allegedly breaking into a company's impound lot and trying to remove his girlfriend's car.

The decision allowed Joiner to travel with the Gators to Baton Rouge, La., on Friday and made him eligible to play tonight when the No. 9 Gators visit No. 1 LSU. It also comes much earlier than expected, given the history of cases involving UF players and comments earlier this week from the prosecutor's office.

Wednesday, Alachua County State Attorney's Office chief investigator Spencer Mann said his office likely would need weeks to determine whether to pursue charges against Joiner. He guessed his office might not even receive a police report until next week.

Yet by Thursday morning, Mann and the office had begun investigating the incident. And before noon Friday, less than 80 hours after Joiner's arrest, he had been cleared of the charge.

When briefed on the case Friday afternoon, Orange/Osceola County director of investigations Randy Means said the review of Joiner's case and dismissal of charges would not be normal under most circumstances in his county.

"It would be atypical for us to make charging decisions on cold cases in that time frame," Means said by telephone.

Alachua County State Attorney Bill Cervone didn't return a message requesting comment on the case. Mann said in several interviews this week that he took time away from his work on a two-week-old murder case and that he hoped to resolve the matter with Joiner as soon as possible.

"Taking it day-by-day," Mann told the Palm Beach Post this week, "the sooner I can get it done and move to more important things."

Joiner's case moved much faster than those involving some of his teammates during the offseason. Tailback Brandon James was arrested and charged with a felony during a drug sting on June 12; his charges weren't reduced to a misdemeanor until July 9. Former UF lineman Ronnie Wilson's arrest and felony gun charges from April 5 weren't reduced to misdemeanors until mid-June.

Meanwhile, Joiner's exact status in the program isn't certain. Coach Urban Meyer released a statement before the trip but gave no indication as to whether, or how much, Joiner would play.

"Tony being out late is not consistent with the expectations of a leader and a team captain of our program," Meyer said in the statement. "Tony is no longer a captain of the Gator football team, and he will pay a heavy price for his behavior internally for the next four weeks."

After his arrest, Joiner spent better than eight hours in jail Tuesday before returning to the team Wednesday when he apologized to his teammates.

Mann said Friday that the charges were dropped in part because the owners of Watson's Towing Company and the impound yard didn't feel harmed or wish to go forward with the case.

"The victim was adamant he sustained no loss or damage and does not want to pursue charges," Mann said Friday. "Based on this information, we can't sustain a criminal charge."

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