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Wednesday, Oct 01, 2014

Elaine Silvestrini

Tribune Staff

Hakkens accept plea deals in kidnapping of sons

- Joshua and Sharyn Hakkens admitted to snatching their young children from the home of her parents in April 2013 after losing custody, then sailed with the boys to Cuba.

Plan to prevent tax fraud could delay refunds

- The voices calling for a fundamental shift in the way federal tax refunds are processed grew louder Monday as the Government Accountability Office released a report saying changes are needed to end the stolen identity refun...

Feds: Translator shortage an issue in Florida courts

- In many Florida courtrooms, people with limited or no ability to understand English are on their own. The U.S. Justice Department says that’s not fair.

Largo business owner still not happy with birth control rules under Obamacare


— Although the federal government has officially dropped its appeal of a ruling exempting his company from having to provide employees certain types of birth control, Thomas Bec...

Bondi fights to prevent lesbians’ divorce

- Attorney General Pam Bondi may be fighting to prevent same-sex couples from marrying in Florida, but she is also taking a legal position that has the effect of forcing gay couples who married elsewhere to stay married, lawy...

Court may unmask Hillsborough drug informant known as 'Mr. X'

- For more than two years, a prosecutor has fought to keep the man's identity a secret. Judges have repeatedly sided with defense lawyers, who describe him not as a confidential informant but a cooperating defendant.

Trial date set for former Tampa cop accused of food stamp fraud


— A former Tampa police sergeant and another woman are scheduled to go on trial for food stamp fraud in December.

Voting purge protester sentenced for letters to Republicans


When James Webb Baker Jr. read about Gov. Rick Scott’s efforts to purge voter registration roles of ineligible voters, he got mad.

No prison for Seattle man who intimidated GOP donors in Florida


— When James Webb Baker Jr. read about Gov. Rick Scott’s efforts to purge voter registration roles of ineligible voters, he got mad.

Menendez helped Hillsborough Courts rise from chaos, scandal

- When Manuel Menendez Jr. took the helm of Hillsborough Courts as chief judge, he inherited a system in chaos.

West Palm Beach DUI manslaughter case coming here


— The case of a West Palm Beach area polo mogul accused of killing a man with his Bentley is coming to Tampa.

Lesbian couple from Tampa will have to wait for ruling on divorce


A lesbian couple from Tampa will have to wait for the Florida Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of the state’s gay marriage ban before the women’s divorce case can be settled.

Crackdown helps Florida heal from pill mill epidemic

- The “patients” used to pour into Florida from across the country as doctors passed out Oxycodone like candy, making it the unofficial pill mill capital of the U.S.

Florida Supreme Court asked to rule on gay marriage


— The case of a same-sex Tampa couple wanting to dissolve their Massachusetts marriage was sent to the Florida Supreme Court Wednesday by a state appellate court that took the u...

Hillsborough judicial candidates face runoff in November


— Hillsborough County voters were asked to select four new circuit court judges Tuesday but will have to finish the job in November because no one captured more than 50 percent ...

Smart on Crime early-release plan reverberates in Middle District


As federal officials embark on programs designed to grant early release to thousands of federal inmates, the Middle District of Florida is expected to be one of the most affec...

Hillsborough survivalist to take plea deal on weapons charges


Martin Winters, a survivalist who authorities say fled fr...

What can parents do?


— Experts say parents should have a continuing conversation with their children about the threat of strangers who can victimize them online through any device that connects to t...

Predators target kids via apps, police say


— In March, a 14-year-old Tampa girl got on a bus headed to Mexico with a 25-year-old

Attorney general: Company taking advantage of underwater homeowners


— The attorneys general for Florida and Connecticut say a group of businesses fronted by a Tampa lawyer perpetrated a multi-million-dollar scam on thousands of financially strap...

3 doomsday preppers to plead guilty to charges


— Three members of the so-called River Otter Preppers survivalist group have agre...

Judge sentences McTear to life in prison

- Richard McTear Jr. will spend the rest of his life in prison but won’t face the death chamber for murdering an infant by throwing him out a car window on Interstate 275 five years ago.

Violent past emerges as jury ponders McTear's fate

- As the prosecution and defense presented evidence over whether Richard McTear should be sentenced to death in the murder of a 3-month-old boy, a picture of violence emerged.