In a reorganization of local circuit judge’s responsibilities, Michael Overstreet will be replaced by Dedee Costello in July.
Joe Francis, of Reno, Nevada, and several of his employees were arrested at Panama City Beach while filming during Spring Break last April. Bay County sheriff's deputies charged Francis with racketeering and other crimes based largely on videotapes of girls under 18.
Judge Costello has worked on the case before. She ruled over a forfeiture hearing last year when the Bay County Sheriff's Office was trying to hold a private jet and Ferrari seized when Francis was arrested. The judge decided the county was wrong when it seized the plane and the car and ordered them returned to Francis.
She also ruled earlier this year that the state no longer could keep the Girls Gone Wild search warrants closed to the public.