5 Things to Know in Florida for Nov. 1

Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today.

GOV. SCOTT DISTANCES HIMSELF FROM STATE SCANDALS

5 Things to Know in FloridaAs Florida slowly recovers from the Great Recession, Gov. Rick Scott has asked voters to judge him on his handling of the state’s economy and his ability to bring jobs to the Sunshine State. But in an election campaign with Democrat Charlie Crist that has featured caustic political ads and a debate highlighted by a tiff over a fan, there’s been little discussion about Scott’s management of the $70 billion-plus enterprise that is state government, or the steady stream of problems and scandals in the agencies directly under the former CEO’s command.

JUDGE DISMISSES SPEED-TRAP’S FINAL TICKETS

A judge in north Florida has dismissed the last three speeding tickets written by police officers from a small town with a notorious reputation as a speed trap. The move came after officials in Waldo on Oct. 1 disbanded its small police force after the state launched an investigation into ticket quotas and other issues. The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office has taken over policing the town between Jacksonville and Gainesville, and says deputies will still pull over anyone caught speeding.

JURY MAY START DELIBERATIONS IN HAZING CASE

Attorneys are set to give closing arguments in the case of a former Florida A&M University band member charged with manslaughter and hazing in the death of a drum major who was beaten on a band bus during a hazing ritual. Once they’re finished, Judge Renee Roche will give the jurors final instructions and deliberations could begin sometime Friday. Prosecutors called eight witnesses, including former band members who identified 27-year Dante Martin as orchestrator of the ritual known as “crossing Bus C” after a football game in Orlando in 2011.

NEW YORK JUDGE DISMISSES MURDER CHARGE

A Miami man charged in the fatal shooting of a New York City restaurant owner in 1986 is a free man after a judge dismissed his murder case after finding prosecutors took too long to charge him. Justo Santos, 44, walked out of court a free man Thursday after Justice Robert Stolz ruled that the Manhattan district attorney’s office violated his right to a speedy trial. But prosecutors said they are reviewing their options to appeal the decision. Santos was 16 when he fatally shot Jose Martinez – in what he called an act of self-defense – and fled to the Dominican Republic. Prosecutors said they moved as quickly as they could to bring charges, but Santos’ lawyer argued they had the evidence to seek an indictment in the 1990s.

TAMPA BAY AREA BOOKKEEPER ACCUSED OF STEALING

A 52-year-old woman is accused of stealing almost $300,000 dollars from a Clearwater restaurant where she worked as a bookkeeper. The Tampa Bay Times reports Mary Catherine Buffano was arrested Thursday on charges of grand theft and scheming to defraud. Police say Buffano was in charge of making bank deposits for Frenchy’s but had been taking money from three separate restaurant accounts for years. They say she altered deposit balances to disguise the thefts.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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