Thursday November 28 ,2013 : GET ON WITH IT, JUDGE TELLS ALLIED VETERANS OF AMERICA LAWYERS (Update)
No unreasonable delays will be tolerated, says Seminole County judge as 11 more defendants appear.
Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jnr made it clear this week that he will not tolerate unreasonable delays in finalising the trials of 11 more defendants in the Allied Veterans of America internet cafe gambling case.
The Judge used a colourful analogy in telling legal representatives of the eleven defendants who had asked for more time to prepare, telling them that he was not prepared to let them "dig themselves into holes like armadillos," and threatening to pull them out by the tail.
“You are going to pop out of that hole and you are going to be ready for trial,” Lester said, according to a News Journal report.
The 11 defendants, all resident in the Volusia and Flagier counties of Florida and accused of running internet gambling from cybercafes, were among 57 people arrested earlier this year in a massive enforcement drive that crossed state boundaries.
The judge was good to his word, setting about the business of the court and resolving three cases by dismissing them or accepting guilty or no contest pleas.
In a later hearing he finalised six more cases on Tuesday with defendants from outside Volusia and Flagler counties pleading no contest and the judge withholding adjudication and ordering them to pay court costs.
Judge Lester did not sentence anyone to jail time. Seventeen cases remain outstanding, prosecutors said.
The judge told legal representatives in the remaining cases that he expected them to be ready for trial by April 2014, a timeframe that gave them ample time to complete depositions and other elements on which they had requested a delay.
In October this year a lawyer described as the principal defendant in the case, Kelly Mathis, was convicted by jury on 103 of 104 counts. He will be sentenced early next year