Last week a Gold Gate Estates man was sentenced to 30 years in prison after a September trial in North Carolina. The story didn’t get much coverage here, since the case was tried out of state (where the websites were being hosted), but he was running his dark-net website Playpen from his computer right here in Southwest Florida. The website may have been the largest child pornography distributor in the world, with up to 250,000 members.
The bust led to an international sting, dubbed “Operation Pacifier”, that netted almost 900 child pornography arrests around the world and some 250+ children victims were identified and/or rescued. That operation has led to a lot of coverage, both due to the success in taking down such a large number of child predators, but also for the criticism of the techniques used by the government. The FBI kept the Playpen site up and running and continuing to distribute child pornography as investigators sought to trace the sites users, going as far to infect them with malware that allowed them to be tracked. We have discussed the legal privacy concerns, and the concerns the federal government running child porn sites (a LOT of them), previously on this blog. The concerns are not unfounded, as there have already been cases where judges rejected using malware to search computers even when the location is unknown.
That didn’t save Chase, who has been locked away for 30 years, with a lifetime of supervision when he gets out. This will qualify him as a sex offender, and the additional sex-offender reporting that legally requires as well.
This happened a few years ago, so we’ll add it to the #weirdbattery only in florida archive (and even the #graymenace ) …
Alleged Noodler Karl Eichner
A man was arrested in Naples after allegedly attacking a woman with a pool noodle. Police say he got mad when she threw his watermelon in the ocean, and he filled up the noodle with sea water and dumped it on his head. He then punched her and authorities got involved. He was charged with misdemeanor battery. According to Collier Clerk records, he skipped his court date, and has not been heard from since… over 5 years on the lam, now.
- It was a real Shuffle-scuffle!
- 81-year Old charged with Battery
Herbert Hayden- 81
Herbert Hayden, 81, a resident of St. Petersburg, got in an altercation at the Pinellas Park senior center over a game of shuffleboard and was charged with battery. Police allege Hayden struck another man, and that both of their sticks, or cues, as they are known amongst shufflers, were damaged. Unfortunately for prosecutors, officers indicate the “weapons” were not seized for evidence. I do not know how old the victim was, but if he is over 65, Mr. Hayden could potentially be facing a felony for battery on a senior citizen. I have seen prosecutors charge the felony on other senior citizens, but hopefully cooler heads will prevail.
This is the first charge I have seen using a shuffleboard cue as a weapon! #weirdbattery #graymenace
Posted in Criminal Law, Florida, Gray Menace, Tampa Bay area, Uncategorized
Tagged battery, cue, gray menace, herbert hayden, only in florida, shuffleboard, st. petersburg, weirdbattery
I was actually kind of surprised they had to litigate this issue, what with the right to remain silent being a Constitutionally protected right. Last week, the Florida Supreme Court unanimously agreed with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal that it is improper for the state to comment on the the pre-Miranda silence of a Defendant who does not take the stand. Basically, if someone exercises their right to remain silent… it cannot be used against them. I suspect the Florida Supreme Court was suprised the issue needed to be litigated, the 4th DCA opinion that they upheld was just issued on February 18. The appellate court certified the question as one of great public importance, but that is still an impressive turnaround at the highest court in the state.
Donna Horwitz, via FL DOC
The Court sent back the conviction of Donna Horwitz, convicted of first degree murder in the death of her husband. When police responded to the shooting, they asked Ms. Horwitz several questions, and she stood mute. The prosecutor successfully argued at trial that her silence was indicative of a consciousness of guilt, and she was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. The Court ruled, consistent with longstanding precedent around the country, that his is unfair comment on the right to remain silent. It would essentially force a defendant to testify to rebut the assertion, which is improper.
Further, the court observed that the evidence of silence would not be relevant and is inadmissible under basic rules of evidence. While silence potentially could indicate consciousness of guilt, the meaning is ambiguous. It could be shock, or a concern that officers would not believe the story, or many other things. Due to the ambiguity, it is not relevant to the elements of the crime, and would also be inadmissible for this reason.
You have a right to remain silent… use it. The State cannot use it against you if you do.
Posted in 5th Amendment - Miranda Rights, 6th Amendment - Fair Trial, Criminal Law, Florida, Gray Menace, Uncategorized
Tagged 5th ammendment, donna horwitz, florida, jupiter, miranda, murder, silence, supreme court
Robert Predmore, 61, of East Naples, was caught after a burglary, his pants still down when the cops showed up. They found him lying outside Joey D’s bar, passed out on the ground… pantless. The bar looked “like a hurricane” had gone through: with thousands of dollars in damage, stolen liquor… and a poop on the floor next to an empty bottle of Sambuca. His soiled pants matched the evidence inside the store. The also found a handful of prescription pills and a baggie of marijuana on Mr. Predmore.
That’s a helluva party to have by yourself.
Posted in Criminal Law, Gray Menace, Naples / Collier / Southwest Florida
Tagged burglary, criminal, criminal mischief, drugs, gray menace, joey d's, poop, robert predmore, sambuca
An East Naples man, 72-year-old Nile Duppstadt, is facing a felony charge for killing a small alligator that came in his yard. He says he read a book about problems with government interference and he got so angry that he shot the two and a half foot gator. Now there is a suggestion that he was afraid for his safety, which is not what he initially told FWC investigators.
Jeff Whichello, author of the book that fired up Mr. Duppstadt, “What Happened to Ochopee” is speaking out. He doesn’t think Mr. Duppstadt should be charged with felony for killing an animal that may have been threatening him, especially since they can be found everywhere. Now, it’s doubtful that such a small gator was endangering the life of a grown man, but there’s no doubt that it presented a hazard, especially if the neighbors had been feeding it and it lost its fear of humans. Ironically, if he had called FWC about the gator being a nuisance, they probably would have sent a licensed trapper to destroy it.
I agree that it is probably not necessary to charge a felony in this case. It’s not like he was profiteering, or that the animals are endangered. The felony statute was written to prevent poaching, probably back when alligators were critically endangered. However, alligator numbers have rebounded to the point that the state sanctions hunts: ironically season just started.
Nor do I think people should have an unfettered right to destroy an animal just because it is on their property. That kind of attitude is why alligators were so endangered in the first place. A balance needs to be struck regarding control, and in these cases, when a gator is a nuisance, the State will come out and remove it. And nobody is suggesting that if someone is in danger of bodily harm that they can’t protect themselves… but that doesn’t appear to be the case here.
I missed this last week, please keep me posted when gator news comes in. Crimcourts is still your headquarters for legal gator news! #onlyinflorida
UPDATE: Court records show Mr. Duppstadt was given Pretrial Diversion, a deferred prosecution program for first-time offenders that will keep the charges from being on his record.
Peggy Klemm Mug Shot
The Daily Mail, who did a bang up job exposing the oversexed community at the Villages, did an extensive follow-up piece on Margaret “Peggy” Klemm. She was sentenced to 6 months in jail for having public sex in the town square. The Mail reveals that she is the caretaker for her husband of 50 years, who lost one of his legs to cancer.
The Daily Mail is doing good work:
Our earlier story: https://crimcourts.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/florida-grandma-gets-six-months-in-jail-for-public-sex/