Florida Criminal Defense Attorney Wins Post-Conviction Release for BlueWare CEO
In February, criminal defense attorney Jose Baez won a post-conviction release of BlueWare CEO Rose Harr, who was previously found guilty of Conspiracy to Commit Bribery and Principle to Commit Bid Tampering in a 2014 criminal public corruption case.
The alleged scandal and subsequent charges involved former Brevard Clerk of the Court Mitchell Needelman and lobbyist William Dupree, and was transferred from Brevard to Seminole County. Harr had previously been sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Alva to 36 months for each charge, as well as 12 and two years probation for the Conspiracy and Principle charges. A jury had also convicted Harr for crimes that carried a maximum penalty of serving up to 30 years in prison. Although found guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery, Harr was not found guilty of actually committing bribery.
The Allegations & Arrests
The case stems from a 2012 meeting, whereby promises were allegedly made for Brevard County to enter into a “scanning contract” with the company BlueWare if some of the profit was diverted to reelection campaigns for those involved in awarding the contract. BlueWare payments were also allegedly funneled back into reelection campaigns and the company allegedly received payments before official contracts had been signed. The FDLE also initiated a criminal investigation as a result of the alleged scandal, and everyone involved was arrested under the premise that the contracts entered into were unlawful.
Disqualification of Judges in Florida
Baez successfully had Judge Alva recused from the case due to a bias held against the defendant and/or in favor of other individuals or issues, results, etc. involved in the case. Under Florida law, judges can be disqualified for prejudice, where the facts of a case create an appearance of impropriety. The law also provides for disqualification when the party fears that they will not receive a fair trial due to the bias or prejudge of the judge(s). Specifically, the Code of Judicial Conduct calls on judges to disqualify themselves “in a proceeding in which [their] impartiality might reasonably be requested.”
Conditions of Release
Seminole County Circuit Court Judge Recksiedler—the judge who presided over the case—placed the following conditions on Harr’s release (i.e. Harr must):
- Appear at future court appearances;
- Not have any contact with the witnesses involved in the cases;
- Be fitted with a GPS monitor;
- Stay in Brevard or Seminole County;
- Post a $150,000 bond; and
- Surrender her passport.
Contact Our Experienced Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys to Find Out More
Defense Attorney Jose Baez has successfully defended a number of high-profile clients, including Rose Harr, Aaron Hernandez, Casey Anthony, and a number of others. We have received wide recognition for our superior legal services. Contact us today to find out more.