Florida Public Defender Arrested On Drug Trafficking Charges

By McCarton Ackerman 06/19/14

Lenny Platterborze was one of six people arrested for distributing drugs.

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One of the most respected public defenders in Florida had his career come to an abrupt end this week after being arrested on drug charges.

Lenny Platterborze, who had worked with the Public Defender’s Office in Walton County for over 20 years, was fired earlier this week after being charged with trafficking oxycodone. He also admitted to keeping illegal drugs in his desk that he either purchased or “bought from various clients.” Platterborze made an appearance in court on Tuesday and has since been released on $10,000 bond. Five others were also arrested in three different locations throughout the state in relation to the crime.

“This came completely out of left field. I didn’t suspect it,” said elected Public Defender Bruce Miller, who fired Platterborze. “Everybody in the whole court system seems to be very surprised.” Further details about the case have not been released, but State Attorney Bill Eddins confirmed more information would be released at a later date.

The five others arrested include Erica Nowling, 34; Charles Alford, 45;  Tony Rhodes, 35; Kaylee Schipper, 21; and Tracey Burgess, 49. Alford and Schipper were previously arrested last January on numerous charges including manufacturing meth and trafficking in marijuana, but the latest incident has resulted in racketeering charges as conspirators in a criminal enterprise.

Of course, Florida has been home to plenty of surprising drug news among its city workers in recent months. Last February, a crime lab chemist in the state was accused of switching drug evidence with over-the-counter medications and selling the stolen samples. Joseph Graves is currently being held on $290,000 bail and charged with grand theft, 12 counts of tampering with evidence, and nine counts of drug trafficking.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.