Ashley Toye and Roderick Washington, who were under 18 at the time they took part in the torture and murder of Alexis and Jeffrey Sosa, were back in court yesterday for resentencing. The Supreme court ruled in 2012 in Miller v. Alabama, that mandatory life sentences for juveniles were not proper under the Constitution. Florida passed a new law providing for new sentences for such criminals, and Toye and Washington are among the first to be sentenced under the new law. The judge could have sentenced them to less time, but declined to do so based on the facts of the case that included false imprisonment and torture before the victims were shot. They will have a chance to have their sentences reviewed after 25 years, another provision of the new law that has yet to be tested.
Cape Coral resident Paul Trimble hooked an alligator in a canal behind his backyard, and is in jail for killing the animal. Apparently, he beat it to death with a bat and a shovel. When questioned by officers, he admitted to the offense, and said he had done it before, because he didn’t know it was illegal. Unfortunately for him, as they say, ignorance of the law is no excuse. He’s facing a felony charge for killing an Alligator, and could end up facing animal cruelty charges as well, based on news reports.
The Cape Coral Police Body Cams are active- NBC-2 takes a look:
Inside look at Cape Coral police body cameras.
The Three Witches costume shop in Cape Coral thought they had a problem with troublesome youths. Turns out, it was 42-year-old Andre Yokers who had been vandalizing their business. And when the cops caught Yokers, he didn’t deny it. In fact, he claimed that he was just doing God’s work. Jennifer Duvall of the Three Witches denies that she and her co-owner are really witches, but promises not to hex and tell. Yokers is charged with multiple felony counts of criminal mischief. It appears there may be some mental health issues at play.
Local NFL player Nate Allen was detained for several hours last week, and it was falsely alleged that he had improperly exposed himself driving down US 41. Fortunately, the Fort Myers Police Department figured out that they had a problem, and released Allen before filing charges. Yesterday the State Attorney’s office announced that their review of the evidence shows unequivocally that Mr. Allen did nothing wrong. But that wasn’t until long after he had been held nearly 5 hours, and the press had picked up the story and his image tarnished. Apparently, the girl or girls who made the allegation described a similar vehicle to Allen’s. He says that the initial description was of a middle-aged man with long curly hair, which is not Mr. Allen. How does this happen? How does 27-year-old, short-haired Mr. Allen get misidentified as a middle-aged, long haired man? The most likely culprit is an unduly suggestive identification by law enforcement.
Philadelphia Eagle Nate Allen
Mr. Allen gave an extensive interview with the Fort Myers New-Press, which they have helpfully posted online, in full. We don’t have the police reports yet, but it appears from Mr. Allen’s account, that while he was detained on the side of the road, the police brought the accuser by in the back of a patrol vehicle, and he was apparently identified. The mis-identification almost certainly stemmed from this improper identification procedure by the Fort Myers Police Department. Such a procedure is wildly suggestive, and is disfavored for law enforcement. Any time a one-person show up is utilized for identification purposes, the procedure is inherently suggestive and carries the risk of tainting any identification. For this reason, one-person show ups are disfavored by Florida courts. The circumstances around this show up were particularly suggestive, as he was being held in custody, next to his truck, at the time it appears he was ID’d. Time and again the courts have discouraged law enforcement from doing this type of identification, but here we are, falsely accusing a local hero. It’s well known that eyewitness testimony is among the most unreliable to rely upon in court. Eyewitnesses are even less reliable when law enforcement utilizes inherently suggestive procedures to obtain their testimony or identifications. Clearly, the courts need to continue to discourage these improper techniques, to throw out testimony that is improperly obtained, and our law enforcement must better train its officers. Thank goodness they did their due diligence, and Mr. Allen was exonerated by phone records and surveillance video before they formally pressed charges. The fix is simple, identification needs to be done via lineup, preferably double-blind. This can be easily accomplished with modern technology and a photo lineup (called a six-pack). I am encouraged that FMPD has indicated they are going to do a review of their procedures, so hopefully the cops don’t continue to contribute to false identifications.
UPDATE: Allen and his attorney Sawyer Smith held a press conference today, urging police review of the errors that lead to his improper detention.
UPDATE 2: The News-Press article above confirms the unduly suggestive ID procedure by FMPD that I anticipated in my post. Also, the News-Press has updated their coverage with video from the press conference.
Posted in 14th Amendment - Due Process, 6th Amendment - Fair Trial, Cape Coral / Southwest Florida, Criminal Law, Florida, Fort Myers / Lee County / Southwest Florida #SWFL, Police
Tagged cape coral, eyewitness, fmpd, id, nate allen, show up, suppress
According to Wink news, Cape Coral is considering purchasing body cams for the police department.
Crimcourts recommends the cameras, for the quality of law enforcement and for the protection of officers. The people of Cape Coral will benfit from this kind of expenditure.
Cape Coral has approved the purchase of body cams for Cape Coral police officers. It’s a $300,000 purchase, but it will improve law enforcement and help protect officers. That’s a good move for the city and the people of Cape Coral. They hope to have the cams up and running by next summer.