Drug Policy

Prosecutors Refuse To Drop Charges in Florida Vicodin Case

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Remember Mark O'Hara, the Florida man who was absurdly convicted of possessing 58 Vicodin pills, despite the fact that he had a legal prescription for them? A Florida appeals court called the conviction "ridiculous," the prosecutors' argument that there is no "prescription defense" in Florida "absurd," ordered O'Hara a new trial, and had him released from prison, where he'd been for two years.

Well, prosecutors have decided they're going to try him again.

The Hillsborough State Attorney's Office has decided not to drop charges against Mark O'Hara, who was freed from prison after an appeals court said he deserved a new trial.

O'Hara's lawyer, Ira Berman, angrily stormed out of the courthouse after a brief 8:30 a.m. hearing before Hillsborough Circuit Judge Ronald Ficarrotta.

"It's quite a shame," Berman said. "Quite a pitiful shame. End of story. End of statement."

O'Hara, 45, dressed in a white-button down shirt and a pink tie, said he could not comment on the case.

A group of residents calling themselves "We the People Florida" walked out of court after O'Hara's hearing. The group's leader, Bill Trudelle, said they wanted to send a message to Hillsborough State Attorney Mark Ober.

I can't help but wonder how they're going to try him for drug trafficking if the jury will this time be allowed to hear that he had a valid prescription for the pills (there was no evidence he sold or distributed the pills presented at the initial trial). Police also found a misdemeanor amount of marijuana in O'Hara's truck, but it's hard to see why they'd go to the trouble of a new trial for that, given that O'Hara has already served two years.

Perhaps this time, the appeals court will consider slapping the prosecutors with sanctions, and telling them once and for all to leave this guy alone. Seems like that's the only thing that will get some of these prosecutors to start showing better judgment.

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  1. It doesn’t have to go that far. The appeals court said that if he did get tried again, they could just file a motion to dismiss. Apparently, such a motion wasn’t filed in the original trial, but it should bring this idiotic retrial to a grinding halt.

  2. This makes my head hurt. Really. I can’t think of a justification for this prosecutor doing this. It’s malicious. Part of me wants to bring this up to the disciplinary committee of the Florida Bar.

  3. They should file a motion to dismiss Ober. Jeez, I think I voted for him. Ugh.

  4. Pro Lib,

    I think you belong on highnumber’s list of well meaning a**holes for that one…

  5. Police also found a misdemeanor amount of marijuana in O’Hara’s truck, but it’s hard to see why they’d go to the trouble of a new trial for that, given that O’Hara has already served two years.

    Because the drug warriors believe that if they lose any point on any case at any time the whole prohibition apparatus will come crashing down and crack will be sold in school vending machines.

    It’s a pity they’re as wrong about that as they are about everything else.

  6. I had no clue he’d do anything like this. Is there such a thing as a good, principled prosecutor?

  7. I had no clue he’d do anything like this. Is there such a thing as a good, principled prosecutor?

    Rudy Giuliani.

  8. Okay, that was funny.

  9. Part of me wants to bring this up to the disciplinary committee of the Florida Bar.

    The rest of you should listen to that part.

  10. The rest of you should listen to that part.

    Yeah, but it’s probably the part that always gets him into trouble when he thinks with it.

  11. O’Hara, 45, dressed in a white-button down shirt and a pink tie, said he could not comment on the case.

    WTF? That is relevant, why? “Hey, look at the crazy stoner with his pink tie!”

  12. *shrug* That part didn’t even register with me. It’s not an outrageous thing to wear at all.

  13. A pink tie? Well, that changes everything for me. I’d charge him with treason.

  14. it’s probably the part that always gets him into trouble when he thinks with it.

    So long as it gets the prosecutor in trouble as well, that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to have him make.

  15. We need to start severely spanking (figuratively) our prosecutors in this country.

  16. Hey, this is the same state whose prosecutors gave Rush Bimbo a pass for much larger quantities of pills, which he had obtained by subterfuge, at best. Why would anyone expect a Florida prosecutor to exercise reasoned judgment?

  17. I think I’ve figured it out. These prosocutors are trying to build their ‘street creds’ so they can open a new law firm with the prosocutor from the Duke case and (ex)Judge Lost pants.

  18. They should file a motion to dismiss Ober. Jeez, I think I voted for him. Ugh.

    I voted for Thurbert Baker-twice(Genarlow Wilson)

    Happens to the best of us. I’m strongly considering withdrawing my consent to be governed.I can use that extra hour on the occasional Fall tuesdays for something productive.

  19. Oh hey Mark Ober is embarassing Tampa again, woo woo

  20. Well Ober’s out next time I vote, the rat.

  21. If they don’t vote this fucking DA out of office in the next election, then Florida indeed deserves the title of “Laughing Stock” that it has held since 2000. Abuse of power is too mild of a term to describe what is happening here. If having a prescription is not “excuse” enough to have a drug, what the fuck is?

  22. I just read the entire article and near the end it states that the jury was not told that Vicodin, literally the most prescribed medication in the United States, was legal with a prescription, thus the conviction. Is this whole fucking state brain dead? You mean not one person on the entire jury said “Hey, Vicodin is legal”.
    I weep for our country when I realize these assholes pretty much decide who runs the US every four years.

  23. I live in Tampa and what’s even more depressing is there are probably more than a few people who believe the prosecutor is doing the right thing.

    No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the sources of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.- P. J. O’Rourke

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