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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, July 14, 2007

Florida the rules are different here Chapter CXXX

A central Florida journalist is arrested almost a year after he hands a policeman a crack cocaine cigarette. The Orange-Osceola County State Attorney's office wasn't doing anything, so the Officer went and finally made the arrest. Another wonderful example of law enforcement efficiency. Don't you just love Florida?

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

Orlando police arrested a local-television traffic reporter Wednesday on a drug charge -- almost one year after they said he reached into his pocket and handed Orange County deputies a cigarette containing crack cocaine.

Officers arrested Bob Baxa, who appears on WFTV-Channel 9, after the Orange County Sheriff's Office requested an arrest warrant from a judge, said Sgt. Barbara Jones, an Orlando police spokeswoman.

Baxa, 41, posted $1,000 bail the same day and was released, jail records show. He was charged with possession of cocaine, a third-degree felony.

Deputy Sheriff Jeffrey Mayer initially stopped Baxa in June 2006 for a faulty tag light while he was driving in the Pine Hills area at midnight. After concluding his traffic stop, Mayer returned to his cruiser. However, Deputy Sheriff Frank M. Delguercio, who also pulled over during the traffic stop, suspected Baxa was hiding something.

Delguercio engaged Baxa in conversation and told the reporter that if he surrendered any drugs, he would "not be arrested for the drugs tonight." Baxa pulled a cigarette from his pocket with a small piece -- less than a gram -- of crack cocaine in it and handed it to Delguercio, according to sheriff's records.

Delguercio kept his promise.

Capt. Mark Strobridge, a sheriff's spokesman, said this was not an uncommon procedure.

"At the time of the traffic stop, [Delguercio] did not know [Baxa] had drugs. There was probable cause to arrest him once he produced the drugs, but [Delguercio] used his discretion," Strobridge said. "This is his technique and there's nothing wrong with it, but it may not be one I would have personally chosen."

The Sheriff's Office sent the Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office a request for an arrest warrant in August 2006, but it languished there because it was not considered a priority.

"We've got over 80,000 cases and because this was a non-arrest and not requiring a speedy trial, we did not view it as a priority among the other more serious cases," State Attorney's Office spokeswoman Danielle Tavernier said.

Strobridge said one of the reasons Baxa was arrested Wednesday was because Mayer noticed the delay.

"[Mayer] kept track of this case and decided to pick it up and write the warrant himself so it could be quickly executed," Strobridge said. "Truth of the matter is that it would still be sitting there if it was not done this way."

Baxa, who appears in public records as Robert A. Baksa, is a reporter for Metro Networks, which provides traffic-reporting services for WFTV. He could not be reached for comment.

"As far as personnel matters go, it's our company policy not to comment," said the station's director of marketing, Bob St. Charles.

Strobridge added that any delays in Baxa's arrest were not related to his work at the television station.

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