We have written several times on the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Adult Pre-Arrest Diversion Program (APAD) – read the original blog here: Pinellas Adult Pre-Arrest Diversion (APAD) Program – The Good, The Bad, and the Unknown.
Just last week, the Tampa Bay Times reported that there would be no changes to the County’s arrest diversion program officially known as the Adult Pre-Arrest Diversion Program or APAD (see No changes for Pinellas County’s arrest diversion program). The article stated that “law enforcement and judicial representatives from Pinellas County met last week” to discuss the state of the program and any changes they felt were necessary.
Those running the APAD program have once again omitted criminal defense attorneys from providing any feedback or input to the program in any official capacity. Criminal defense attorneys across Pinellas County have been concerned about the program and the way it may negatively affect defendants, and have highlighted issues related to Due Process and the overall Constitutionality of the APAD program. Unfortunately, defense counsels’ opinion on the program has been largely ignored and defendants have paid the price. Examples of real-life issues with the program have been highlighted here on the Morris Law Firm Blog, as well as with other defense attorneys’ personal experience.
But, once again, the Pinellas County Sheriff has claimed victory given the results of the program. It makes for a good headline, but is this really the definition of what Sheriff Gualtieri states is “meeting and exceeding expectations”?
- 3,228 people were screened for eligibility. Of those, 2,010 people, or 62 percent, were deemed ineligible, about half because they had prior arrests, Gualtieri said.
- Of the 1,218 people who were eligible, 778 completed the program, which consists mainly of community service and restitution. Another 89 are still pending. The rest did not complete the program requirements.
So, a program where over 60% of the people screened are not eligible, and just over 60% actually complete the program is apparently a successful program according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office? Anywhere else that would earn you a D-.
We believe it is in your best interest to consult with a criminal defense attorney to be advised of your rights and to ensure that an APAD referral is in your best legal interests. The Morris Law Firm provides a reasonable flat fee consultation to ensure you understand the APAD program and understand your rights before accepting the referral to the program. Talk to attorneys Seth Shapiro and Melinda Morris about your case – there may be other ways to resolve your issue outside of APAD depending on the circumstances. Call the Morris Law Firm at (727) 592-5885, Option 1 for New Clients to speak with an attorney about your APAD referral.