An update on my blog post regarding 10th Judicial Circuit Judge Harlan and her Judicial Assistant (JA) Alisha Rupp's criminal case. Yesterday, I posted that Ms. Alisha Rupp's defense attorney was requesting a continuance of her trial set for next week. In Polk County, we have "Mandatory Docketing" on the Friday before the trial. At these hearings, the judge will discuss with the defense and State Attorney and last minute scheduling details or legal motions, such as a motion to continue a trial. Many times a defendant will plead to the charges to resolve their case at these court dates. That is what happened in the JA's case as she pled "No Contest" to all the charges. A "No Contest" plea is similar to a guilty plea in that you are admitting that the prosecutor could put forth enough evidence at a trial to prove all the elements of a crime. A person may have defenses to those crimes, but by pleaing "no contest" they waive those defenses. Whether those defense would be successful or not would be up to the jury at trial.
Ms. Alisha Rupp pled to falsifying her time sheets and filing a false police report. Ms. Alisha Rupp was also accused of filing a false police report. Ms. Alisha Rupp accused a bailiff of threatening her with a stun gun for refusing to have sex with him, and she alleged the bailiff attempted to extort $4,000 from her. Later, the JA allegedly admitted that this was not true. The court house has extensive cameras and there are ways to prove where a bailiff is at most times so there was probably some other independent evidence that the allegations were not true. Many times when a suspect is confronted with irrefutable evidence that their story is not true that will confess.
Remember to always call and speak to a criminal lawyer first before speaking to the police!
The sentencing is set for Wednesday on the 3rd degree grand theft felony (up to 5 years prison) and the filing a false police report is a 1st degree misdemeanor (up to 1 year in the Polk county jail). These charges will not score a mandatory prison sentence so it will be interesting to see what the sentence will be next week. In addition, the JA will be sentenced to pay "restitution" which means she will have to pay back any money stolen. There will probably be a separate hearing to determine the exact amount she will have to pay back to the State of Florida.
Unfortunately, this does not mean an end to the case. Ms. Alisha Rupp only pled to the "old" charges and not the 13 additional counts of "forgery by making a false public record" that the prosecutor recently added. Those cases may stil go to trial, be pled to, or as the defense hopes, dropped by the prosecutor.
If you have been arrested for a serious felony offense,
call an experienced criminal defense attorney that will stand up and fight for you in court!