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Pinellas judge will oversee grand jury look into snooping

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 30, 2000

TAMPA -- Pinellas-Pasco Chief Circuit Judge Susan Schaeffer will oversee the grand jury empaneled to look into allegations that a Hillsborough judge was snooping after hours in another judge's office.

The appointment comes after the Florida Supreme Court chief justice agreed there would be a conflict if any Hillsborough judges oversaw the grand jury. Jerry Hill, the state attorney based in Bartow, was assigned to investigate whether any laws were broken after a bailiff found Circuit Judge Robert Bonanno in Circuit Judge Greg Holder's office in July.

The grand jury will begin meeting next week and will decide whether to indict Bonanno on criminal charges, clear him or issue a report on the matter and how it was handled. It could take weeks or even months to hear all the testimony and come to a decision. Several judges including Bonanno could be called to testify. Hill and Bonanno, through his attorney, agreed that a judge from outside the county should oversee the grand jury.

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