No ruling on extradition of fugitive on lam since 1959
A judge says she will take some time before deciding whether a fugitive who had been on the lam since walking away from a prison farm in 1959 can contest his extradition back to Ohio after a recent arrest in Florida. Judge Rhonda Babb reserved ruling on the issue during a hearing Thursday. She promised to rule by Tuesday, when Ohio officials have arrangements to fly him back. Last week, 79-year-old Frank Freshwater waived extradition, but attorney Bryan Savy asked Babb to void it. Freshwater testified that he “wasn’t thinking straight” when he signed papers before an initial court appearance. Savy also said Freshwater wasn’t told he could procure his own lawyer.
Chief: Miami Beach police sent hundreds of offensive emails
The Miami Beach police chief says an internal investigation has revealed that a handful of officers sent hundreds of racially offensive and pornographic emails, possibly jeopardizing dozens of criminal cases. Chief Daniel Oates says two of the 16 officers were high-ranking within the Miami Beach Police Department and were the main instigators. One has retired, and the other was fired Thursday. Oates says the probe revealed about 230 emails demeaning to African-Americans or pornographic in nature. Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle says about 540 cases in which the officers were witnesses are being reviewed to determine if they are tainted racially.
Scott asks agency heads to prepare for government shut down
Gov. Rick Scott is asking agency heads to list only their critical needs as the Legislature prepares to hold a special session over the state budget. Scott sent the letter to agency heads Thursday and told them to prepare in case the budget impasse results in state government shutting down July 1. The Legislature is returning to Tallahassee June 1 after leaving its regular session without a budget agreement.
Lt. Gov. moves closer to U.S. senate bid
Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera is taking steps that could help him run for the seat now held by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. Supporters of the Miami Republican announced Thursday they’re creating a super PAC that could assist Lopez-Cantera once he officially jumps into the 2016 race. Lopez-Cantera says he’s talked to both Rubio and Gov. Rick Scott about possibly running for the job. Lopez-Cantera is a long-time friend of Rubio and is backing his presidential campaign. “I have gotten a lot of encouragement around the state,” said Lopez-Cantera, who did not lay out a timetable when he would make a final decision about the race.
Florida waitress accused of altering bills to increase tips
A 21-year-old Florida waitress is accused of altering bills to increase the amount of tips left by customers. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office says Victoria Bachmann changed the tip amount on 134 bills for a total of $1,074 at the Ozona Blue Grilling Company from March 11 to April 10. She was arrested on grand theft charges May 5. The restaurant is in the Tampa Bay area. An arrest affidavit says Bachmann entered a higher tip amount into the computer when customers paid with credit cards. Her managers then paid her in cash for the tips left on credit cards.