State Attorney Bernie McCabe is Guest Speaker at Rotary Club of Clearwater
(l-r) Rotary Club President Fred Simmons, State Attorney Bernie McCabe
Bernie McCabe, State Attorney for Pinellas and Pasco Counties, Sixth Judicial Circuit of Florida, was the featured speaker at the regularly scheduled meeting for The Rotary Club of Clearwater, held each Wednesday at noon at the Belleair Country Club. McCabe, a native Floridian, having been born and raised in Mount Dora, Florida, attended Stetson University and graduated, cum laude, in 1972 from the Stetson University College of Law.
From his graduation to date, McCabe has dedicated his career to representing the people in and for the State of Florida, in the State Attorney's Office. Upon the retirement of his predecessor, Jim Russell, McCabe was elected as State Attorney in 1992 and has easily won re-election three (3) additional times.
McCabe discussed case volume and results over the past year, to let the Rotary Club have a feel for the magnitude of operations involving the State Attorney's Office. In the prior year more than ninety thousand (90,000) cases came into the State Attorney's Office, approximately 95 percent of which were disposed of favorably, resulting in a conviction, a plea or other favorable disposition. McCabe reported that out of this large number of cases, a relatively minor number of individuals actually end up going to prison. He advised that the State Attorney, the Public Defender, and the courts attempt to limit prison time to those who are actually deserving, and insofar as the Sixth Judicial Circuit is concerned, the number or percentage of individuals going to prison is less than often quoted. He reported that the system, and the community, is generally better off if alternative measures can be used, such as house arrest, community service, or other punishments that allow participation with the family, and the community, and hopefully some opportunity for rehabilitation.
McCabe also spoke about the difficulties in operating and paying for basic governmental services with the legislature cutting back funding and budgets in all sectors. He advised the Rotary Club that, to meet his annual budget, he had to operate with reduced staff, and absent additional sources of funding, will probably have to make further reductions in the future. He indicated that his organization is not alone, and that all essential areas of government are having to tighten their belts, and simply reduce services across the board.
In closing, McCabe indicated that statistically we live in a safe and secure community, and that whatever the constraints are, it is his job to continue that circumstance.
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