Miami City Commission candidate answers questions about his past legal problems

Miami City Commission candidate answers questions about his past legal problems
Miami City Commission candidate answers questions about his past legal problems

As Miami voters go to the polls in a uncommon Monday election, one of many candidates for metropolis fee is responding to questions about felony fees he confronted between 1995 and 2010.

The candidate for the District 2 seat on the town fee, James Torres, confronted not less than 4 fees whereas residing in Arizona, starting from accusations throughout divorce proceedings to a traffic-related violation. Most had been dismissed, one resulted in probation and one other in a effective.

No data exist detailing the circumstances of those fees as a result of they had been destroyed after a sure period of time, as is allowed under Arizona law. Data about the fees, which had been discovered on personal database TLO by personal investigator Eladio Paez had been offered to the Herald by a political operative.

The findings weren’t revealed in a background examine on Torres in late January on a database service known as Accurint utilized by the Herald and accessible to the general public. That search revealed just a few visitors infractions however no felony fees. A separate search with the Florida Division of Legislation Enforcement didn’t return any outcomes.

Torres, 51, works in gross sales for a telecommunications firm. He labored in promoting gross sales on the Miami Herald, leaving in 2019. He answered questions about the fees in an interview Saturday.

The fees

October 1995: Torres was charged with aggravated assault and interference with judicial proceedings, in line with archived data positioned by the Herald on Saturday within the courtroom system for Maricopa County, Arizona. He mentioned he was within the means of a divorce, and there was an order dictating his visitation rights with his youngsters. He instructed the Herald that he was one hour and 45 minutes late in returning the kids to his ex-wife, violating the courtroom order. He mentioned she known as the police and falsely claimed he assaulted her after he was late.

Torres’ ex-wife, Lorie Fowler, didn’t reply to the Herald’s requests for remark.

Torres mentioned the courtroom dropped the assault cost and put him on probation for interference with judicial proceedings, the legal description for the violation that resulted from his being late in returning the kids to their mom.

What the courtroom did discover is that I violated the order when it comes to the time constraint,” he mentioned. “They instructed me, ‘If you need to be there at 3, you’re not gonna be there at 6.’ ”

March 2000: Torres was charged with endangering the life and well being of a minor and aggravated assault. He mentioned the fees stem from false accusations made in household courtroom as his divorce proceedings continued, and he mentioned Fowler made the claims as a result of she needed full custody of the kids. He mentioned he was accused of hitting his youngsters.

“I used to be by no means arrested. By no means in a holding cell or at the back of a squad automobile,” Torres mentioned. “The decide mentioned, ‘I do know the sport you’re taking part in right here, and that is unwarranted and unfounded.’ All of it was dismissed.”

July 2005: Torres was charged with disorderly conduct and felony harm. He mentioned the cost is the results of a confrontation he had with a drunk stranger in his neighborhood who was yelling at residents, together with hollering racial slurs and insulting him and his household. Torres mentioned he had the children that day, and he mentioned he felt the necessity to defend his household.

Torres mentioned he was given a discover to seem in courtroom when police arrived and located him arguing loudly with the person. In courtroom, the fees had been dismissed.

July 2010: Torres acquired a visitors quotation that included a “false swearing” cost for which he was discovered responsible, in line with the personal investigator’s database search. Torres mentioned he was pulled over by police shortly after buying a car with tinted home windows. He didn’t have an Arizona allow required for the tinted home windows, resulting in the cost and a $185 effective. He mentioned the state categorised the shortage of paperwork as “false swearing.”

According to Arizona law, “An individual commits false swearing by making a false sworn assertion, believing it to be false.”

Read more: Miami has a special election. Here are District 2 candidates talking about issues

Assaults from one other marketing campaign?

Torres, who was really useful within the District 2 race by the Herald’s Editorial Board, mentioned he believes he’s having mud slung at him as a result of he’s a critical contender within the 13-person race. He accused one other candidate, former decide Martin Zilber, and a Zilber supporter, former Miami commissioner Marc Sarnoff, of attempting to smear him.

Zilber and Sarnoff denied involvement.

Zilber, who’s been the topic of assaults primarily based on his time as a decide, mentioned “I don’t prefer it, and I believe it’s a disgrace. I had no information. I don’t suppose it’s good or appropriate.”

Zilber is a former Miami-Dade decide who resigned from the bench in Might 2021 amid varied allegations of misconduct. In 2021, he swore beneath oath that he accepted accountability for a judicial committee’s findings when it seemed like he may settle the matter. After the Florida Supreme courtroom sought a harsher punishment, Zilber resigned.

A 2022 Florida Bar inquiry discovered no possible trigger to sanction Zilber. Throughout the Bar inquiry, Zilber challenged the allegations one yr after taking accountability for them.

Sarnoff, an legal professional at Shutts & Bowen, contributed $25,000 to a pro-Zilber political committee.

Read more: Here are the people and businesses funding campaigns in Miami’s special election

Polls are open for District 2 particular election Monday

Polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the common polling locations for voters in Miami City Commission’s District 2, the place 13 candidates are looking for to serve out the rest of Ken Russell’s time period till the following election in November. First outcomes are anticipated to be posted by 7:15 p.m., in accordance the Miami-Dade County supervisor of elections workplace.

Miami Herald analysis director Monika Leal contributed to this report.

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