October 20, 2017

Florida Deputies Accused of Abuse of Power Get Ousted From Drug Court Program

Posted in Blog |

If you are arrested for a criminal offense, you have legal rights. You have the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty and you have the right to be treated with fairness and respect throughout your entire involvement with the criminal justice system. An Okaloosa County drug lawyer can provide you with assistance in understanding how the law protects you after you have been accused of a crime.

Unfortunately, there are circumstances in which individuals who are going through the criminal justice process are abused or mistreated — sometimes by the authorities who helped to put them into the system in the first place. Just recently, for example, US News & World Report indicated that two deputies in Florida were forced to leave drug court programs because an investigation revealed that the deputies had been preying on women who were taking part in these programs.

Deputies Prey on Vulnerable Women in Drug Court

According to US News & World Report, the two deputies who were forced to leave their jobs had both offered money or gifts to women in drug court in exchange for sex.  One of the men resigned and the other was fired. 

The men were both in the courtroom when the judge who was presiding over the women’s cases had personal conversations with women who had been arrested for drug offenses. The deputies who were in court used that personal information obtained in the conversations these women had with the judge to find them on social media.

The deputies contacted the women on social media and made their offers of money or gifts in exchange for sexual conduct.  Obviously, this behavior on the part of the deputies was an unlawful abuse of power which relied upon preying on vulnerable women facing legal troubles.

The Daytona Beach Journal-News published a report on the abusive behavior being perpetrated by the deputies against the women taking part in the drug court programs.  According to the report, at least 10 women were interviewed by investigators from the sheriff’s office who were looking into the behavior of the deputies.

The Journal-News also indicates that both the state attorney’s office as well as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are reviewing reports from the investigation conducted by the sheriff’s office. This review will determine whether criminal charges should be filed against the deputies who abused their position to prey upon vulnerable drug court offenders. 

This case is an egregious example of a situation where people in a position of authority have been accused of abusing their power and perverting the criminal justice system for their own ends. Unfortunately, there are many situations where abuses — big and small — affect the rights of criminal defendants.

If you are involved in a criminal case, you need to know your rights and have a knowledgeable advocate protecting you. An Okaloosa County drug lawyer can provide you with guidance, advice and legal advocacy as you navigate the criminal justice system. You should call an experienced attorney as soon as you are under investigation or as soon as you have been arrested for a crime to get the help and support that you need.

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