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Miami-Dade County Commissioner Joe Martinez
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Joe Martinez
Image via Miami-Dade County TV

Miami-Dade Commissioner Joe Martinez Involved in Active Criminal Probe

The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office today confirmed to New Times an active criminal probe exists in relation to Miami-Dade County Commissioner Joe Martinez.

New Times had filed a public-records request for communications between Martinez and the prosecutor's office this year — a request the State Attorney's Office denied by citing Florida Statute 119.071(2)(c), which states that "active criminal intelligence information and active criminal investigative information" are exempt from public-records disclosure.

A staffer at the State Attorney's Office subsequently confirmed that the information New Times had requested constituted "active criminal intelligence."

State Attorney's Office spokesman Ed Griffith said he could not elaborate as to whether Martinez is the subject of any investigation.

"As a matter of policy, we would neither confirm nor deny the existence of any criminal investigation," he said via email.

Martinez did not respond to multiple texts and phone calls this afternoon sent to his personal cell phone. (Martinez's 15-year-old daughter, Joana, is a contestant on NBC's The Voice and the commissioner is in Los Angeles as she competes on TV.)

Martinez, age 61, was a Miami-Dade police officer for 16 years before moving into politics. The Republican has served on the county commission since 2000, a stint that was interrupted in 2013 when he mounted a failed mayoral bid and then recommenced in 2016. He has chaired the commission twice. Martinez represents District 11, which covers unincorporated portions of West Miami-Dade County, including Kendale Lakes and the Hammocks.

Earlier this year, a civilian impersonating a police officer reportedly attempted to conduct a traffic stop involving Martinez and the commissioner responded by having the man arrested.

From his seat on the dais, Martinez brazenly defended the Miami-Dade police officers who were filmed tackling and arresting a woman named Dyma Loving in May. Loving, who is black, had been trying to report that her white neighbor had threatened to murder her with a shotgun; police instead arrested her and threatened to involuntarily commit her to a mental institution. She has since sued the police department.

Martinez's chief of staff, Ana Bustamante, said today she could not comment on any criminal probe involving Martinez's office. She said she hadn't heard of any such investigation and noted that because prosecutors may be looking into something doesn't mean anyone did anything wrong.

"There's nothing here we're aware of," Bustamante told New Times. "I don't even know what that could mean. You'd have to speak to the commissioner directly."

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