Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Larizza fills 2 right-hand job positions

Larizza fills 2 right-hand job positions

Bustamante to be chief assistant, Griffin named chief investigator

By RICHARD PRIOR
richard.prior@staugustine.com
Publication Date: 09/30/08


Luis Bustamante, chief assistant statewide prosecutor for the Attorney General's Office, will become chief assistant for R.J. Larizza, the new State Attorney for the 7th Judicial Circuit.

In addition, Noel Griffin, chief of investigations for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) in Jacksonville, is signing on as Larizza's chief investigator.

"I'm very fortunate, as are the citizens of the 7th Circuit, to have an attorney the caliber of Luis Bustamante and a law enforcement officer the caliber of Noel Griffin willing to serve," Larizza said.

Bustamante and Clyde E. Wolfe contended in 2006 for the position of circuit judge in St. Johns County.

Wolfe won the election and sits in family court in St. Augustine.

Bustamante has served as assistant state attorney in Volusia County, prosecuting cases in the juvenile, misdemeanor, felony trial and felony intake divisions.

He became an assistant statewide prosecutor in the Jacksonville office of the Attorney General in 1997.

He was promoted to chief assistant statewide prosecutor in 2003.

Griffin has been in law enforcement for almost 30 years.

He was a captain with the Mount Dora Police Department and was an investigator for nearly five years with the State Attorney's Office in the 5th Judicial Circuit (Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter counties).

He has been with FDLE for about 14 years.

Griffin serves as assistant special agent in charge of the Jacksonville Regional Office, which has responsibility for 13 counties in Florida.

Larizza said he and his transition team continue to look at present and potential candidates.

"There are other positions to be filled," he said. "I'm in the process of interviewing individually every employee in the State Attorney's Office in the 7th Circuit.

"In addition to evaluating the current staff, I'm also interviewing people for other key positions.

"This is my way of trying to let the individual employees know it is not my intention to clean house. This is an effort for them to get to know me and for me to know them."

Larizza defeated incumbent John Tanner Aug. 26 in the State Attorney's race.

According to the numbers posted by the Florida Division of Elections, Larizza won by a 2,632 vote margin out of 119,896 ballots cast.

Larizza was the first challenger Tanner had faced in 12 years.

The individual totals were 61,264 for Larizza and 58,632 for Tanner.

Larizza will be sworn in on Jan. 6.


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