Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony ordered to obtain and disclose Philadelphia records

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Rafael Olmeda, South Florida Sun Sentinel
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Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony must obtain records spelling out what crimes he was charged with in Philadelphia as a teenager and whether he was convicted of any of those crimes, a Broward judge ruled Thursday.

Tony, who was appointed sheriff in January 2019 and won election to a full term last November, is being sued by former political opponents who claim he is ineligible to serve because of felony convictions he has kept out of background checks throughout his law enforcement career. No official record of any such conviction has surfaced, and his accusers were ordered last month to come up with evidence to back their claims.

Tony has admitted that as a teenager, he was accused of murder in Philadelphia in a 1993 case that resulted in his acquittal. Details about that case have been scarce — juvenile records in Pennsylvania are sealed and not a public record, and Tony has said he was vindicated because he acted in self-defense.

Tony has said an adult probation case stemmed from a traffic citation, not a criminal case. His legal team also produced a notice from Philadelphia courts showing Tony ‘has no criminal record in Pennsylvania.

Former candidates H. Wayne Clark and Scott Israel filed suit in November saying if Tony were to be hiding past felony convictions, he cannot legally serve as sheriff.

Clark said his efforts to obtain records from Philadelphia were complicated by Tony’s status as a juvenile at the time, also asserting that the document showing Tony has no criminal record does not apply to a juvenile record.

Broward Circuit Judge William Haury ordered Tony’s attorneys to allow juvenile records to be unsealed.