The Devil Got Appointed in Georgia: A Series on the Senseless Consequences of Politics in Southern Georgia

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Chapter 1

So it came to my attention via an article forwarded to me, that John Powell, a man who ran against Morgan was indicted in Glynn County, Georgia, where he is the Police Chief. You may recall, Morgan had him arrested on a misdemeanor campaign finance violation, (the only person in Florida ever arrested for this violation) during his campaign against Morgan. Naturally, it was a farce and the charges were dismissed. Because of his connection to Escambia County and as an acquaintance of mine, I was naturally intrigued and felt compelled to look into the story behind the indictment. It may appear this chapter isn’t connected but I promise you it is.

It seems the beginning of this Georgia injustice began in June 2010. Caroline Smalls, a mother with alleged mental health issues was in a parking lot when a caller called the police because they believed the woman was openly using narcotics. Here is the dashcam footage:

The two cops that were involved were Robert “Cory” Sasser and Todd Simpson. Cory Sasser is the name to remember. By the way, this woman remained in this car, alive, for a bit before anyone called EMS.  She died a week later. Enter Jackie Johnson. Roughly 6 weeks after this incident, Sonny Perdue, then governor of Georgia, appointed Jackie Johnson to the office of Brunswick District Attorney. Jackie promptly fired a prosecutor, David Perry, who was vocal on prosecuting these officers.  Another prosecutor, Jonathan Miller, resigned from the District Attorney’s office to run against Jackie, specifically because of this case.

And even another senior prosecutor dismissed from her office, Keith Higgins, says an animated video re-enactment presented to the grand jury was inaccurate and misleading, showing Smalls had room to run over the officers, which clearly is contradicted by the video. Jackie let the officers  and their attorneys speak in the grand jury proceeding without being under indictment. This is unprecedented. She also allowed them to have all the evidence prior to their appearance before the grand jury, in fact, for 2 months before it was convened, again, unprecedented.  Jackie refused to let people most familiar with the case testify and fired people in her office that questioned her, including a victim advocate. To be expected, the grand jurors came back with no “true bill” against the officers. Jackie claimed that her actions were only to preserve alliances with the Glynn Police Department, although there was a loud outcry of injustice from fellow officers.

By covering for these officers, Jackie walked, with intertwined arms into their legacy and notoriety. As the succession of posts come to pass, the intermingling of Sasser and Jackie will unfold…to the very end.

This is the first in a series of articles about the preposterous political absurdities in Southern Georgia.

I call Shenanigans (and Misfeasance)!

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The Tymar Crawford case has been a glorified case of “shenanigans”. While this South Park reference is funny, the concept is not. Shenanigans, trickery, in legalese, is misfeasance. According to Wikipedia, “generally, a civil defendant will be liable for misfeasance (in public office) if the defendant owed a duty of care toward the plaintiff, the defendant breached that duty of care by improperly performing a legal act, and the improper performance resulted in harm to the plaintiff“. That misfeasance is on the part of the State Attorney Bill Eddins. He set up a kangaroo grand jury to take the burden off of his shoulders in publicly announcing that no one would be holding Daniel Siemen accountable, legally, criminally for his actions ie “breach of duty of care” or “breach of public trust” to establish there is “nothing (criminal) to see here”.

Eddins claims that the officer was operating  in the moment of the incidence and us looking at it in hindsight doesn’t do it justice. But what I see is a bad traffic stop ending in unnecessary lethal force. What I mean by that is the premise that they used to engage Crawford was not procedure, policy or legal probable cause for the stop, thus a bad stop cannot end with a good shoot.

 

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According to the 1st two pages of  the Grand Jury report, the PPD officers saw Crawford roll by and they recognized it was him driving. They remembered he had a history of narcotics, violence and weapons charges and that he possibly had a suspended driver’s license but that couldn’t be confirmed. So they claimed, they both smelled “fresh marijuana” as he drove by. This is laughable especially because of the change in laws regarding marijuana. There was no reason for the stop ergo there was no reason for anything that resulted beyond.

FDLE believed Siemen would be charged. How does Bill Eddins prevent that? He obfuscating the facts of the shoot. Nothing happens in a vacuum and judging the acts of a cop in midst of such a conflict isn’t fair, but judging the acts that escalated to this conflict can be judged and calculated. If every action ripples into history, the choice to pursue Crawford without a reason, becomes the central flawed premise in the theater of shit.

Once that threshold was crossed, the fate of it all can be predicted and a life was lost. Regardless of what you think of Crawford, if being black and having a record was not a reason to be stopped even adding in the possibility of suspended license and possible the smell of marijuana, neither of which could be known for a certainty prior to the stop, then you must concede he would still be alive had that choice to enter into such questionable actions by the officers.  The lack of thinking through the consequences of stopping someone they believed had a violent streak for such a bullshit charge would have been calculated since LEO’s are supposed to be trained on such things. The truth is this decision could have resulted in more innocent people being hurt in the escalation of events that such training should have considered, had any consideration had been done.

Fact is one bad choice down a wrong path ended with the death of a young black man. That bell cannot be unrung. God have mercy on Pensacola!

 

Thankfulness & Appreciation Series- Part 2

Sometimes the posts just write themselves. Thank God for that. Thank God for the Free Speech that would otherwise not be afforded to me in any other country. Free Speech Sir David doesn’t want to hear but that just delineates the need for such. If someone locally, won’t say it, I will. If not me then who? If not now, then when?

There were 2 different articles in the Mullet Wrapper this weekend that basically hit on the same points. The first is by my fave writer, Emma Kennedy, “Reopened death row, juvenile justice cases strain system” & the second, by my other fave writer at the Mullet Wrapper, Kevin Robinson, “Escambia County leads state in charging juveniles as adults”. 

To summarize the two issues, in 2012, the Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama, that mandatory sentences of life without parole for children under the age of 18 are unconstitutional. The weight of this decision is financially straining Bill Eddins’s office because………

First thing that comes to mind is that office has been pushing juveniles into adult sentences at a far higher rate than the rest of the state, which is pointed out in the second article, by Robinson. Scott McCoy of the Southern Poverty Law Center, (SPLC) points out that these kids are being pushed into the adult system only to get probation. If the crimes are not severe enough to actually result in jail time, why shouldn’t they stay in the juvenile justice system which would allow them the chance to not be labeled within the adult system? This seems to be a case of not liking that option because it isn’t seen as punitive enough (in NW FL), for Mr. Eddins or at least his perception of what his constituents wants?

Over the last few weeks, I have become more acquainted with what passes for “a case” by the State Attorney’s office. Ron Clark Ball, John Powell, Pat Gonzalez, Gary Sumner were just a few who have been escorted in front of cameras and called criminals but when the evidence is laid to bear…..our court system (and by extension the judiciary that allows them to play “law”) were the through-backs on the short bus in law school.

What are you thinking, Bill Eddins, when you allow a personal vendetta of one of the legal elite firms to rope you into a RICO case, where there is perjured testimony, charges galore that end up being dropped because they are just that charges…not actual crimes committed. The bill on that case will cost the taxpayers millions. What about the letting whomever, assist the Assistant State Attorneys in the grand jury room, when Fla Statutes say they must have a J.D. after their name? Greg Marcille surely knows that. What about letting a Sheriff shake GRAND JURORS hands telling them, “I’ve done my job; now it’s time for you to do yours”? This is a directive to people personally to indict. How many people have been deprived a fair trial for that. Screwing with Grand Juries , YEAR AFTER YEAR, seems to me that will cost the taxpayers BILLIONS WITH A “B”.

This is a case where people who are in charge shouldn’t be. Their decisions result in inequities on the people they were sworn to represent and protect. I am talking about CRIMES OF MORALITY THAT LET THE REAL CRIMINALS OUT WHILE PUTTING THE INNOCENT IN JAIL.

Please, as always, don’t just take my word for this. Go to Flcourts.gov, or FDLE.gov. The statistics of what is actually going on. The problem is these men, Eddins, Morgan are stewards of the county and they don’t play fair. Consequently, in the appellate stage, other courts look at their non-sense and kicks back the badly handled cases. That is an error that is coming to fruition while these men are still in office. Typically, this sort of thing hits the following administration or comes back to haunt the subsequent terms of politicians; however, the glut for power has kept them in office long enough to see the spoils of their injustices.

It is a no-brainer that if you have to pay for a job to be done and then redone because of it was inadequate, it costs more money. Doing the job twice due to shortcuts like not having the properly composed grand jury, pushing kids into an adult system for no reason other than perceived political capital, letting other officials subject court cases to retrial for inappropriate contact, all these things COST THE TAXPAYERS MONEY & on top of it, having to doing out punitive damages for ruining people’s lives COSTS EVEN MORE.

According to the NCJRS (National Criminal Justice Reference Service),

Corruption can arise in virtually any area of local government activity, and will leave distinct traces according to the area -law enforcement, land-use regulation, purchasing, or tax assessment. It is possible to put together a diagnostic check list that will indicate possible corruption in a particular area. 

When corruption in government is suspected, there is a checklist of things people should look for. Some of those are:

  1. Have there been any cases tried in recent history of corruption? Statistically, there are going to be people involved in the moving parts of government trying to make money by cutting corners. Lack of this implies there are things not being caught which indicates incompetence or there are things overlooked indicating bigger corruption. Either way, the fact is something has to change for the county to retain its liquidity.
  2. Is there a high turnover in agency personnel? This indicates a systemic internal problem that cost taxpayers money and allows for corruption to flourish in the internal dissension.
  3. Are public positions filled when there is no need for the job, as hiring a
  4. swimming instructor for a park with no pool? This indicates the fulfilling of political favors for off the book gains ie corruption.
  5. Are those arrested for narcotics and gambling mostly street-level people
  6. rather than higher ups? This indicates incompetence in not investigating about the street-level soldiers in a more organized criminal enterprise.
  7. Is there an effective independent investigative agency to hear complaints of official misconduct? This is a check and balance approach to keep everybody honest.

The NCJRS (National Criminal Justice Reference Service) goes on to say:

“Some people who participate in corruption make no attempt to hide their activities, either believing that what they are doing is perfectly acceptable or expecting that no one will be watching. In most cases, however, participants will attempt to cover their tracks, both by making payoffs secretly and by attempting to provide a legitimate cover for their decisions. Where this is true, uncovering corruption problems can be difficult. Existing nvestigative bodies, such as the police and the prosecutors’ offices, are the obvious starting point because they can use surveillance techniques, subpoena powers, and the like, and can grant immunity to uncover evidence of specific crimes. Elected officials and agency heads who have daily contact with first-line supervisors or middle-level management are likely to have a fairly good idea of where the soft spots are, although they may be protected from below from any knowledge of specific corrupt acts or practices. Those who deal with local government from the outside – lawyers representing developers, contractors seeking building permits, salesmen seeking orders, or companies seeking contracts -will have certain knowledge of specific acts of corruption. Some will have little interest in exposing the acts that they profit from while others will be eager to see an immediate end to corruption (although they may be reluctant to aid in a suppression effort that entails personal risk). Newspaper, wire service, and television reporters may have more knowledge of corrupt acts than is revealed in their news reports, but may be reluctant to reveal it for fear of cutting themselves off from sources of other news. Outside of specifically chartered investigative bodies, the least reluctant sources of information about acts of corruption are official records.


” The desire to be respected by the public, so that being a politician or civil servant can be considered an honorable career, and election, appointment, or employment in government can be considered evidence of high personal standards of conduct. (They display:)• Recognition that corruption has a high social as well as monetary cost, and that even though the public may not seem to care in situations where corruption exists, and may continue to vote··in administrations that are either dirty or too stupid to be believed, the social cost is still being paid. When corruption and the costs of corruption finally become unacceptable, the result is likely to be personal as well as civic peril.• The awareness that there are standards of ethical conduct that can be agreed on, and principles of ethical action that can be applied, so that an employee or official can have confidence that he/she is acting ethically and need not be at the mercy of a superior’s whim or an investigative reporter’s slow news day. The most important ingredient of a (government leadership) management environment that is hostile to corruption is a strong and principled leadership. Without that, formalized guidelines for ethical behavior will be of little use. The next ingredient is credibility, which rests not only on sending clear messages that reinforce one another but also on keeping it all open and public”

Bottom line: Is this present in Escambia County? The articles in the PNJ tell the story….NO!