Miramar City Manager Virgin Gets a Good Job, Then a Good Deal on His DUI

Miramar City Manager Roy Livingston Virgin, right, and Broward State Attorney Harold Pryor

By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org

May was a very good month for Roy Livingston Virgin.

On May 4, a three-person majority of the Miramar city commission named Virgin interim city manager after dumping his predecessor just six months after taking office. Three weeks later, those commissioners dropped the interim designation and gave Virgin a five-year contract with a starting annual salary of $270,000, plus plush benefits.

In the meantime, and in violation of its own written rules, Broward State’s Attorney Harold Pryor’s office has accepted Virgin’s acceptance into its new diversion program for first-time DUI offenders.

The May 18 state ruling makes Virgin eligible, if he passes the program, to dodge the consequences of his arrest three years ago by Miramar police for impaired driving and speeding by pleading guilty instead. to a lesser reckless driving charge. Those who participate in the program have the added benefit of having a decision withheld and no points assessed on their driving record.

State’s Attorney Pryor’s written rules for his newly created first-time intoxicated offender program, announced February 23 and launched April 4, should have prevented Virgin from being admitted: “Defendant must be enrolled in the program within 45 days of arraignment, prior to any request for discovery. Failure to comply with these rules by a defendant/defense attorney will result in disqualification from this program.” (Emphasis added by SAO).

Virgin was arraigned, pleaded not guilty and sought and received state discovery in December 2019, court records show. The exact wording above appears on both the original memo that announced the program, as well as a revised program memo released on April 11.

It is also nearly identical to how the Palm Beach State’s Attorney’s Office describes its long-established DUI Diversion Program.

INOPERABLE DUI PROGRAM FORM

But Pryor spokeswoman Paula McMahon said Friday that Broward’s formulation is now inoperative.

“According to the terms of introduction, Harold agreed that it would be retroactive and that the terms regarding the 45 days and discovery would be waived for applicants with open files. Supervisors are reviewing these retroactive cases,” McMahon wrote in an email.

Attorney Alan S. Bernstein

Why was the “discovery” condition included in the first place? “Anyone with a pending case who filed a discovery request, determined to be a loser, would apply for admission to the program,” said Alan S. Bernstein, veteran attorney at Hollywood DUI. “Something doesn’t seem kosher here.”

Told McMahon’s statement, Bernstein, who co-wrote the legal reference book DUI Defense in Florida: The Law and Practice, said, “What you just told me is new to me. I was never informed of it and it was never published. That’s a total of 180. I have quite a few clients who meet this requirement.

“And how many times are they going to change the program? What about the march people who pleaded? I guess they’re out of luck.

McMahon, however, said the “retroactive option of introduction” was discussed in advance with judges, prosecutors “and the defense bar.”

“When the diversion program was finalized, Harold agreed with community feedback that it should be retroactive to departure for a matter of fairness,” McMahon said. “The head of the unit told me that a large number of people who entered the diversion program did so under the retroactive provision.”

VIRGIN CASE AND POLITICS?

Court documents acknowledging Virgin’s acceptance into the DUI diversion program do not explain why he was chosen or who selected him. “All cases are assessed on an individual, fact-specific basis,” the program’s rules sheet reads. “A defendant’s eligibility is determined at the sole discretion of the state’s attorney’s office and may be based on relevant factors not listed above.”

But there’s also a political line that runs through the case, from the three Miramar commissioners who voted last month to hire city manager Virgin to state attorney Pryor.

Miramar Vice Mayor Yvette Colbourne, right, and Commissioners Maxwell Chambers and Alexandra Davis

The trio – Vice Mayor Yvette Colbourne and Commissioners Alexandra Davis and Maxwell Chambers – were among Pryor’s first announced supporters in his successful 2020 run to succeed longtime prosecutor Mike Satz.

Two weeks after Pryor declared his candidacy on August 5, 2019, his campaign vaunted endorsements received from 10 people – including Colbourne, Davis and Chambers. Colbourne and Davis also contributed modestly to Pryor’s campaign.

Ten months later, Pryor was again boasting of the endorsements he had received from Colbourne, Davis and Chambers on the Sentinel of the Sunit is candidate questionnaire.

The three commissioners, who make up the dominant voting bloc on Miramar’s five-member commission, sacked City Manager Whittingham Gordon during his six-month evaluation and immediately replaced him with Virgin. They said they’d heard too many complaints about Gordon’s style from workers across the city, but still gave him a handsome $270,000 severance package tied to a severance deal. non-disparagement.

Sources who asked to remain anonymous said Gordon was released because he was not as obedient to their wishes as they had hoped.

VIRGIN DRAWN ON

Virgin, 56, was arrested on the night of Nov. 22, 2019, by Officer Kristina Luna who spotted him moving north on S. University Drive at around 85 miles per hour. The officer turned on his flashing lights, ‘pressed my sirens several times’ and followed Virgin for about 1.5 miles until he stopped opposite North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines .

Luna’s report says she asked Virgin for her license, registration and proof of insurance. Virgin presented his Miramar city ID card. Luna asked again, and Virgin then got her license back.

“I asked for the rest of the documents and he spent a few seconds trying to put cards back in his wallet. His movements were slow and lethargic. He seemed to be having trouble placing the cars in the wallet. I observed that Virgin’s eyes were red and glassy, ​​speaking with him I could detect the smell of booze on his breath, I asked if he had anything to drink.

He looked at me and smiled at me. I then asked him how much he should drink. First he declared one. He then said he had a beer or two,” Luna’s report read.

Luna got Virgin out of her car and asked him again what he had to drink. “He said he drank two rums before leaving work,” the report said.

After administering a roadside sobriety test, Luna arrested him. Virgin then submitted to a breath test from Sheriff Broward in which he blew .150 and .153. He was cited for driving under the influence (DUI) and DUI with a blood alcohol level over 0.15 and speeding.

Two weeks later, in Broward County court, Virgin pleaded not guilty, demanded a jury trial and asked his attorney to seek so-called ‘discovery’ information from the state, seeking evidence against him. The state provided a discovery in late December 2019, identifying a trio of Miramar police/witnesses against him. Officer Luna is now Broward’s Sheriff’s Deputy.

The case has since dragged on, due to COVID delays and repeated efforts by the defense to suppress all evidence against Virgin. The state opposed the removal, and the court did not rule on Virgin’s motion before it entered the program.

Today, as City Manager of Miramar, Virgin indirectly supervises two of the officers/witnesses against him.

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