Third deputy is charged in Broward

Associated Press
Published April 10, 2005

FORT LAUDERDALE - A Broward County sheriff's detective was fired after he was charged with a misdemeanor count of falsifying documents, the latest in a growing investigation of faked crime records in the Sheriff's Office.

Joe Isabella, 34, was fired Thursday after he told investigators he had improperly cleared cases and falsified reports when he worked as a detective. He blamed pressure from supervisors who wanted to lower crime statistics.

Isabella is the third deputy to be charged in the state attorney's 17-month probe into allegations that deputies closed out unsolved criminal cases by attributing them to people who could not have committed them, including some people in jail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday on one count of filing a false police report.

"There's a lot I'd like to say, but I'm going to refer you to my attorney," Isabella said when reached by phone on Friday. His attorney, Hilliard Moldof, said he had no comment.

Sheriff's spokesman Jim Leljedal said Isabella was fired for failing to meet Sheriff's Office standards, lack of truthfulness in official reports and for not following the law.

If convicted, Isabella is not expected to serve any time because he has no prior record.