Retired U.S. Coast Guard Commander Russell Miner (not his real name) retained Attorney Jeffrey H. Garland to “clean up” old and erroneous entries on the criminal history maintained by FDLE. A FDLE examiner advised that an arrest for possession of cannabis under 20 grams remained “active”, even though the date of arrest was 6/14/1974.
The St. Lucie County Clerk of Court advised that the case could not be reported as “dropped”, even after the passage of over 41 years. After conferring with the client, Attorney Garland sought to file a demand for speedy trial. However, the Clerk’s office advised that it could not accept the demand, because the case did not have a case number compatible with electronic filing.
After some five weeks, the Clerk’s office advised Attorney Garland that the 1974 case was now equipped with a case number for electronic filing. Garland filed the demand for speedy trial the very next day, which was 5/12/2016. County Judge Phillip J. Yacucci’s office immediately set the demand for a “return” hearing on 5/16/2016, at 1:30 P.M. Prosecutors elected to file a written Nolle prosse shortly before the 5/16/2016 hearing. Put another way, it took the State nearly 42 years to end the prosecution of Russell Miner.
There is little privacy in today’s “wired” world. It is more important than ever to make sure official records are accurate and complete. This case illustrates how a demand for speedy trial can be employed to bring closure to an old case. FDLE will correct the entry as soon as the Clerk’s office reports the nolle prosse.