Charges dropped against Polk cyberbullying suspects - WFLA News Channel 8

Charges dropped against Polk cyberbullying suspects

Posted: Updated:
Jose Baez with Casey Anthony in 2011 Jose Baez with Casey Anthony in 2011
Rebecca Sedwick. Her mother says she jumped to her death after cyberbullying Rebecca Sedwick. Her mother says she jumped to her death after cyberbullying
ORLANDO, FL (WFLA) -

The State of Florida has dropped the charges against two teenagers charged in connection with a cyberbullying case.

Jose Baez made the announcement outside his Orlando office at 5:00 Wednesday afternoon that his 12-year-old client is no longer facing aggravated stalking charges in connection with the death of Rebecca Sedwick.

Sedwick jumped to her death after what her mother calls relentless cyberbullying.

Related content:  Fmr. Casey Anthony attorney to defend Polk bullying suspect

Baez was highly critical of Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, calling his statements to the media and his appearances on national television, talking about the case, "unconscionable". 

"I think this clearly fell outside the scope of a law enforcement officer," said Baez.  Baez also emphasized his client's age, calling her a "child". 

Baez also called for Sheriff Judd to issue a public apology.

When asked if he would apologize for the way the case unfolded in the media, Sheriff Judd said: "We are comfortable with the cases we made."

He also said the Sheriff's Office will make future arrests in cyberbullying cases, if there is probable cause.

News Channel 8 also confirmed that the second girl arrested in the Sedwick case has been cleared of aggravated stalking charges.

Her attorney, Andrea DeMichael, released the following statement:

"My client and her family continue to send their condolences to Rebecca's family. Rebecca's untimely death has illuminated the dark side of adolescent life and the powerful role social media has in today's society. This tragedy has also sparked a national discussion on how to properly address these evils that our youth are experiencing. My client and her family are relieved by the State Attorney's decision today. She is hopeful about her future and is attempting to turn this tragic event into something positive."

Related content:  Attorney feels charges may not stick in Polk bullying case

Gayle Sierens reached out to Tricia Norman, Sedwick's mother, by phone on Wednesday afternoon.  Norman says she heard that the charges would be dropped around 1:00 p.m.

"I am still processing all of it," said Norman over the phone.  "I am still kind of numb about it all but what I do know is that Becca would want to forgive [name].  I am not there yet in the forgiveness of [name], but would be encouraged in she stays on the right track."

Sign up for free breaking news and headline email alerts http://8.wfla.com/18DCEqk

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • TPD claims training stories fell short

    TPD claims training stories fell short

    Thursday, August 21 2014 5:12 PM EDT2014-08-21 21:12:02 GMT
    The Tampa police department is responding to an 8 On Your Side investigation into a January shooting.The police contend the reports were incomplete and contained errors.The stories focused on a January 9th police shooting in Tampa and the lack of crisis intervention team training at T.P.D.
    The Tampa police department is responding to an 8 On Your Side investigation into a January shooting.The police contend the reports were incomplete and contained errors.The stories focused on a January 9th police shooting in Tampa and the lack of crisis intervention team training at T.P.D.
  • TPD responds to story controversy surrounding police shooting

    TPD responds to story controversy surrounding police shooting

    Thursday, August 21 2014 12:48 PM EDT2014-08-21 16:48:17 GMT
    Jason TurkJason Turk
    An 8 On Your Side investigation into police shooting and the lack of Crisis Intervention Team training at the Tampa police department is not sitting well with T.P.D.Police spokesperson Laura McElroy sent an email to News Channel 8 management with the subject line labeled, "The Rest of the Story
    An 8 On Your Side investigation into police shooting and the lack of Crisis Intervention Team training at the Tampa police department is not sitting well with T.P.D.Police spokesperson Laura McElroy sent an email to News Channel 8 management with the subject line labeled, "The Rest of the Story
  • Verizon insists on seeing Town N' Country man's birth certificate for credit report error

    Verizon insists on seeing Town N' Country man's birth certificate for credit report error

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 5:26 PM EDT2014-08-20 21:26:13 GMT
    James Woolever was shocked to find a bad mark on his credit report. Especially since it was for an "outstanding balance" from a Verizon account opened in 1979. He knew that couldn't be right, because he was just 6 years old then.
    James Woolever was shocked to find a bad mark on his credit report. Especially since it was for an "outstanding balance" from a Verizon account opened in 1979. He knew that couldn't be right, because he was just 6 years old then.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Clearwater history book creating controversy

    Thursday, August 21 2014 6:57 PM EDT2014-08-21 22:57:21 GMT
    A planned book on the 100 year anniversary of Clearwater is making some business owners angry.Clearwater will celebrate the century mark next year and the city plans to publish a book on their rich history.
    A planned book on the 100 year anniversary of Clearwater is making some business owners angry.Clearwater will celebrate the century mark next year and the city plans to publish a book on their rich history.
  • Governor proposes increase in education funding

    Governor proposes increase in education funding

    Thursday, August 21 2014 6:33 PM EDT2014-08-21 22:33:29 GMT
    File photo: Governor RIck ScottFile photo: Governor RIck Scott
    Gov. Rick Scott announced Thursday that he will propose an increase in per-pupil funding for Florida students if he is elected to a second term. His proposal calls for a $232 boost in per-student spending to $7,126. Scott and potential political opponent Charlie Crist have traded barbs on education in recent weeks, with Crist launching a bus tour around the state he called “Restore the Cuts.”Scott's proposal tops the ...
    Gov. Rick Scott announced Thursday that he will propose an increase in per-pupil funding for Florida students if he is elected to a second term. His proposal calls for a $232 boost in per-student spending to $7,126. Scott and potential political opponent Charlie Crist have traded barbs on education in recent weeks, with Crist launching a bus tour around the state he called “Restore the Cuts.”Scott's proposal tops the ...
  • Students arrive at USF Tampa for move in day

    Students arrive at USF Tampa for move in day

    Thursday, August 21 2014 6:21 PM EDT2014-08-21 22:21:26 GMT
    Dozens of events were planned this week to welcome new and returning students back to the University of South Florida for the fall semester.Nearly 5,500 students were expected to move into campus residence halls Thursday.
    Dozens of events were planned this week to welcome new and returning students back to the University of South Florida for the fall semester.Nearly 5,500 students were expected to move into campus residence halls Thursday.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Haircuts for the Homeless

    Haircuts for the Homeless

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 11:38 AM EDT2014-08-20 15:38:55 GMT
    On his days off, stylist Mark Bustos gives free haircuts to the homeless of New York City. Here are some of the transformations.
    On his days off, stylist Mark Bustos gives free haircuts to the homeless of New York City. Here are some of the transformations.
  • 59 Arrested By Greenville Police In Latest Prostitution Sting

    59 Arrested By Greenville Police In Latest Prostitution Sting

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 9:30 PM EDT2014-08-20 01:30:28 GMT
    Greenville Police released information Tuesday that 59 people were arrested in a four day long prostitution sting.
    Greenville Police released information Tuesday that 59 people were arrested in a four day long prostitution sting.
  • VIDEO: Grouper snatches shark in one bite

    VIDEO: Grouper snatches shark in one bite

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 2:44 PM EDT2014-08-20 18:44:27 GMT
    Clip of video from YouTubeClip of video from YouTube
    One bite: that's all it apparently took for a grouper to eat a 4-foot shark in a video posted to YouTube, according to user Gimbb14.
    One bite: that's all it apparently took for a grouper to eat a 4-foot shark in a video posted to YouTube, according to user Gimbb14.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.