Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Panel hearing found cause in Weiner case

A state police commission decided Wednesday there is enough evidence to move forward with a disciplinary hearing against a former Florida Keys top cop in danger of losing his law enforcement credentials.

A five-member panel of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's (FDLE) Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission found probable cause Wednesday to have a disciplinary hearing regarding former FDLE Special Agent in Charge Vince Weiner, who pleaded no contest to a petty theft charge in April.

Next comes the disciplinary phase in which Weiner could lose his law enforcement certification. That certification allows him to continue working as a road patrol deputy with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, said Tracy Lehman, the FDLE Office of Discipline manager.

What happens next is up to Weiner, Lehman explained. Weiner could elect to have a formal hearing in which he challenges the facts of the case.

"That would be more like a little trial," Lehman said.

Weiner could also elect for an informal hearing -- not challenge the facts of the case -- but still argue to keep his certification or he could simply relinquish his certification, Lehman said. He has about 30 days to make that decision from the date of when the administrative complaint is mailed, Lehman said.

Weiner had previously been represented by attorney Donald Barrett in his criminal case. Neither Weiner nor Barrett could be reached for comment Wednesday.

The matter is not expected to be resolved until January and possibly as late as May, Lehman said.

Weiner claimed a homestead exemption on his Big Pine Key home while renting it out and living on Florida's west coast, and initially was charged with providing false homestead information, a first-degree misdemeanor, and grand theft, a third-degree felony, according to the State Attorney's Office.

Circuit Judge Mark Jones withheld adjudication on the theft charge, meaning Weiner emerged with no criminal record. A charge of providing false homestead exemption information was dismissed as part of his plea agreement.

The issue did, however, cost Weiner his job with the FDLE.

Sheriff Bob Peryam hired Weiner shortly thereafter, where he remained employed as of Wednesday, said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Becky Herrin.

alinhardt@keysnews.com

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