PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — A Pinellas County prosecutor has asked a judge for more time to try to find new evidence against a Seminole man previously facing life in prison on child porn charges but now likely to be set free.
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Prosecutor Alexandra Fugate did tell Judge William Burgess that the state officially does not plan to appeal his order tossing out all the evidence.
Defense attorney Lucas Fleming said that means some of the child porn charges against 63-year-old James Rybicki will be dropped. Fleming said there's two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation that prosecutors are hoping to salvage.
Burgess granted a motion on Nov. 1 to suppress all evidence obtained from a search warrant that reportedly includes photos and videos of Rybicki molesting a 10-year-old girl in 2014.
According to court records, the two main issues were that Detective Michael Alvarez lied about the child not having consent to go to Rybicki's home.
Rybicki is currently out of jail on a $320,000 bond, living in a Largo home and being watched with an ankle monitor.
Alvarez and a prosecutor also did not inform the judge that the statute of limitations had likely run out for a false imprisonment charge, which would have precluded a finding of probable cause to search.
In court Friday, Fleming said he's confident they'll still win in the end and are frustrated they didn't have that closure today.
When asked if he was surprised the state was still trying to revive this case, Fleming said he was.
“I think that after 6 and a half years, that I don't know what additional evidence they can find to move forward on the charges,” he said. "I think in the end it'll still work out well for us that Mr. Rybicki's charges will be dropped."
Fleming said his client did not attend court Friday out of concern for his safety, saying there have been threats made against him online.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Dec. 6.
James Rybicki, 63, was previously charged with child porn, video voyeurism and lewd and lascivious molestation. (Pinellas County Jail)