Yet another police officer from Florida.
By JAY STAPLETON
DAYTONA BEACH -- The underage sex case of former Volusia County Beach Patrol Officer Bobby Tameris will "probably not" go to trial next week as scheduled.
It could take more than a week to settle an ongoing legal dispute in the case, a judge said Tuesday.
Mike Lambert, the lawyer defending Tameris against charges that accuse the former officer of having sex with two teenage girls, launched further into an argument in court Tuesday to get the charges dismissed.
His key point is that Tameris' rights were violated when a State Attorney's Office investigator sent a young woman to Tameris' home wearing a recording device. The investigator, Lambert claims, knew that Tameris, 46, of Port Orange was represented by an attorney and had refused to answer questions.
"There has never been a case like this," Lambert told Circuit Judge Joseph Will. "And I hope there never is again."
Lambert said the woman was "outfitted with a wire and told what to ask." Lambert said the woman used promises of romance -- and even marriage -- if Tamaris would answer her questions about his relationships with others.
The investigation that resulted in Tameris' arrest started in the summer of 2009 when the State Attorney's Office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducted a joint investigation. They were focusing on allegations Tameris had sex with lifeguards who were 16 or 17.
In the initial joint investigation, prosecutors did not pursue the case because "there was insufficient evidence to go forward," records show.
But after an internal investigation was conducted by the Volusia County Beach Patrol about the allegations, a State Attorney's Office investigator "determined that he wanted to open up the investigation" of claims Tameris had sex with a teen lifeguard.
One of the young women, who is not identified in court papers by her full name, was outfitted with a recording device and sent to talk with Tameris.
Lambert doesn't just want the recorded conversations thrown out, he wants the whole case to be tossed because of what he calls misconduct on the part of investigators. "The utilization of a friendly female to enter Tameris' home wearing a wire and solicit incriminating statements from him violates the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution," he said.
If convicted, Tameris could face prison.
Under Florida law, it is a felony for a person older than 24 to have sex with a person who is 16 or 17, regardless of whether the sex was consensual or not.
The lengthy hearing that started over a month ago was expected to wrap up Tuesday.
But after hearing from Lambert on the legal issues, Judge Will said he needed more time to hear from prosecutors. The State Attorney's Office will respond to Lambert's argument in court Friday.
The case has been met with many delays since Tameris was arrested two years ago. If the judge denies a motion for dismissal, the case is scheduled to go to trial next week.
Assistant State Attorney Celeste Gagne, the lead prosecutor on the case, asked Judge Will is the case was "still on for trial next week."
"Probably not," Will said, explaining there is a lot of material to read over. "I would really like the case to go to trial as soon as possible."