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1 IN THE COUNTY COURT OF THE THIRTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT


IN AND FOR HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, STATE OF FLORIDA
2 CRIMINAL DIVISION

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STATE OF FLORIDA,
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Plaintiff. CASE NO: 08-CM-015920
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vs. DIVISION: F
7 LINDA FLAX,
8 Defendant.
______________________/
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EXCERPT TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS
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13 BEFORE: HONORABLE NICK NAZARETIAN

14 TAKEN AT: Courtroom 53


Courthouse Annex
15 Tampa, Florida

16 DATE AND TIME: May 5, 2009


1:30 p.m. docket
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RECORDED BY: Ashley Williams
18 Electronic Court Reporter

19 TRANSCRIBED BY: Jennifer May


Electronic Court Reporter
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21 (ORIGINAL ____)
(COPY ____)
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23 Record Transcripts Incorporated


501 East Kennedy Boulevard, Suite 170
24 Tampa, Florida 33602
(813) 514-5100
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1 A P P E A R A N C E S

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REPRESENTING THE STATE:
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CHRISTIAN TSOUBANOS, Esquire
4 State Attorney’s Office
419 North Pierce Street
5 Tampa, Florida 33602

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REPRESENTING THE DEFENDANT:
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WILIIAM IGNATUCK, Esquire
8 3922 North Tampa Street
Tampa, Florida 33603
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1 I N D E X

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3 EXCERPT OF PROCEEDINGS ........................................... 4

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1 E X C E R P T O F P R O C E E D I N G S

2 THE COURT: Come up Ms. –-

3 MR. IGNATUCK: Hart-Flax.

4 THE COURT: Hart-Flax. Alright, come on up. Mr. Flax -

5 – Dr. Flax, come on up. You can bring your dad up, too. Is

6 that your father?

7 MR. IGNATUCK: Yes. Thank you, Your Honor.

8 THE COURT: Dad, come on up.

9 MS. FLAX: Dad.

10 THE COURT: Dad, come on up. You may have to give Mr.

11 Castro a plea form, too, at some point. Come on up, dad.

12 I’ll let you hug your daughter real quick.

13 FATHER: Thank you, Your Honor.

14 THE COURT: You’re welcome.

15 MS. FLAX: Thank you, Your Honor.

16 THE COURT: You're welcome, Ms. Flax. Ms. Flax, I’ll

17 reiterate what I said the other day. I'm not a monster, but

18 when I order something and it's not done on multiple times, I

19 can't deal with that; because what happens is the system

20 would fall apart if no one followed what the Judge said. So,

21 not so much just in your case, but through everyone’s case;

22 if you let something slide, it all slides.

23 MS. FLAX: Yes, sir.

24 THE COURT: Okay? So at some point that judicial order

25 has to be followed, no matter how minimal it may be, the


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1 violation; because, it was technically a minimal violation,

2 but it was continuous violation which is just as bad. A

3 bunch of small things can equal one big thing.

4 MS. FLAX: Yes, sir.

5 THE COURT: Okay. So anyway, that’s where we’re at.

6 And, Mr. Ignatuck, you filed a motion, I guess, to rehear

7 this matter. You were going to try to provide me with some

8 additional information, I believe.

9 MR. IGNATUCK: Yes. I –-

10 THE COURT: Or something.

11 MR. IGNATUCK: Well, I do have some additional

12 information. My client has some medical issues that are a

13 lot of small things that have added up, and she's on several

14 different prescription medication, some of which she's not

15 receiving at the jail.

16 THE COURT: Alright. Tell me, before we get into that,

17 what's the –- have I got all the cases filing?

18 MR. TSOUBANOS: Not all of them have been filed.

19 THE COURT: I've got all the cases?

20 MR. TSOUBANOS: Four of them.

21 THE COURT: Where do you anticipate –- we said, before

22 he begins -- before hearing about this other business, where

23 do you anticipate this all going?

24 MR. TSOUBANOS: They’re separate crimes.

25 THE COURT: No, no, no, I don’t mean that. Let's


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1 assume, hypothetically -- hypothetical, you're presumed

2 innocent, but that she's found guilty of all of these cases,

3 hypothetically; where -– let's go in the future, instead of

4 back to the future, we’re going to go forward to the future.

5 Where would you –- let's say she's guilty of all of this,

6 hypothetically, and we were at sentencing right now, what

7 would you be asking for?

8 MR. TSOUBANOS: If we won a jury trial we would be

9 asking for a year in jail.

10 THE COURT: Well, if you won the jury trial, but let's

11 say she enters a plea, hypothetically?

12 MR. TSOUBANOS: Judge, we made a plea offer on this

13 case.

14 THE COURT: Okay. What is that?

15 MR. IGNATUCK: Just now, but yes.

16 THE COURT: Yeah, I understand, but what is that?

17 MR. TSOUBANOS: It is an adjudication on one of the

18 battery counts, 12 months probation, the classes, the

19 Salvation Army alcohol and evaluation treatment program and

20 364 days suspended.

21 THE COURT: And, you’d drop one?

22 MR. TSOUBANOS: We really don’t --

23 THE COURT: I thought you said you have two?

24 MR. TSOUBANOS: All we need is that one adjudication on

25 that battery. There’s four cases.


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1 THE COURT: So, the two injunctions you dropped?

2 MR. TSOUBANOS: They’re fine to be dropped, because all

3 we need is probation, of course.

4 THE COURT: So, the battery –- so, really if she pleads

5 to the battery, you’ll be fine?

6 MR. TSOUBANOS: Yes.

7 THE COURT: Alright. So, she's got two batteries; what

8 are we going to do with the other one?

9 MR. TSOUBANOS: The other one we are willing to merge.

10 THE COURT: So, we’ve got four cases. They’re willing

11 to let go of three, bye, bye. You plead to probation –- now

12 the tough thing about that is, there will be a suspended

13 sentence, that’s tough I’ll be honest with you.

14 MS. FLAX: (Indiscernible).

15 THE COURT: But I'm –- Mr. Ignatuck will tell you I'm

16 relatively reasonable, I mean, a violation’s a violation, but

17 obviously any contact with him would be a huge problem. Any

18 new crimes against him would be a huge problem, but you would

19 be taking your chances on a suspended sentence.

20 MS. FLAX: If I admit it?

21 THE COURT: So, that gets you out of jail now. That

22 gets three cases wiped away. That puts a closure, gets

23 everything closed right now. We’re all done; we can go ahead

24 with our lives. You all can –- I thought you had your

25 divorce hearing today?


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1 MR. IGNATUCK: We did, Your Honor.

2 THE COURT: What happened over there?

3 MR. IGNATUCK: We had a –- well, Judge –-

4 THE COURT: What Judge are you in front of over there?

5 MR. IGNATUCK: Kimberly Fernandez.

6 THE COURT: Oh, Judge Fernandez?

7 MR. IGNATUCK: Yes, sir. She knows about this hearing

8 today, also.

9 THE COURT: Oh, okay, excellent.

10 MR. IGNATUCK: My client had to be shackled and in

11 orange.

12 THE COURT: I know. At least she got over there though.

13 MR. IGNATUCK: Yes.

14 THE COURT: Sometimes they say nine tenths of the rule

15 is showing up, so at least you were over there. Did she make

16 a final determination of everything, or it’s still up in the

17 air?

18 MR. IGNATUCK: No, sir. She just -– we ran out of time.

19 We didn’t even do closing arguments. She's going to rule.

20 And there’s still some personal property issues. And, the

21 Doctors –- her husband is represented by Alexander Caballero,

22 and he and I are going to discuss that possibly, but it

23 hasn’t been determined. There is however -– the main concern

24 I have –- that was –- I know the Stat’s made a generous offer

25 and I appreciate that. The two big problems we have is that


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1 my client has a Bachelor’s Degree, she's a healthcare

2 marketing specialist.

3 THE COURT: Where did you go to school at?

4 MS. FLAX: University of Florida.

5 MR. IGNATUCK: And she has a job that –- I mean, she

6 doesn’t have a job right now, she's been unemployed, but this

7 could affect her in a job search, an adjudication. And so,

8 I'm recommending that the State –-

9 THE COURT: Who said she was getting adjudicated? I

10 thought you said it was a withhold?

11 MR. IGNATUCK: No, the State said –-

12 MR. TSOUBANOS: It's an adjudication, Judge. There is

13 no way we would back out of an adjudication with four open

14 cases. She violated her pre-trial release. Then we have

15 phone calls that we have not played in Court yet, but are,

16 I'm mean, to put it bluntly, evil.

17 THE COURT: Say again?

18 MR. TSOUBANOS: Evil phone calls.

19 THE COURT: Really?

20 MR. TSOUBANOS: Completely evil, Judge.

21 THE COURT: Give me a state –-

22 MR. TSOUBANOS: They are the worst phone calls I have

23 heard in a year in a half in this courtroom.

24 THE COURT: The worst you've heard?

25 MR. TSOUBANOS: The worst I've heard.


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1 MR. IGNATUCK: But, you know, Judge -–

2 THE COURT: Give me some nature -– just give me like,

3 give me a 20 second tid bit.

4 MR. TSOUBANOS: That she would smash her step daughter’s

5 head against the side of the pool and drown her. And, it

6 wasn’t a joking conversation. It was dead serious with -–

7 THE COURT: Well, even -- that’s not even –- if you were

8 to joke about that, that’s not even funny. So, it's -–

9 that’s pretty rough if that happened; if that happened, but

10 maybe you were intoxicated. I think a large part of this

11 case is, and I'm not being disrespectful, you like to drink a

12 lot. And, I think you get drunk and you call him and get all

13 crazy, if you had to ask me. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but

14 I think that’s the deal. You're a little bit of a drinker

15 and you get all cranked up with drinking and you make calls,

16 am I right?

17 MR. FLAX: Yes. Absolutely.

18 THE COURT: Okay. So, that’s the bottom line. So, when

19 she does that, says that stuff, I know it's not right, it's

20 not good stuff and –- but it's kind of a drunk, no

21 disrespect, it's kind of a drunk talk, is what kind of that

22 is. And, I'm just being honest. I'm not going to candy coat

23 this, that’s what it is. But, there’s a little bit of –-

24 there may be a little evil behind it too. Yes, sir?

25 MR. FLAX: I just want to say; it's more than just


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1 calls. There’s been, you know, a weapon, you know, pointed

2 at me, loaded. She's tried to run me down with her car.

3 There’s been numerous incidences –-

4 THE COURT: What happened to that weapons charge?

5 MR. TSOUBANOS: It was not filed, Judge.

6 THE COURT: Why not?

7 MR. TSOUBANOS: Delay in report. There was not enough

8 for us to go forward on it.

9 THE COURT: How late did you delay in reporting that?

10 MR. FLAX: Probably two years.

11 THE COURT: Oh yeah, can't do that.

12 MR. FLAX: I took her into therapy –- well –-

13 THE COURT: Two weeks is way too long. Two years is way

14 beyond that. A couple of days --

15 MR. FLAX: I tried to –-

16 THE COURT: I know -–

17 MR. FLAX: -- get the problem fixed.

18 THE COURT: -- you did the right thing. You tried to –-

19 MR. FLAX: Figured it was a medical problem and to

20 preserve the marriage.

21 THE COURT: I understand. You’re a reasonable person.

22 You're reasonable, but we can't do the two year thing, that’s

23 just too long. But, like you said there was potential. I

24 really think she just needs to dry up somewhere and not drink

25 for awhile and find a new -– someone else, but this divorce
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1 is killing her. I can just tell you that right now.

2 MR. FLAX: I think the divorce is over.

3 THE COURT: I remember that video -– it's not over in

4 her mind. How long were you all married? 20 years?

5 MR. FLAX: No, five.

6 THE COURT: It takes a year to get over every year

7 you're with somebody. And –- typically, I'm not Dr. Phil,

8 but that’s usually what it is. So, she's still well into

9 this. This isn’t over for her for awhile and I'm sure you

10 already know that. She's still into all this. So, if we all

11 think this will be over soon, it ain’t, at least in her mind

12 it's not. Now, legally I can try to make it be over, but

13 she's still with this. I mean, I saw the video that you took

14 when they were taking stuff out of the house. Your own

15 daughter was filming her taking stuff out of the house with

16 the cops there. I've never seen such a video in my life.

17 So, this thing is just crazy.

18 MR. IGNATUCK: And, that’s the second count, Your Honor,

19 of the four. And, then the other two are these two alleged

20 phone calls that no threats were allegedly made.

21 MR. FLAX: I think that’s not correct. The second call

22 clearly was a threat. “It's not over”; that’s a threat.

23 THE COURT: When she was having some adult beverages at

24 the same time though, probably?

25 MR. FLAX: Yes, but –-


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1 MR. TSOUBANOS: She's denied that at all hearings.

2 THE COURT: She's going to straighten up and tell me the

3 truth in a minute. She's got a drinking problem, she knows

4 she does.

5 MR. TSOUBANOS: And Judge, there’s still the DUI that

6 will not be resolved today.

7 MR. IGNATUCK: I'm prepared to -– I can deal with that,

8 Your Honor. It's in Judge Courtney’s division.

9 THE COURT: So adjudication, there is no negotiation on

10 that?

11 MR. TSOUBANOS: No, Judge. And, that’s just for that

12 agreement is to adjudicate and get the other three taken care

13 of. We’ll gladly go to trial on all four of them.

14 THE COURT: See, then they would want a (indiscernible)

15 after they got a guilty verdict and she would go to jail for

16 a long time, if she was found guilty. The jury’s not going

17 to like that daughter against the pool story. If it’s true.

18 MR. TSOUBANOS: And, Judge we –- like we said, we don’t

19 even know if that’s going to be able to come out, but –-

20 THE COURT: Well, whatever. How do you feel about all

21 this, Dr. Flax?

22 MR. FLAX: I think that’s she's been protected for too

23 long, and I've been a part of that. And, she needs to have

24 some consequences. She needs to have a, you know, a -– at

25 least one guilty charge and be sent to a rehab program. You


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1 know, if she keeps getting off, if we keep giving her a pass,

2 you know, there’s no reason for her to dry out and stop.

3 And, I really do believe she has a chance to recover her life

4 and get back to being a functioning professional, you know,

5 that’s making a valuable contribution to society.

6 THE COURT: What caused the falling off the cliff about

7 the drinking?

8 MR. FLAX: I don’t know. You know, it may run in her

9 family.

10 THE COURT: What's your speculation?

11 MR. FLAX: I really don’t know. I know that she had a

12 couple of miscarriages, but she was drinking –-

13 THE COURT: What broke your marriage up then, how about

14 that?

15 MR. FLAX: The violence and the drinking.

16 THE COURT: You don’t know why? Why the drinking

17 started? Was she a drunk –- was she drinking before you

18 married her?

19 MR. FLAX: Yes, but nothing compared to what happened

20 after I married her. And there was no violence. I mean, --

21 THE COURT: It's an interesting case, though. You live

22 in a very nice home in Apollo Beach, you’ve got a beautiful

23 daughter. I'm sure you provided a nice home for everybody.

24 And you are a doctor; she was a successful college graduate,

25 marketing person. I mean, that’s almost the beginning of the


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1 American dream there, and then something went awry, as they

2 say, drastically, to where the point where we’re in Court

3 now. She's wearing an orange uniform. She's in jail. So,

4 there’s a huge issue there somewhere that’s causing all of

5 this to happen. I don’t know what it is --

6 MR. FLAX: I don’t know what I'm supposed to say. I

7 know –-

8 THE COURT: No, I'm just –- that’s –-

9 MR. FLAX: I think that her mother has a drinking

10 problem and it tends to run in families.

11 THE COURT: Sometimes it's genetic, sometimes it's not

12 though.

13 MR. FLAX: Yeah.

14 MR. IGNATUCK: I understand what everybody’s saying

15 here, but I'm trying to look out for her future and if the

16 Doctor is really and truly concerned about her future, the

17 difference between a withhold and an adjudication shouldn’t

18 be that great a difference in his mind, if he's -–

19 THE COURT: Let me ask you a question, State, is there

20 something we can do –- is there something we can do in

21 addition to add some more stuff on -–

22 MR. IGNATUCK: Yeah.

23 THE COURT: -- so that she can kind of, not literally

24 pay financially, but pay for the withhold in some additional

25 punishment that would maybe satisfy your all’s interest?


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1 Like, for example, I don’t know if it's even worth while in

2 this case, but community service would be something that you

3 live with to basically buy the withhold? I was trying to

4 think of something that we could –-

5 MR. TSOUBANOS: Two weeks of classes, the highest level

6 that they have.

7 MR. IGNATUCK: I can represent this to the Court and to

8 Counsel, that my client –-

9 THE COURT: Well, see I'm not an evaluator though. I’d

10 hate to –- I'm not going to give her an evaluation. I don’t

11 have that expertise to do that.

12 MR. TSOUBANOS: Judge, I'm not an evaluator either, and

13 after listening to that phone call, I mean -–

14 MR. IGNATUCK: It wasn’t a phone call –-

15 MR. TSOUBANOS: I'm sorry it was a recorded

16 conversation.

17 MR. IGNATUCK: It was a recorded conversation in her

18 home, that the Doctor recorded without telling her, and was

19 part of the original charge, the day that she was arrested.

20 It didn’t occur after the first arrest. It was the same day

21 as her initial arrest, July 29th, 2008.

22 THE COURT: I want to have a conversation with the

23 Doctor on the record regarding taping people surreptitiously.

24 MR. IGNATUCK: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

25 THE COURT: So, that’s very dangerous to do that, but


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1 I'm not saying he did anything wrong because I don’t know the

2 circumstances, but he's aware of it. You've got to be

3 careful of taping surreptitiously.

4 MR. IGNATUCK: There –-

5 THE COURT: So, anyway –-

6 MR. IGNATUCK: My client has scheduled an appointment.

7 She had it scheduled to today and it has to be cancelled, but

8 there is Dr. Barton in St. Petersburg that is a psychiatrist,

9 so he's an MD, and he's an addiction specialist. She's –-

10 she’d be willing to continue with that and go by also

11 whatever he recommends, if that would help.

12 THE COURT: Well, I know Dr. Flax wants to not come in

13 anymore. I know Ms. Flax doesn’t want to come in anymore,

14 but I can't make you guys offer whatever. I mean, you're

15 being very generous already with your offer; knocking off

16 three cases, that’s being very generous. You have, according

17 to your own –- you have a pretty good case allegedly, from

18 your position, from what you've told me. So, and I don’t

19 know, I can't make you give a withhold or adjudication. If

20 he pleads open you're not going to have to drop the cases.

21 So, I can't even go around and get involved myself, because

22 you won’t drop the cases then. So, --

23 MR. TSOUBANOS: I understand Judge, and Mr. Ignatuck’s a

24 great attorney, but in the same sense, I mean, it's been

25 conveyed to me that’s she's completed 18 classes, well that


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1 hasn’t helped. She still picked up new offenses completing

2 the classes. The classes are great, sometimes they help

3 people, obviously some times they don’t. Because, you know

4 what --

5 THE COURT: You know why it's not helping her?

6 MR. TSOUBANOS: -- that’s not the problem.

7 THE COURT: Because of the drinking.

8 MR. TSOUBANOS: Right.

9 THE COURT: That’s what's messing her up. She's

10 probably not even that much of a domestic violence batterer,

11 she's just a drinker. And, the drinking causes depression

12 and divorces –- obviously, the drinking is causing that

13 violence to occur. I don’t know if she wasn’t drinking, you

14 think she would still be the way that she is if she wasn’t

15 drinking?

16 MR. FLAX: There are drugs as well.

17 THE COURT: Okay. Well, my point is –-

18 MR. FLAX: Drinking and drugs. But, --

19 THE COURT: Take away the substances –-

20 MR. FLAX: There was an awful lot of domestic violence,

21 you know, for –-

22 THE COURT: Why did you put up with that?

23 MR. FLAX: Because, I was trying to get her to help,

24 plus, I was –- frankly, I was trying be, you know, a man.

25 Men are not supposed to complain when women, you know,


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1 scratch their arms --

2 THE COURT: True.

3 MR. FLAX: -- and smack them around. We’re supposed to

4 stand there and take it. You know, and I think that’s part

5 of being married to an alcoholic, you cover for them, you -–

6 I lied.

7 THE COURT: It’s an enabler.

8 MR. FLAX: Yeah.

9 THE COURT: You are what's called an enabler.

10 MR. FLAX: I know. And, I'm just afraid that this Court

11 system may be, you know, enabling her as well, if we give her

12 a pass, because it's time that, you know –-

13 THE COURT: I can't, because he's got this -– he

14 controls this case.

15 MR. FLAX: Right.

16 THE COURT: Normally, I control it. But, because he's

17 able to drop charges and I can't. See he's going to -– I

18 don’t mean that in a bad way, but he kind of decides what

19 happens here because I can't give her withhold and drop the

20 other cases. So, even if I was to consider that, the State’s

21 not going to drop those other cases. And, as result of that

22 we’re really a stalemate, what's called a Texas stand off.

23 MR. IGNATUCK: Is there a way that the Court would

24 consider this, to release her to the house confinement with

25 her father until the pre-trial on the 12th, and I can try to
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1 continue to discuss the matter with Mr. Tsoubanos, and see if

2 we -– if there is a way we can either have some additional

3 conditions. I don’t want to -– I don’t want to blow this for

4 her. It's going to be her decision.

5 THE COURT: I understand, but Bill, I can't do that.

6 I'm concerned that she -– she's violated Court order three

7 times, while most of it’s probably not her as a person, but

8 her a drinker. At some point, if something were to happen to

9 him I couldn’t forgive myself. She's had three violations,

10 this being the third one of my orders. And, while they

11 haven't been outrageous I agree with you, there have been

12 three. And, at some point I got to say you know what I can't

13 take a chance on her. I can't trust –- I can trust people so

14 much, but at some point that trust is gone right now. So, I

15 don’t have any trust in her right now, no disrespect, I just

16 don’t. And, I'm afraid if something happened and –- I

17 couldn’t live with myself. I, you know –- it just wouldn’t be

18 right. So, I can't let her out right now, based on what's

19 happened. I feel like she’d violate the Court order. So –-

20 MR. IGNATUCK: Well –-

21 THE COURT: I don’t want to put her in a box either. I

22 don’t want to put you in a box either, but -– and I know she

23 has medical problems, but a lot people in jail have medical

24 problems. And, I'm dreadfully sorry about that. I will ask

25 the Jail, through my Chief Deputy, to see if there is


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1 anything we can do to get her the medicine she needs. I

2 don’t want her to be deprived from medical reasons, but at

3 the same time I got to look out for the safety of this

4 gentleman plus the safety of his daughter. And, I just can't

5 risk that.

6 MR. IGNATUCK: Is there any way that the State can do

7 something without an adjudication? I'm only concerned about

8 her career in the future.

9 THE COURT: I will allow you to sit and talk to him for

10 a few more minutes. I got to be here -– I got to see Mr.

11 King for a minute and I got to see John. So –-

12 MR. IGNATUCK: Alright.

13 MR. TSOUBANOS: Judge, really briefly, what career is

14 there? We have no job –-

15 THE COURT: She mentioned she is a UF grad, so she's

16 always got prospects –-

17 MR. IGNATUCK: She's –-

18 THE COURT: That’s a very esteemed university, at least

19 in the State of Florida it is, I'm not sure how it is

20 nationwide, but around the state of Florida it's a very

21 esteemed thing. So –-

22 MR. IGNATUCK: According to her tax return, she's earned

23 six figures earlier this decade –-

24 THE COURT: Well, there you go.

25 MR. IGNATUCK: -- for several years.


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1 THE COURT: Why don’t you all have a little -- sit down

2 outside for a few minutes, involving everybody, and I’ll call

3 you back up in a minute.

4 MR. IGNATUCK: Thank you, Your Honor.

5 THE COURT: Let me deal with Mr. King for a minute.

6 MR. IGNATUCK: Thank you.

7 THE COURT: Then I got to deal with Mr. Castro.

8 (The requested excerpt of the proceedings was concluded.)

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