Category Archives: Criminal Law

Trial is Underway for Michael Drejka, in the Parking Spot Shooting Case

Trial started today in the manslaughter case against Michael Drejka, who shot a man in Clearwater in a dispute over a handicapped parking spot. The entire incident was caught on dramatic surveillance video, which will be played for the jury. Inescapable is the fact that Drejka is white and the victim, Markeis McGlockton, a father of four, is a black man. Further complicating the case, the Defendant got in a dispute with another black man over the same handicapped spot a few weeks earlier and shouted a racial slur at him. The judge has ruled, due to the similarity of the incidents, that the prosecution will get to tell the jury about the prior incident, but not the racial slur he allegedly used.

Drejka is arguing that he was justified in his use of force under the stand your ground law. the stand your ground law provides there is no duty to retreat, but it still requires there be a reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm before deadly force is justified. Based on the video, Drejka has a challenging defense. Jury selection in the case will continue tomorrow.

Woman who had a Gator in her Yoga Pants Sentenced

Ariel Marchan-Le Quire

A few weeks ago, we brought you the story of a Fort Myers woman who tried to hide an illegally taken alligator by stuffing it down her yoga pants. She also had several dozen turtles stuffed in a Ninja Turtles backpack. This week in Charlotte County Court, she entered a plea and was sentenced to 2 years of probation for several wildlife violations. She will also have to complete 200 community service hours and make a $500 donation to FWC’s Wildlife Alert fund. The money may be a challenge, as records indicate she is homeless. She missed her first court date and spent a little time in jail, probably because she couldn’t afford to bond out. Still, it’s important for wildlife protections to follow regulations on fishing or collecting wildlife.

Let this also serve as a reminder, as always, the ‘not my pants’ defense is not a strong claim.

The alligator, after pants-removal

Earlier coverage.

College QB charged with Drugs for the Bird Poo on his Hood

This poor kid literally got arrested for some shit on his car…

screen capture of body cam of the car hood

Shai Werts, who is the starting QB for Georgia Southern University, and has a game scheduled against LSU in a few weeks, was pulled over for speeding in South Carolina, near his home. Officers noticed a white substance on his hood, and thought it was cocaine. Why somebody would drive down the highway with their cocaine on the hood is beyond me, but officers tested it with a presumptive field test which gave them a positive result for the presence of cocaine. Presumptive field tests are not reliable and, for that reason, are not admissible in court. Fortunately, the poo was sent to a lab which has confirmed that it is not drugs, and charges against Wert have been dropped.

Werts was suspended from the team, though he passed a drug test and has since been reinstated. You can watch the in-car video on News Maven here around the 15-minute point. Bonus on the car video, the cops start interrogating Werts in custody without informing his Miranda rights, which they don’t read until near the end of this clip. Even if he had made an admission, it would have been inadmissible thanks to poop-cops’ eagerness to confront him. Body cam clip on WTOC here.

Lady has Drugs in Her, Ahem… Private Area – Claims they Aren’t Hers!

Ashley Roland

After police arrested Ashley Roland, she was searched by a corrections officer at the jail. That officer found a clear plastic bag with a gram of meth allegedly stashed in her vagina, along with more than $6000! Roland denied the drugs were hers! West Monroe, LA police arrested her and charged her anyway. Those charges were added to the pending theft charges that landed her in jail in the first place. A man said she had been at his apartment, but when he was taking a shower, she swiped his cash and left. Police indicate that Roland admitted to stealing the money… the drugs are a different story. It doesn’t say if the vagina money was equal to the stolen money, which would add to her difficult claim that the items in her did not belong to her. I’ve heard of the ole ‘not my pants’ defense… I guess this will be dubbed the ‘not my hoo-ha’ defense.

Addendum: Here’s a ‘not my butt’ defense rom a few months ago: https://twitter.com/crimcourts/status/1116388247507222531

Tracey Hunter Dragged out of Court to Serve Jail Sentence

Former Judge Tracie Hunter

There was a dramatic scene in the Hamilton County Courthouse today as former judge Tracie Hunter was back in court for the presumptive conclusion of her case. Hunter was previously found guilty of having an improper interest in a public contract for her involvement in trying to help her brother keep his county job. For that conviction, she ultimately lost her seat on the bench, her license to practice law, and was sentenced to six months in jail. The jail sentence was was ordered way back in December of 2014 after trial that September, it’s now been almost five years since she was found guilty. Her appeals exhausted, Hunter was back in court today, where her attorney pleaded for mercy, but the judge ordered that the sentence should be imposed as ordered by his predecessor on the case.

Pandemonium erupted in the courtroom, as Hunter’s supporters started shouting in protest. One woman crossed the bar and approached the Defense table, where she was restrained by bailiffs. Hunter went limp, and was dragged from the courtroom by one of the bailiffs to the holding area out of the courtroom. Her attorney indicated he’s going to file a motion to dismiss, but that’s unlikely to gain any traction since the normal appeals have been exhausted. Hunter is incarcerated now, being housed in the medical area of the jail, she may be eligible for early release at some point.

Video of the scene in the courtroom is linked below:

Supporters gathered in protest outside the courthouse, but Hunter, now a felon remains inside.

Kevin Spacey’s Felony Charge in Nantucket Dropped

Today, prosecutors in Nantucket formally dropped criminal charges against actor Kevin Spacey. Spacey had been charged with felony indecent assault and battery stemming from allegations that he had inappropriately groped an 18-year-old man at a Restaurant in 2017. The young man had filed a civil suit against Spacey last month, which was then promptly dropped. There had been accusations that the accuser had deleted text messages that Spacey’s attorneys say may have demonstrated the actor’s innocence. The prosecutor’s office gave the “unavailability of the complaining witness” as the reason they decided to drop charges. The accusers apparent change of heart regarding cooperation could mean several things, but coupled with the allegations of deleted text messages that may have exonerated Spacey, it’s possible that he didn’t want to subject himself to cross examination, or getting caught in a false statement. Did the accuser’s attorney inform the prosecutors that the accuser would not be available to testify, or did he just dodge them…

There have been other accusations against Spacey, which has resulted in his ostracization in Hollywood amidst the “Me too” movement. There have been criminal investigations in California and England, but no other criminal charges. This case was problematic from the get-go, as I’ve discussed before, as the accuser apparently lied about his age and was allegedly flirting with Spacey. I’d try to say something funny, but this guy has already gotten the last word…

Charlotte County Man Arrested after Filming Cops, Harrassing Witnesses

Ian McGuire

Charlotte County Deputies served a warrant today on Ian McGuire, accusing him of three counts of Harassing a Witness, two counts of Obstruction of Justice, and Breach of the Peace. McGuire showed up at an investigation in April and started filming deputies who were searching a warrant. They’d have a hard time charging him with anything related to that, due to his First Amendment protections. However, he took it a step farther by stepping into the crime scene area, arguing with Deputies, and allegedly mocking witnesses that were speaking to deputies. He has a First Amendment right to film public interactions, but he may have crossed the line if his words or actions interfered with the deputies’ lawful investigations (they were responding to a report of an aggravated battery). McGuire posted a 19 minute video of the incident, online. McGuire has previously been in the news for his activism.