State Attorney's Office investigator suspended after DUI arrest

December 21, 2013 

An investigator for the Monroe County State Attorney's Office is off the job for now following his arrest on a drunk-driving charge in Key West.

City police arrested Franklin Cohens, 48, at 2510 Staples Ave. on Wednesday after he backed a State Attorney's Office-owned 2008 Ford Escape into a Kia owned by Ryan Darrah. It happened around 8:35 p.m.

When police arrived, they found Cohens with bloodshot watery eyes, and his "eyelids were droopy," Officer Alexander Rodriguez wrote in a report.

Cohens refused to submit to a breath test, Rodriguez wrote.

State Attorney Catherine Vogel said Cohens has been suspended pending further investigation. She said she asked Gov. Rick Scott to reassign the case to another jurisdiction because of a conflict of interest, and that likely will be the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office.

Public defender pleads out

An assistant Monroe County public defender has pleaded guilty to reckless driving nearly three years after he was arrested for drunk driving in the Lower Keys.

Matthew Matteliano, 36, was arrested on Dec. 18, 2010, after he drove his car into mangroves around mile marker 9 around 2:30 a.m. Vogel said that on Sept. 3, he pleaded guilty to reckless driving.

He received 12 months of probation; was fined $500; must pay $543 in court costs, $240 to the Sheriff's Office for the investigation and $50 for the cost of prosecution; must attend both drunk-driving school and "intermediate driver improvement" school; must meet with a victim advocate panel comprising people victimized by DUIs; must perform 50 hours of community service; and can't drink alcohol during his probation.

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