Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

At Time of Resolutions, Looking for Resolution

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

At Time of Resolutions, Looking for Resolution

Article excerpt

Here at year's end, some stories stand out as ones I hope to write about again, because I really want to know how they turn out.

Atop my list: The tale of Matthew Wiggins, an agent with the U.S. Marshal's Service whom you might remember for his gangbuster actions as agent-in-charge of the local Fugitive Task Force.

In that role, his team tackled one innocent and unsuspecting man, a mall cookie decorator, from behind in July because he looked something like a wanted man that the U.S. Marshal thought was in the mall area.

That night, still seeking the same wanted man, Wiggins led a well- armed siege of a Sarasota nurse's apartment. The panicked resident had no idea why armed men were at her apartment or if they were really cops, as Wiggins loudly and profanely claimed, as he demanded to be let into her apartment.

Wiggins opened the woman's door anyway while threatening to shoot -- and he had jumped to conclusions again.

I reported yet another Wiggins incident in which a woman said she and her boyfriend had been rousted from bed and similarly terrorized at gunpoint. Again, the much-asserted assumption had been that the couple were harboring someone they, in fact, had never even heard of.

Wiggins became the focus of a U.S. Justice Department internal investigation that as far as I can tell is still underway, five months or so later. It has to end some day, and 2014 is a good bet.

Medical pot

This story has already had one good outcome, but I hope there is more to come. I'm thinking of the saga of Cathy Jordan, partially paralyzed from Lou Gehrig's disease, and her husband, Robert Jordan, who grows the marijuana that eases her symptoms.

They had long lobbied state lawmakers to legalize medical use of marijuana, but deputies who didn't know that showed up on a tip and seized the couple's backyard pot plants.

Robert Jordan not only admitted to growing the plants, but also said he could not accept any plea deal that required a promise to stop, because cannabis is the only medicine that eases his wife's suffering.

State Attorney Ed Brodsky decided not to prosecute, citing an uncertain court ruling that says that prosecution is wrong in cases of serious medical need for marijuana when there is no effective, safe and lawful alternative. …

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