Judge: Charges may be dropped due to detective’s lies

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A man accused of molesting a child and possession of child pornography could go free after a judge in Florida found that a detective lied to obtain a search warrant in the case.

The Tampa Bay Times reports Circuit Judge William Burgess III found Pinellas County Sheriff’s detective Michael Alvarez engaged in a “ruse” to obtain a search warrant for a crime used to obtain evidence to prosecute for other crimes.

Burgess concluded the “likely effect of this order” is that charges against 63-year-old James Rybicki will be dismissed.

Rybicki was arrested following a 2016 search of his home. Detectives found videos of him inappropriately touching a child.

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said the detective left the department two years ago.

Defense attorney Lucas Fleming called the judge’s decision “extraordinary.”

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