They found 58 Vicodin that he had a prescription for and a small amount of marijuana in is bread truck. Apparently, the issue was the amount of pills that gave the judge the authority to send him to prison for 25 years for trafficking. Another court felt differently....and the warden gave him $60 bucks to get home...h/t to I Was The State
TAMPA - Mark O'Hara left jail without handcuffs Wednesday, two years after he went to prison and one week since an appeals court ordered him a new trial.
He was serving a 25-year sentence for having 58 Vicodin pills in his bread truck. Jurors weren't told that it is legal to possess the drug with a prescription, which he had.
The Hillsborough State Attorney's Office has not decided whether it will seek a retrial in the Dunedin man's drug trafficking case.
O'Hara, 45, said he made the 168-mile trip back from a Dixie County prison without knowing exactly why. His attorneys had alerted him of their successful appeal but cautioned that it wouldn't become final for 30 days.
Still, he figured something positive was afoot.
"They been treating me like a human," he said of authorities.
Events leading up to his release also seem to point in his favor.
Col. David Parrish, who runs the county's jails, said State Attorney Mark Ober called him late Monday afternoon with an urgent request. He wanted O'Hara brought back to Hillsborough from the Cross City Correctional Institution as soon as possible.
Prison transfers usually take a week. O'Hara's took a day.
On Wednesday morning, he appeared before Circuit Judge Ronald Ficarrotta, the same jurist who heard his trial and sentenced him to the mandatory 25 years in prison on the trafficking charge.
The hearing was scheduled so quickly that O'Hara's attorneys didn't even know about it.
Prosecutor Darrell Dirks acknowledged that the state erred in leaving out a jury instruction regarding prescriptions. He suggested O'Hara be returned to the status he had before his August 2005 trial.
O'Hara piped up, saying he had been released from jail on his own recognizance after his arrest.Article Here