Tag Archives: mug shot

Details Released in Arrest of FMPD Captain – the Case Still Looks Like Garbage

Capt. Jay Rodriguez

The affidavit for the warrant in the arrest of FMPD Captain Jay Rodriguez has been released, and as we anticipated in the detailed post about the charges yesterday, it doesn’t look like the charges are legally sustainable. As expected, the Misconduct and Prostitution Charges both stem from actions that happened in 2013, several years beyond the statute of limitations.* One newly revealed detail is that the investigating Detective not only accuses Rodriguez of misconduct for being involved in a false report, but also for improperly receiving a benefit with city money for the alleged sexual act. That allegation might sound good, except that he was working in an undercover capacity for the city police department, and his acts led to two arrests. That is still not a prosecutable case. It definitely would have been better practice for Rodriguez to have stopped the suspect before actually receiving a sexual act, but that does not make his action criminal. In fact, it sends a bad message that if the City gets pissed at its cops, it’s going to try to prosecute them for doing their job.

As to the perjury charge, it appears the questions posed to Rodriguez were a little clearer than indicated in the earlier press release. Rodriguez was asked “were you ever involved in sex while on duty” and “have you ever engaged in sexual activity on duty with a sex worker or prostitute”, which Rodriguez denied. These questions are not as vague as “did you have sex”, but they are not so specific that there is not ambiguity. Definitely hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. More importantly, this confirms it was an internal affairs investigation, which does not appear to be an “official proceeding” to satisfy the required element of the perjury statute.

Captain Rodriguez may have been involved in wrongdoing, especially if he directed the fabricated statements that led to the arrests of the two individuals. Ultimately, charges were apparently dropped against both of them. However, these charges, under more detailed scrutiny, still look like garbage. If Detective Kendall Bores, who swore out this warrant, does not have a better understanding of the law, that Detective should be reviewed for incompetence. And even if the Detective didn’t catch the problems, it should have gone through the State Attorney’s office (of the 12th Circuit) for review before the warrant was sworn out. But caution gets thrown to the wayside when political pressure gets applied on a high-profile media case.

Also, NBC-2 spoke to another attorney who agrees that the old charges may be barred by the statute of limitations.

Here’s a link to yesterday’s even more detailed post as to why these charges are garbage. To reiterate, police misconduct, and especially lying or falsifying police reports, deleting evidence and the like are extremely bad… but that’s not what Rodriguez is being charged with. As it is, these charges are, in my humble legal opinion, bullcrap, and I call it like I see it.

*Update, the News-Press points out the charges may fit an exception to the statute of limitations, as the accused is a public employee. The charges are still crap, however. They have also posted the full affidavit for the warrant.

FMPD Captain Arrested, but the Charges may be Fatally Flawed

jay rodriguez

Capt. Jay Rodriguez

So often, the cover up is worse than the crime. That’s the case here, as FMPD Captain Jay Rodriguez is charged with perjury and falsifying a document – two felonies – to cover up for soliciting prostitution, which is only a second degree misdemeanor. However, these charges may not pass muster when we get a chance to look at them. The arrest affidavits are not publicly available yet, so information is limited to the press release and related media coverage. 

The charges apparently date to an undercover sting operation in which Capt. Rodriguez was involved all the way back in March, 2013. He supposedly received a sex act and then authored a falsified account of his actions. This appears to be the basis of the prostitution and falsifying document charges. However, it appears that these charges are outside of the statute of limitations, which would prevent him from being prosecuted. The statute of limitations for a felony, such as falsifying a document, is generally three years while it’s only one year for a second degree misdemeanor. So, prosecution for these charges is more than three years too late!

I contacted FDLE to see if they had any comment about the statute of limitations, but they say the State Attorney makes the filing decisions. These cases are being handled by the 12th Circuit State Attorney, not our local prosecutors.

Further, it’s highly unlikely that Rodriguez could be prosecuted for receiving a sex act during an undercover operation. He was operating in his capacity as a police officer at the time, and that is a defense to criminal charges. For comparison, if an undercover officer buy drugs from a drug dealer during an undercover operation, the officer cannot be charged with buying the drugs. It may be unpleasant, but officers are given leeway under the law in these circumstances. The better practice is assuredly to make the bust before the actual sex act, once an agreement is in place, as indicated by the professor in this article. However, the officer is not prosecutable for his violation of the law. There have been several undercover operations locally where a sex act unfortunately took place, but those officers are not facing charges.

Even worse, the timing of this arrest makes these charges look politically motivated. Just 10 days ago, the News-Press ran an article about officers who have been on paid leave for a long time, prompting city councilmen in the article to say that they wanted to see some action. I cannot demonstrate that the FDLE was moved by political and media pressure, but here we are less than two weeks later with questionable charges. Now the city will likely commence termination proceedings. They got what they were looking for to try to stop paying Rodriguez.

The final charge appears to be perjury for lying in the internal investigation. FDLE indicates that Captain Rodriguez denied having “sex” while on duty. Even if the state can prove that a sexual act occurred (the alleged act was not on the video), they will have a hard time proving that he was committing perjury when he said he didn’t have sex on duty. The most common usage of “sex” would refer to sexual intercourse, and unless there was some better specificity in the interview… it’s not perjury. Further, an interview given in an internal investigation is almost certainly not an “Official Proceeding” as defined by the statute. Perjury usually means lying in court or to in some sort of formal hearing, not simply in a police interview. There is a separate misdemeanor charge for giving a false statement to a police officer, but unless there were some really specific questions being asked about the nature of the sexual activity, even that allegation would be difficult to prove. This charge is also unlikely to be provable beyond a reasonable doubt.

Another questionable issue related to these charges is that WINK news published what appears to be a mug shot of Captain Rodriguez. What’s interesting about that is that Florida Statute prohibits the release of mug shots of law enforcement officers. WINK is not in the wrong for publishing it, but the question is where did they get it? Was his mug shot illegally provided to the media? At this point, these charges, and the way they are carried out, create more questions than answers. I am electing not to republish the mug shot in this article, not so much because of the prohibition on dissemination, rather because I think the charges are bogus and have decided to only publish the professional photo that has previously been widely distributed.

Finally, these charges, and the likelihood they get dismissed, will end up serving as a cover for what should be the biggest scandal related to this whole thing. A Fort Myers police captain has been accused of lying, falsifying reports, instructing other officers to assist in his cover up, and possibly deleting video evidence of a criminal investigation. That is the issue we should be most concerned about, especially in light of the ongoing corruption probes at FMPD going back several years. While Captain Rodriguez shouldn’t be jailed for lying and saying he kept his bottoms on since it’s outside the statute of limitations, we should be terribly concerned that the department covered for his lie for six years. That’s a big lie, and if someone was charged with criminal acts, lying about it is far more serious for the effect it may have had on the integrity of our criminal justice system.

Here’s an edit of the video in question, from the News-press.

*UPDATE* NBC-2 reports he has been put on unpaid leave. I don’t blame Chief Diggs under the circumstances, but it shows that the arrest helped the City with their public pressure to take action.

Man Arrested for DUI Wearing ‘Hold My Beer’ Shirt

 

harrison wootton

Harrison Wootton

We can add another ridiculous shirt to the ones people have been wearing when they got arrested. Harrison Wootton, a 25-year old from Connecticut, was arrested for a DUI while wearing a shirt that reads “Hold My Beer and Watch This”. “This” apparently entailed getting behind the wheel of an unregistered motor vehicle, losing control and crashing into the stone wall surrounding a cemetery. He then proceeded to try to flee the scene as officers arrived, but was apprehended and charged.

Geez, man, how do you hit a cemetery?

drunk lives matterThat’s the second incriminating DUI shirt mug shot in just a few weeks, after our friend from St. Patrick’s Day.

Or this guy…

Man Arrested for Drunk Driving in “Drunk Lives Matter” T-Shirt

Ooops.

drunk lives matter

Elwood “Drunk Lives Matter” Gutshall

Elwood Gutshall III was pulled over and arrested for drunk driving, wearing a St. Patrick’s Day t-shirt, even though it was a couples days past the holiday. His oh-so-clever shirt read “Drunk Lives Matter”. He blew .217, more than two and a half times the limit in Pennsylvania, and will go to court next month to answer his charge.

Ironically, it’s the three-year anniversary of a similar story we ran, where an alleged drunk driver was busted while wearing a shirt that says, “Drunk as Sh**”.

Believe it or not, neither of these busts occurred in Florida!

Why’s This Guy Smiling after he got popped going 110 on Alligator Alley?

  • Noe Dejesus was arrested for DUI in Collier County after being clocked at 109 coming across Alligator Alley
  • Dejesus was butt naked when cops pulled him out of the car

 

Noe DeJesus

Noe Dejesus

Law enforcement received several calls of a car driving recklessly, and soon thereafter, troopers spotted Mr. Dejesus’ Cadillac going about 110 on I-75 Alligator Alley. Troopers pulled him over, and observed alcoholic beverage containers in the car. When they asked him to step out, they found out that he was completely naked.

Also inside the car were three women, several beer bottles, and a nearly empty bottle of Crown Royal Whiskey. They asked Dejesus to complete field sobriety exercises, but he declined to do so, and was arrested for DUI and driving without a license, both misdemeanors. Judging by his mug shot… he might have decided it was worth it.

It is unknown where he was coming from, but he was heading in the direction of his home in Lehigh Acres, and from the direction if he had been in Miami. No information was given about his lady friends.

via NDN.

Cute Mugshot Girl got Arrested Again

While looking into mugshots today: regarding the amazing mugs on the fake Walmart squatter story, I ran across an old friend. We covered “Cute Mugshot Girl” Alyssa Bathrick when her mugshot went viral, but I missed that she got another arrest… and another mugshot earlier this year, when she got a shoplifting arrest. I must say, she still takes a pretty good picture:

alyssa bathrick2

Alyssa Bathrick’s most recent Mugshot

Here’s the original that made her famous, and a couple others from her growing portfolio:

Sadly, the ‘Homeless Couple Living Above Walmart’ Story is Untrue

Not a Real Couple

Not a Real Couple

A fake news story, accompanied by a couple of spectacular mug shots, has been circulating on social media and Reddit for a couple of days, but unfortunately it appears to be made up. Supposedly, a homeless couple was living in a Tennessee Walmart attic, outfitted with all the amenities of the store below. Web-truth heroes at Snopes found no truth to the story, though they located at least one of the mug shots on The Smoking Gun. I’m all for pretend stories, love the Onion, but it’s too bad this website doesn’t tip off that the story is fiction. The guys’ mug shot is probably real, too, but we don’t know who he is.

wilbert thomas mug

Wilbert Thomas

Ironically, the story uses the name Wilbert Thomas, and there happens to be an actual criminal named Wilbert Thomas with his own epic mug shot. The real Wilbert Thomas is a horrible person, a registered sex-offender who killed a nice lady– a retired teacher- after skpping out on his sex-offender registration. He was given life in prison for the murder, and in the words of the judge, Mr. Thomas is “an extreme risk to our society,” who should, “never be eligible to be out in the community again.”

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Wilbert Thomas

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Wilbert Thomas at court on his murder charges. The “Turtle Suit” indicates he is a risk, probably for mental health reasons