Here are the lunchtime headlines from the Sunshine State, plenty of interesting things going on this Saturday.
MIAMI (AP) – A Florida man accused of driving drunk and fatally striking one boy and injuring four other students as they were walking home from a school bus stop is being held on $600,000 bail. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says bond was set for 48-year-old John Camfield during his first court appearance Friday afternoon. He faces 11 charges, including DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide.
(AP) – President Donald Trump’s executive order seeking out new areas of the the Atlantic and the Arctic for offshore drilling isn’t likely to achive its aims anytime soon. Trump signed the order Friday aimed at dismantling a component of former President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy. But critics say they expect it will face a yearslong review and challenges in the courts.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – A lawyer defending Sen. Bob Menendez against political corruption charges says he’s spoken with the New Jersey Democrat following the Medicare fraud conviction of Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen. Defense attorney Abbe Lowell says Menendez told him he’s “saddened for his long-time friend.” But the lawyer says the senator had nothing to do with the doctor’s fraud case, and predicts a jury will reject allegations that Menendez took bribes from his friend in exchange for favors.
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) – The final person associated with a multi-state jewelry store heist scheme is going to prison, but not for life. A judge in Panama City sentenced 36-year-old Lewis Jones III on Thursday to 32 years in federal prison for taking part in the robberies across Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas. The News Herald reports Jones could have faced life in prison under the charges he was convicted on, but District Judge Robert Hinkle said he thinks the sentence is “sufficient.”
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A law that allows compensation to people wrongfully convicted and imprisoned in Florida could be revised to allow some felons to be eligible.
The Senate unanimously passed a bill Friday that would change the so-called “clean hands” requirement of the compensation law.
Florida now allows compensation up to $50,000 a year for people who are proven innocent of a crime for which they were imprisoned. But anyone who committed a felony before or after the wrongful incarceration isn’t eligible.
That would change under the bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Rob Bradley. A prior felony wouldn’t preclude someone from being compensated. Exceptions would be made if the person seeking compensation committed a violent felony or multiple felonies.
Only four people have been compensated under the law since it was enacted nine years go.