Tag Archives: punta gorda

Do NOT Abuse the Express Lane in front of William Golladay

William Golladay

William Golladay

A 65-year-old Punta Gorda man in a motorized wheelchair was allegedly rammed with a shopping cart when he exceeded the 20-item limit in the Taylor Rd. Walmart. Police allege William Golladay became irate when the elderly man in front of him had more items than permitted in the express lane. The two began yelling at each other, and Golladay reportedly rammed the victim with his cart, injuring his elbow. Keep in mind, Golladay is even older, at 77 years of age. But the charge is a felony because the victim is 65 years or old, in spite of Golladay’s age. This case of checkout rage occurred yesterday in Charlotte county.

This is the first incident I have ever heard reported of a battery arrest with a shopping cart used as a weapon. That get’s it a #weirdbattery tag… And #registerrage for battery with a shopping cart.

Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law Exonerates Domestic Violence Victim in Lee County

Last April, Amanda Arruda was brutally attacked by her lover, Vincent Deluca. After a night drinking on the town, Deluca became jealous and pulled Arruda away from the club and the two returned to Deluca’s Bonita Springs residence. Drugs were likely involved as well. The argument escalated at the home, and Ms. Arruda alleges that Deluca pulled a gun on her, put it to her head, and threatened to kill her. Arruda fled the bedroom and during the course of the altercation, was able to grab a knife. Deluca pursued her to the living room, threw her to the ground and jumped on her, at which point he was stabbed and Ms. Arruda was able to flee to the garage. Deluca followed her to the garage while calling 911. He opened the door only after law enforcement arrived.

Amanda Arruda's mug shot

Amanda Arruda’s mug shot

This is not the first domestic situation that Mr. Deluca has been involved in. It was revealed at the Immunity hearing that he has two outstanding injunctions already in place. During one of the previous incidents, he also pulled a gun and threatened to kill the other victim. Mr. Deluca was not even allowed to be in possession of a firearm due to the active injunctions against him.

Mr. Deluca claims that Ms. Arruda attacked him. He had the benefit of making the first report to law enforcement, as she was cornered in the garage while he was calling 911. Sadly, law enforcement bought his story, and arrested Ms. Arruda for Aggravated Battery, a second degree felony putting her at risk of up to 15 years in prison.

This is a prime example of the value of the immunity provision of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. Where a victim was erroneously arrested for exercising her right to defend herself, Florida’s law provides her with an outlet. At the immunity hearing this week, the court took testimony from Ms. Arruda, Mr. Deluca and the law enforcement officers who handled, or mishandled, the investigation. The court also heard testimony from Roy Bedard, an expert on the use of force and self-defense. Ms. Arruda, and her attorney Janese Carruthers, were also aided by an investigator they hired to fill in the gaps of the investigation.

As they say, the truth comes out in the wash. The court found Mr. Deluca’s testimony to be unbelievable. He found Ms. Arruda to be credible, and the physical evidence from the scene supported her version of the events. The judge was able to determine that she was, in fact, the victim, and dismissed the charge against her. Great work by Ms. Carruthers and her defense team to put on the case that made the facts clear for the judge.

It is unfortunate that the victim was revictimized by being arrested by reactionary law enforcement. She spent a month in jail before her family was able to raise the substantial bond to get her released. She plans to file a motion for the state to reimburse her attorney fees, which is specifically authorized by statute. It’s sad that the case even got to this point. It reminds me of the recent case in Punta Gorda where the judge threw out the case, commenting that the evidence wasn’t “even close”. These Defendants have a right to just compensation under the law, and the agencies that wrongly prosecuted them should pay. That’s the only way they will learn to be more judicious in their arrests in the future. Sadly, it’s our taxpayer money that pays for such errors. I shudder for the bill that could come due if George Zimmerman is acquitted.


Punta Gorda Man Charged with Felony Littering – UPDATE

Richard Clawson - Alleged Litterer

Richard Clawson – Alleged Litterer

Robert Clawson allowed a trucking company to dump a load of tires on his own property, which was vacant. Deputies tracked him down and charged him with a felony. The trucking employee was not charged, as he had been given permission by Mr. Clawson, and they agreed to pick up the tires. So they got nothing, and Clawson is facing a felony littering charge.

Any time I hear about a littering case, I automatically think of Alice’s Restaurant and the twenty-seven 8×10 colored, glossy photographs with circles and arrows they used to convict Arlo Guthrie. In this case, it looks like no matter how many glossy photographs were taken, they don’t have a case here. According to the WINK story, the tires were dumped on Clawson’s property. If that doesn’t sound like a crime, you’re right. The littering statute reads, in pertinent part, “…(c) In or on any private property, unless prior consent of the owner has been given and unless the dumping of such litter by such person will not cause a public nuisance or otherwise be in violation of any other state or local law, rule, or regulation.” Florida Statutes Section 403.413 (2012). Unless there is some other rule preventing it, Ms. Clawson can’t be prosecuted for littering on his own property. Duh.

UPDATE: The state dropped all charges on this case.


Stand Your Ground Ruling in Charlotte County

Ernesto Castro mug

Ernesto Castro mug

Ernesto Castro, who was arrested and charged with Aggravated Battery for going after Zon McCoy with a machete, had his charges dismissed in Charlotte County this week.  Castro’s attorney, Casey Clough, successfully argued that he was entitled to immunity under the “Stand Your Ground” law, because evidence showed that he was defending himself.  Apparently, McCoy was chasing him around with an ax (or ax handle) and he claims to have used the machete to defend himself.  His claims were substantial enough to convince the judge, who said it wasn’t “even close”, and granted his motion for immunity on the eve of trial.  Kudos to Judge Duryea for having the courage to do the right thing in light of the evidence.  It takes judicial fortitude to throw out the State’s case instead of punting to the jury, especially since the victim was participatory.

The WINK article claims the case set a precedent for being the first successful stand your ground motion where the alleged “victim” survived and testified- it’s not.  The McDaniel case in Lee county also featured a victim- who lied, and a machete attack.  Perhaps it was the first in Charlotte county.  It’s still a big win for the Defendant, and demonstration why the stand your ground immunity is a good idea.  If the judge found the evidence clearly showed that the defendant had been defending himself, why should the case be allowed to go to trial.  It sounds like another case of one guy got hurt, the other guy got charged.  Stand your ground is a barrier to gut-check moves on the part of law enforcement, and a benefit to the system- the State didn’t have to go to the expense of putting on the trial because the judge had the courage to act on the self-defense.