Michael J. San FilippoFormer Assistant State Attorney Michael J. San Filippo, who lives in Lee, said that he was fired for refusing to reduce felony charges against the son of his supervisor.
San Filippo said that a matter had arisen when Florida Highway Patrol Trooper John Sleigher had stopped Matthew Smith, the son of San Filippo’s supervisor, Karen Hatton.
San Filippo said that when the matter was presented to him to be investigated, he spoke with Sleigher. San Filippo said the trooper advised him that Smith had attempted to intimidate and threaten the trooper, by repeatedly telling him the position Smith’s mother held at the State Attorney’s Office. Sleigher also reportedly said that Smith told him that his mother would have his badge and the state attorney would dismiss the case, because his mother was a supervisor at the office.
“Nevertheless and undeterred, the trooper fulfilled his legal duty and arrested the son on felony DWLS (driving while license suspended),” San Filippo said. “According to the trooper, this was not the son’s first felony charge either.”
San Filippo said that soon after the incident, Hatton emailed him directly and privately to reduce her son’s charges from a felony.
I was shocked, but I proceeded to investigate the case,” said San Filippo. “Based upon the police reports in the court file, it was clearly a felony, and as such, I directed the clerk to file the case as a felony.”
The first email that San Filippo presented to the newspaper was an email from Hatton to Skip Jarvis, which read as follows:
“I just got a call from my son, Matthew. He was on his way to school at FSU this morning and was pulled over by a trooper in Taylor County for not wearing a seat belt. When the trooper looked up his license, it had been recently suspended for not paying a ticket. To make matters worse, he has such a bad driving record that the trooper arrested him for felony DWLS. He has probably 5 DWLS’ in his past, the most recent one in 2003 (I think). Anyway, Danny Herring was at the jail and bonded him out (he knows Matthew and me from work.) Matthew is asking for the public defender. That’s all I know so far.
“Karen D. Hatton
Assistant State Attorney
100 Court S.E.
Live Oak, Florida 32064
Dave Phelps, Elise Blair and San Filippo all received copies of the email.
San Filippo later received an email that was sent only to him by Hatton.
The text of the email is as follows:
“What part of the alphabet do you handle? I’m hoping that you look at Matthew’s case and file it down. He’s already gotten his license back.”
San Filippo responded to the email 35 minutes later with the following:
“a through h”
San Filippo interpreted the email as Hatton asking him to reduce it from a felony to a misdemeanor.
A few days later, San Filippo said that he was fired by State Attorney Skip Jarvis for not reducing the charges to a civil citation or a misdemeanor and for complaining about what he considered unethical, illegal, obstructive and corrupt conduct.
This writer left three voice mails at the State Attorney’s Office for Skip Jarvis, asking for his side of the story. At press time, Thursday morning, July 15, none of them had been returned
Sidebar: You recall Karen Hatton worked with the Town to incarcerate Joe for information I had on an application. When the New Assistant State’s Attorney Carmichael took over Hatton’s files in October 2015, he could see how the Town and Karen Hatton were railroading us and the Charges should not have been made. Furthermore she was moved up to the Juvenile Crime Section and after a little over 16 years as an ASA, she apparently was let go. At the time our Federal Civil Rights attorney felt Karen Hatton was innocent but some of the things she did during that time, I didn’t believe she was for a moment. Skip Jarvis was a friend of ours but was let go before the Town took after us. Apparently Karen Hatton was a member of the bar in 2001 and she had a little over 16 years experience as an ASA, before she was forced into private practice. Does she blame us ? Well you decide in an upcoming article by Joe Griffin. I think the Ratt led her astray and since he never places anything in writing, it may be a problem for her. She raised quite a family. Her felon daughter has told us we are not welcome to phone her office.
Karin for the blog