Law: Let-'Em-Go Joe

For two murders, three years

The first time Spencer Snell, then 20, came before Florida Circuit Court Judge Joseph Durant, he was charged with murdering a man during an argument. He was freed on $2,500 bond. While Snell was at liberty, police say, he killed another man outside a pool hall after a dispute over who had the next game. That time he was locked up until his trial. Last week, at Durant's suggestion, Snell pleaded no contest to second-degree murder charges in both cases. Durant's sentence: three years, the minimum allowed.

Durant, a former prosecutor, was rated a hard-liner when appointed...

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