[PHOTO CREDIT: Lake County Sheriff’s Office]
[Original Publish Date: 03/20/20]
TAVARES, Florida — At least one local official is upset and has taken to social media to complain about the mass-release of dozens of inmates from the Lake County Jail, pursuant to a judicial order – and two of them have already been re-arrested for new crimes.
State Representative Anthony Sabatini posted on Facebook Friday expressing his displeasure at the decision. “I completely disagree with this decision — releasing criminals is NOT an appropriate response to the threat of COVID! Some of those released were charged with very serious crimes — these are not “non-violent” crimes. Burglary, battery, possession of crack cocaine, meth, violating domestic injunctions etc. Additionally, all of them have been charged with prior crimes,” his Facebook post stated.
Lake Legal News spoke to Sabatini by phone Friday afternoon, “I am very concerned with this decision,” he said, “It was a bad decision. It just doesn’t make any sense. There’s just no logic,” he said. Sabatini said he believes public safety should come first.
Sabatini was so bothered by the release that he instructed his staff to research the released inmates and their charges, and what his staff found led to his Facebook post.
Valerie Marra, 58, of Summerfield, was released on her own recognizance (ROR) Wednesday on charges of petit theft and resisting an officer without violence — both misdemeanors. Marra was arrested again Thursday on a felony grand theft charge and resisting an officer without violence. She is now being held on $6,000 bond. Dean Dennis Fishman, 58, of Leesburg, was released ROR Wednesday on a charges of retail felony theft and trespassing. On Friday, he was arrested again for felony retail theft and trespassing. He is now being held on $3,000 bond.
Originally, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office stated only non-violent inmates charged with misdemeanors would be released on ROR. After originally breaking the story, LLN continued to spend several hours researching the list of inmates on Thursday and Friday and found that at least 15 people were in fact charged with felonies. LCSO Lt. John Herrell sent out a corrected press release email Friday afternoon after speaking with LLN and stated, ”It has since been brought to my attention that some of those inmates were in custody on third degree felony charges. This came as the result of a miscommunication. I apologize for the mistake.”
There were at least three inmates LLN found who were charged with second degree felonies and LLN is working to find out who made the ultimate decision.
[ Read our original breaking story: https://www.lakelegalnews.com/article/lake-county-jail-to-release-nearly-50-inmates-within-the-next-several-hours/ ]
Our Editor-in-Chief, Marilyn M. Aciego, began writing for Lake Legal News in 2010. Born and raised in Lake County, she is a graduate of Umatilla High School and Lake-Sumter State College. She started her journalism career at LSSC, where she was editor of both student publications, The Angler and The Odyssey. Her professional career began at the Daily Commercial in 2004 where she covered cops and courts the majority of her time there until she left in 2009. Currently, along with being Editor-in-Chief of Lake Legal News, she is the Florida bureau chief for an international media organization. She has made more than two dozen appearances on live national television, including Nancy Grace and the Greta Van Susteren show, along with her appearance on Evil Twins. Contact her with breaking news, tips, and feedback by sending an e-mail to 352Tips@gmail.com. You can also contact us on our Facebook page — and make sure you “Like” and “Follow us” there. [PHOTO CREDIT: Bonnie Whicher]