JUDGE RESCINDS ORDER OF RELEASE FOR SELF-PROCLAIMED NEO-NAZI
U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas McCoun III on Wednesday vacated his previous order that set terms of release for 21-year-old Brandon Russell. Russell was arrested last month after authorities investigating the murder of two of his roommates by a third roommate found explosives and other materials consistent with bomb-making in his Tampa apartment.
PUSH TO BOLSTER COLLEGE AID VETOED BY FLORIDA GOV. RICK SCOTT
Scott on Wednesday vetoed an overhaul of the state’s higher education system that is a top priority for Senate President Joe Negron. The bill (SB 374) would require the state to cover 100 percent of tuition costs for top performing high school students who attend a state university or college. Florida used to pay 100 percent of tuition for those eligible for the top Bright Futures scholarship, but it was scaled back during the Great Recession
PULSE NIGHTCLUB SHOOTINGS DRIVE UP FLORIDA’S MURDER RATE
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement released last year’s crime figures on Wednesday. Statewide there were 1,108 murders, including the 49 who were fatally shot last June at the Pulse nightclub. But even without the Pulse shooting, the number of murders would have been up slightly from 2015, when 1,040 people were murdered.
TOUGHER FENTANYL POSSESSION PENALTIES COMING TO FLORIDA
Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday signed a bill that creates tougher penalties involving the drug or derivatives of the drug. One part of the legislation includes a three-year mandatory-minimum sentence for people caught with 4 grams of fentanyl. This part of the bill sparked a sharp debate in the Legislature, as some opponents said it would open the door to criminalizing drug users, not just drug traffickers.
JUDGE ORDERS NEW SENTENCE FOR “XBOX MURDERS” RINGLEADER
A judge in Florida on Wednesday ordered a new sentencing hearing for Troy Victorino because none of the four death sentences he received were unanimous. The Florida Supreme Court ruled last year that death sentences have to be unanimous, and anyone sentenced after a 2002 ruling could be eligible for a new sentence.