UPDATE: Florida Department of Corrections says former Jackson Co. deputy not transferred to Hawaii
MARIANNA, Fla. (WCTV) - The Florida Department of Corrections says former Jackson County deputy Zachary Wester has not been transferred to Hawaii.
In a statement to WCTV, FDC says, “Inmate Zachary Wester is not in Hawaii, however his status is undisclosed for protection. We are unable to confirm any details related to him.”
The department says any information previously disclosed on their website was done so “in error, and should not be used to determine the location of this inmate.”
MARIANNA, Fla. (WCTV) - A former Jackson County deputy who was convicted of planting drugs during traffic stops is being transferred to a prison in Hawaii.
Zachary Wester was sentenced to a little over 12 years in prison in July after his conviction on charges of racketeering, official misconduct, fabricating evidence, perjury, false imprisonment, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Jurors found him guilty of planting evidence during three traffic stops and falsifying the accompanying arrest reports. He was found not guilty on charges in nine other traffic stops.
According to the Florida Department of Corrections website, Wester’s “current facility” he’s being held in is listed as Hawaii. As of Tuesday afternoon, Hawaii’s Department of Public Safety website says Wester was in its custody at the Saguaro Correctional Center in Arizona.
Wester’s defense attorney, Ryan Davis, says FDOC made the decision to move Wester outside of Florida. He was expecting Wester to be moved to the Midwest or Northeast.
“I am surprised it’s so far away. It will make it difficult, if not impossible, for his family to see him,” Davis says. “But if the DOC feels that was necessary for his protection, I support their decision.”
Davis says he was not aware of Wester facing any specific threats or security issues since being sent to prison.
This is the first time in Davis’ 20-years of practice that a client of his will be housed outside the continental United States. Davis says Wester’s appeal will move forward despite the move.
“I do not think this will impact his appeal,” the attorney says. “I think that will proceed no matter where Mr. Wester is housed.”
FDOC’s website says Wester’s release date is set for Nov. 15, 2033.
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