Beer Battered Fish Defense Doesn’t Work for DUI Defendant

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John Przybyla

A Wisconsin man charged with DUI claimed that the odor on his breath was due to beer battered fish. He had just come from a fish fry, you see, and the officer simply must have mistaken when he thought he smelled an alcoholic beverage. That half-empty can of Red Dog on the passenger seat… that wasn’t his, I’m sure. The blood alcohol content of .062… that could come from the fish.. right? Right?

Sounds fishy to me…

 

The jury didn’t buy it and , John Przybyla was convicted of DUI. Again. In fact, this was his 10th drunk driving offense, and due to the repeat offenses, he is facing up to 12 years in prison. They ought to arrest whoever let this guy have a car, again, as well…

Man Throws Live Alligator through Wendy’s Drive Thru Window

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Gator at Wendy’s

This is the purest “only in Florida” case yet. A man from Jupiter was going through a Wendy’s drive-thru. He received his drink, and then grabbed a live, 3 and a half foot alligator and chucked through the open window. An FWC officer was able to corral the gator in the kitchen, and it was able to be safely returned to the wild.

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Joshua James

It actually took officers several months to make an arrest. The Defendant, Joshua James, was tracked via surveillance footage and vehicle tags, and he has been charged with taking a gator and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The alligator is the weapon. While such a small juvenile gator may not be lethal, it qualifies as a deadly weapon since it is capable a causing serious bodily harm (he could take off a digit!) In the meantime, we get to enjoy this guy’s mug shot!

Crimcourts continues to be the world leader on criminal related alligator news!

Congrats to the New SW Florida Judges

Late last week, the announcements of the new circuit judges came out from the governor’s office. Crimcourts would like to extend congratulations to Leigh Frizzell Hayes and Geoffrey Gentile have been appointed to take the two impending vacancies on the 20th Judicial Circuit bench. Judge Hayes has been promoted from County Judge where she had served for several years. Sounds like she will be handling family law cases in Charlotte County, we’ll miss her in Lee County.

I heard early enough last week that I already congratulated Devin George, who has been appointed to the vacant County Court position. I’ve known Ms. George going all the way back to when we were both prosecutors, and think she will do a great job on the bench.

Judge Hayes’ promotion means that there will be another vacancy for her old position on the County Bench in Lee County… which means another round of applications and interviews.

Some Clown Got Arrested for DUI last Weekend

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Joel Sloan Booking

Joel Allen Sloan was arrested for DUI a couple days ago for a DUI outside Birmingham. No explanation was given for his outfit… though clearly he is not a sad clown. Thanks TSG.

Congratulations to Lee County’s Newest Judge

Devin George has been named to the open county court position in Lee County. Ms. George has worked at the State Attorney’s Office for 10 years, and I have worked with her over the years. She will be a credit to to the bench, and we extend her our congratulations.

So, Another Inmate Died at Charlotte Correctional Institute

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Reginald Davis

While it hasn’t made a lot of local news, there has been a rash of inmate deaths, many from non-natural causes. This past week, Reginald Davis passed away, authorities indicate he killed himself. This might not be noteworthy, except for the string of deaths at Charlotte Correctional Institute, just south of Punta Gorda. As of August, 2015, there were five inmate death investigations ongoing. That represents at least the seventh criminal investigation at CCI in recent years. One that did end in prosecution was the brutal beating and eye-gouging of an inmate that resulted in a federal conviction for a guard, William Wilson, a few years ago. Sadly, that incident made national news, not for the crime, but because the whistle-blower guard who reported it was framed and then fired after he testified for the government after the attack. He sued, and reached a settlement for $135,000.

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Robert Peterkin

There is also reason to be skeptical of the report that the inmate committed suicide. Just last year, authorities allege that Robert Peterkin hung himself in another suicide. However, his family thinks something more sinister occurred. Peterkin had just reported that contraband was possibly being smuggled into the facility. He was confined shortly after making the report, and was found dead 13 minutes later. However, he had made statements to his family prior to his death that lead them to be skeptical that he killed himself; statements that are ominous, in hindsight. “He said nothing will be like it appears to be,” his sister told the Bradenton Herald, and that he suggested they look closely at the prison.

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Matthew Walker

The one death case that did indicate a murder by the guards was failed to be successfully prosecuted. Inmate Matthew Walker was brutally beaten to death by prison guards, and the medical examiner determined his death to have been a homicide at the hands of guards. Walker’s larynx was crushed and he sustained blows to his head, neck and torso. However, the grand jury did not indict, in part due to poor handling of the crime scene, and much of the evidence being mishandled or destroyed. The handling of the evidence suggested a cover up by prison employees.

cciShockingly, one of the grand jurors was so baffled by the failure of prosecutors to make a stronger push for charges, she broke her oath of secrecy to come forward to express her disappointment in the failure to hold anyone accountable. “We all knew they were guilty and should have been prosecuted, but we were talked out of indicting them. This man was beaten to death,” Louise Salcedo said to reporters. She makes it sound as though prosecutors discouraged indictment due to the challenge of prosecuting the case, and that the grand jury wasn’t allowed to question several officers that were pulled from the witness list. Salcedo said that she, and other jurors, wanted to indict but were ultimately outvoted. Meanwhile, there is no justice for Walker’s homicide, even though investigators determined that five of the workers involved could have faced criminal charges. Instead, most of them were given their jobs back.

The latest death is one in a series of deaths under questionable circumstances in just a few years at Charlotte Correctional Institution. The loved ones of the deceased are still looking for answers.

The Miami Herald has done an extensive report on prison abuses.

 

There is no Death Penalty in Florida Right Now

“…there currently exists no death penalty in the state of Florida…”

supreme court facadeSince the Supreme Court struck down the procedure Florida used to impose the death penalty in the Hurst case, there is currently no legal method to proceed on a death penalty case at this time. A Pinellas judge said as much this week, merely stating the obvious, as he rejected a prosecutor’s notice of intent to seek the death penalty. The legislature has already indicated they are going to address the death penalty procedure. The bigger question will be whether the courts apply the Hurst ruling retroactively, which would effectively preclude imposing the death sentence to the current death row inmates.

Background on Crimcourts.