The city council yesterday finalized a settlement of nearly a half-a-million dollars for NFL player Nate Allen for his wrongful arrest. (While he was detained, and ultimately released without a formal arrest, it was easily a ‘de facto arrest’ due to time and totality of the circumstances.) It was enough to make the news, especially since he is a professional football player. Even though he was released that day, the suit was worth a lot more because of the demonstrable negative effects it had on his NFL contract situation. Worse, the FMPD chief at the time, Doug Baker, was caught lying in the investigation into the cover-up, leading ultimately to his termination. The entire incident was a black eye on the city. To the council’s credit, they recognized the wrongdoing, and have repeatedly apologized. Neither the chief, nor the detective on the case are still with the city. Sawyer Smith handled the case for Allen, and tells me he is as nice a guy you could ever meet.
Sadly, the lessons are still being learned. Just a few months ago I encountered a case where the FMPD utilized the same faulty show-up procedure to identify someone, in spite of the pending lawsuit. The state ended up dropping the case. Meanwhile, the 2-year anniversary of Zombie-con has passed with no arrests, charges, or even named suspects. And just last week, more details have come out about the officers suspended after the Freeh Report. FMPD has a long way to go…
Posted in 4th Amendment - Search & Seizure, Criminal Law, Federal, Florida, Fort Myers / Lee County / Southwest Florida #SWFL, Police
Tagged badcops, civil rights, doug baker, fmpd, fort myers, freeh, nate allen, sawyer smith, zombie
Surveillance Footage from Zombicon
FMPD held a press conference today, and asked a tipster who previously came forward with valuable information to get in contact with them again. They are hoping to get more vital information from a tipster that contacted them around November 11-13. They have followed up on hundreds of different tips, and believe that one of the tipsters may have the information needed to make an arrest.
They are asking anyone who made a tip during that time to contact them tomorrow or next Wednesday, between 9 am and 3 pm at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477). They reward for information leading to arrest is no at $36,000. Police stressed that the young man who was shot, Expavious ‘Tyrell’ Taylor was a totally innocent victim.
An Ohio man failed in his bid to reverse the legal declaration of his death, in spite of being very much alive. Donald Miller Jr. walked away from his life for over 20 years, and his wife had him declared dead while he was gone. Ohio has a rule that prevents overturning a declaration of death after 3 years. I understand the interest in the finality of judgments – criminal cases have an even shorter time to be challenged – but surely it doesn’t make legal sense for the law to declare something so blatantly wrong. The words, “I don’t know where that leaves you, but you’re still deceased as far as the law is concerned,” should never have to come out of a judge’s mouth, but he was compelled to say so under an arcane law.
I am not aware of a similar provision in Florida, but there is a case that says a declaration of death by one court may not preclude a finding otherwise in a different court! Great Southern Life Ins. Co. v. Pocoro, 869 So.2d 585 (Fla 4th DCA 2004). But, since he was declared dead in Ohio, Mr. Miller is legally a zombie. He’s undead: walking around, but legally dead. Just in time for Halloween!