VIDEO: Rick Scott doesn't have much to say on Pinellas car thefts
On Monday, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri blamed an epidemic of car thefts on a judicial system that isn't imposing tough enough sentences on juveniles to deter future thefts. The Tampa Bay Times wrote an editorial Monday that said this issue can no longer be brushed aside. All of this was covered in a prescient and ground-breaking report by the Times earlier this year.
So what did Gov. Rick Scott have to say about this when he held a news conference in Tampa on Tuesday? Not much. Perhaps Scott is following the situation very closely. But with answers like these, how can you tell. (That's nothing new, he pretty much does that on every question asked.)
Here's the transcipt of the 60-second exchange with Tampa Bay Times reporter Tony Marrero.
Times: "You probably saw we had another fatal crash in Pinellas, three teen boys were killed. Sheriff Gualtieri says this is a sign that our juvenile system needs work, that it's broken, because these kids will offend, be let out again and then offend again. What is your response to that?"
Scott: "First of all, you hate for it to happen to anybody, so my heart goes out to those families that lost their loved ones. We just passed legislation this year, the House and Senate passed legislation, to have even better coordination with our local law enforcement, and I know it's something that Sheriff Gualtieri has been involved in. But we also have to remember that the court system is the one that decides the punishment for a juvenile. They make those decisions.”
Times: "Do you think there needs to be some more legislation that address penalties for young offenders?"
Scott: "You know, here's what I think you try to do in a job like mine. When everything happens you step back and you say to yourself, what could you do better, and so that's what we're constantly doing. That's why we worked on legislation this year, we worked with individuals like Sheriff Gualtieri to work on that. But we all have to understand we can do everything we can but the court system makes the decision about how long somebody's going to serve.”
UPDATE -- Lauren Schenone, a Scott spokeswoman, contacted the Buzz after this post published to suggest that he did provide relevant answers to these two questions. "Governor Scott has strongly supported reforms to Florida's juvenile justice system and just this year signed HB 7059 which enhances collaboration between DJJ and law enforcement," said an email that Schenone sent. "The Governor looks forward to reviewing any legislation which furthers Florida's significant reforms in the upcoming legislative session."