The content of the most recent promotional exam administered to the approximately 70 Clay County Sheriff’s Deputies striving to make the rank of sergeant or lieutenant may have been leaked in advance.  According to a report, and statements made by outgoing Sheriff Rick Beesler’s department along with quotes directly from incoming Sheriff-elect Darryl Daniels, apparently some deputies who took the test may have had advance knowledge of what was to be included on the exam.  Incoming Sheriff Daniels has stated that officers who received a promotion based upon this compromised exam will have to resume their former rank until a new test can be administered.  Taking off rank in the world of law enforcement or the military is not a small move.  While physically all the officer has to do is unpin his lieutenant bars on his collar or cut the sergeant stripes off of his sleeves, the amount of authority leaving the deputy coupled with a probable change in duty assignment is huge. If officers had been promoted, then demoted, one obvious change would be the officer’s pay reverting to the former, less paying position.  Promotional testing of police officers usually involves the hiring of an outside firm to develop, administer and score the written test.  Officers then usually go before oral review boards of higher ranking officers in their own department.  According to the news article, Sheriff Beesler is conducting an investigation.


That quote is from, according to news media, a statement issued by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.  In other words, Sheriff Beesler must have concerns that some officers had advance knowledge of what was on the exam.  Some officers may have gained an unfair advantage over their fellow officers.  Perhaps the most qualified officers didn’t score as high as those who had the inside track on the questions.


That’s a quote, according to news reports, of incoming Sheriff Darryl Daniels.  Incoming Sheriff Daniels also stated he was “disappointed to learn of the leak” due to the amount of time and effort officers devote into getting a good score. Daniels is further quoted, “if they truly want the promotion, they’ll do whatever it takes to apply themselves to do the same thing they did before to reach the position they did the first time.” This investigation is ongoing and this writer has no information on how that is proceeding.  With the outgoing Sheriff questioning the integrity of the test results and the incoming Sheriff questioning the integrity of the test process, it begs the question if any officers used the information to cheat.  If cheaters are uncovered, hopefully they will be removed from the department at a minimum.  This would preclude them from just retaking the test and “doing the same thing they did before” to gain an advantage over their fellow officers.


This writer’s position is that although the integrity of the test results(sheriff #1 concern) and the integrity of the process(sheriff #2 concern) are valid concerns, these are not the real integrity concerns.  The test results and the process, the integrity of both being questioned by top leadership, if compromised, could only have been compromised by someone knowing what was on the exam and some amount of officers who had that knowledge passed along to them.  The test results will probably never be public information; however, something was noted as being out of the ordinary.  If this test was compromised, it was most probably compromised by law enforcement.  Bottom line is that law enforcement cannot even trust their own.  The lack of integrity of the results and process can only be due to, as a perception at present, a lack of integrity by law enforcement.  Hopefully, any and all cheaters that happen to be uncovered are removed from sworn law enforcement.  If an officer would cheat on an exam to bypass his fellow officer careerwise, would he be above cheating, or doing “whatever it takes” to effect an arrest of a suspect or cheating on his attempts to create an honest affidavit for a warrant to submit to a judge? Also, it appears that the current Sheriff is conducting this investigation utilizing the department’s own integrity unit.  The public might question how a department that potentially  compromised test results and the testing process could conduct an impartial, uncompromised investigation of itself. Continue reading

Students Arrested Were 17, 18 and 19 Years of Age, Dodged a Sex Crime

According to a report, three male students at Terry Parker High School in Jacksonville were arrested in April for having sex with a female student on school grounds.  The four students met up at a athletic field house on the high school campus.  One of the male students filmed portions of the sexual activity that occurred.  It appears the allegations came forth from the victim when she was being questioned about being late for class or asking for a “late” pass. Two of the young men went to the police station and were arrested.  Another young man was arrested days later.  They were all charged with Lewd or Lascivious Battery and also Lewd Battery with enticement of a person less than 16 years old to engage in any type of sexual activity.  A conviction of either charge would have devastated these young men with incarceration and the lifelong requirement of sex offender registration.  For several reasons, the State Attorney’s  office exercised discretion and reduced these charges to misdemeanors with probationary sentences.

Victim Originally Stated She Was Forced Into Sex Only to Admit Later it Was Consensual

As is common in many sex cases a person who the arresting officers and detectives determine to be a victim later recants his or her story.  In the above case, the female victim later stated the sex was consensual.  One of the young men had recorded the acts on his cell phone. That defendant also had an additional felony charge of “making/printing or publishing computer pornography” which under Florida Law is a third degree felony.  The young girl in this case was not of age to give or not give consent under Florida law; however, a supervisory prosecutor, after viewing the video contained on one defendant’s cellphone, determined that the young girl was not being forced into any participation by the three young men.  As the case unfolded, the video, the recording of which was an felony charge, seems to have helped all of the young men with the prosecutor’s decision to not bring the felony sex charges.

Sex Charges Can Surface Years Later

Under Florida law a person can be arrested for allegations of sexual misconduct years, even decades after the alledged behavior.  Most readers should be familiar with the multiple allegations against the popular comedian Bill Cosby.  Several women have brought up incidents from years past and at least once case is reportedly going to trial.  It is commonplace in Florida for a person with no criminal history to be arrested for sex crimes which supposedly occurred fifteen or twenty years prior.  The worst situation is Capital Sexual Battery, meaning, at the time of the incident, the victim was less than 12 years of age with the accused being over 18 years of age.  A person arrested on this charge is not entitled to a bond under Florida Law and is facing mandatory life imprisonment if convicted.  This writer has seen victims come forward with very old  allegations numerous times.  The motivation of the victim coming forward years later varies. It can be for “closure” as directed by their counselor or psychologist, the taking away of a 13 year old’s cell phone, refusing to let a rebellious 14 yr. old date the 16 yr. old who has his license and a car, the backing out of a promise to buy a child a car or truck when they turn 16, or mom is finally divorcing the stepdad.  Many times, other family members are aware of the allegations and families will try to just handle the matter internally without it getting out to law enforcement. Continue reading

Florida Legislators  Vote 122-5 To Repeal Law Passed In  1868

Florida lawmakers have apparently taken a small step to enter the modern day world by sending a bill to Governor Rick Scott.  The bill would eliminate Florida Statutes 798.01 and 798.02 which have been in effect since 1868, or essentially 148 years.  The two laws had their origins shortly after the end of the Civil War and the prevention of race mixing was probably a large part of the legislative intent.  Until Governor Scott signs the bill repealing the draconian law, under S798.01, it remains a second degree misdemeanor in Florida to “live in an open state of adultery” and both parties would be subject to a maximum of 60 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500. Got the wayward married folks covered there.  Under S798.02 non-married and married florida residents who have sex, or as described by the statute, “if any man and woman, not being married to each other, lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together, or if any man or woman, married or unmarried, engages in open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior, they shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.”  One would think these laws would be rarely enforced but according to an article in Police State USA, between 2007 and 2011, nearly 700 Florida residents were charged with misdemeanors for living together.  Additionally, these statutes don’t punish same sex couples for living together.  If  almost 700 Florida residents were in fact charged with crimes under these two statutes between 2007 to 2011, when that number is compared to the hundreds of thousands of Floridians living together as unmarried couples, the arrest and any prosecution is extremely rare. Any arrest and prosecution would also have to be very arbitrary.  This writer has handled thousands of criminal cases and works in about eight different counties without ever seeing anyone charged with violating these two laws.  What this writer does find noteworthy is the five elected lawmakers casting dissenting votes about overturning a seldom enforced law, regulating sex between consenting adults, from 1868, still consider this law necessary.  Can’t be too careful sometimes.

Regulation of Marriage

The second degree misdemeanors mentioned in the above paragraph are part of a regulatory attempt by government despite containing references to sexual activity that were incorporated as elements of the crime.  In our county alone, law enforcement’s number one or two arrests  by pure numbers on a daily basis (Duval County runs 35-40%) is for folks driving without a license.  The above law in the first paragraph is akin to having sex without being in a government licensed marriage, ie, an unlicensed marriage.  Locally our courthouse and the State of Florida just recently decided if gay couples could even be granted a marriage license.  The State of Florida now grants same sex couples the right to apply for and receive a marriage license, the right to marry and the right to divorce.  Our Duval County Courthouse had performed marriages for years up until the law changed granting gay couples marriage licenses.  Once the law changed and gays could marry, our Clerk of Court, Ronnie Fussell, decided that his courthouse and his court personnel would perform no weddings going forward. That was the only way he could avoid his people performing the ceremony for a gay couple.  The move was very coincidental with Mr. Fussell  simply stating it was a shortage of resources issue causing him to cease marriage operations 100% across the board, straight and gay alike.  Certain Judges and lawyers do, however,  perform marriages in the courthouse without the assistance of the clerk’s office. Continue reading

Longwood Police Chief Gets Four Years Federal Time For Accepting Bribes

Former Longwood, Florida police chief, Tom Jackson, will be heading off to do his federal sentence after a jury convicted him of three counts of accepting bribes and one count of conspiracy. According to a report, Jackson took six personal checks from a convicted felon totaling $36,000 during the years 2007 to 2010.  A convicted felon obviously cannot be a sworn police officer and apparently this police chief’s price for trying to accomplish such a feat of making the felon a officer in his department was the $36,000. Also noteworthy here is the fact that the police chief provided a department owned weapon to a convicted felon. Chief Jackson knowingly swore in the convicted felon on July 10,2009 according o the federal indictment.  Possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, commonly referred to as a “PFCF” is a second degree felony under florida law, carrying up to 15 years incarceration with a three year minimum mandatory sentence routinely imposed.  The felon was given business cards, a badge and issued a weapon from the department.  Chief Jackson reportedly made $98,000 per year before one adds in the supplemental income from taking bribes.  It is not known to this reader if Chief Jackson also had an IRS problem for the reporting or non- reporting of the supplemental income from the bribes.  It is also not known if the chief keeps any sort of pension from his non felonious years in charge of the department.

Atlantic Beach Police Chief Sentenced On Drug Charges

In Duval County, Florida, former Atlantic Beach Chief of Police, Michael Classey, can now be referred to by his Florida Department of Corrections number, J54631.  Chief Classey entered guilty pleas to five felonies for possessing illegal steroids and medications and tampering with evidence.  The chief received a five year probationary sentence.  The sentencing judge made sure that the chief forfeited his florida law enforcement certification, would perform 100 hours of community service and attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings five days per week.  Chief Classey very importantly received a withhold of adjudication.  The withhold means that although he entered pleas to multiple felonies, the court did not convict him of any of the felonies.  Whereas the Longwood chief above will be a lifetime convicted felon going forward after serving prison time, the Atlantic Beach chief was determined to be only a first time offender by the court and a public servant who had demonstrated a stellar 22 year record of decorated service.  The court found that no incarceration was justified and the prosecution also sought no jail or prison time.  The court decided that although this former chief didn’t need to be a convicted felon, he didn’t need to work in law enforcement going forward and needed to be given a chance at treatment.  Remaining on felony probation violation free in Florida is remarkable easy for some folks and just an unattainable hurdle for others.  In Florida, if one violates probation after originally receiving a withhold of adjudication, a hearing is conducted on the violation.  The violator does not get the benefit of a jury trial and whether the person violated or not is simply left up to the judge. The standard of proof required to be shown is that the probationer committed a “willful and substantial” violation of either the general or special conditions of probation.  The risk of violating probation is the previous withhold being converted into an adjudication/conviction and the probationer is also exposed to whatever incarceration was the maximum sentence allowed on each count the probationer entered pleas to.  Additionally, it is rare that a judge sets a bond on a violation of probation warrant or capias.  Locally, in North Florida, these are usually “no bond” warrants, even  for those on misdemeanor probation.  One will sit in jail 15-30 days before getting in front of the judge.  Usually, once one has accrued a substantial criminal record, or if the charge in question is very serious, probation will not be an option the court will consider.  A court is also not allowed to withhold adjudication of guilt on certain crimes or people with certain records.

Continue reading

Lake City Police Post Video Surveillance Of Burglary, 20 Citizens Respond

On January 27, 2016, according to a report, the Lake City Fleet Maintenance Facility was burglarized with a burglar going over or through a fence and breaking into several vehicles.  The city facility had a decent quality video surveillance system and during their investigation the police obtained the video history of the night in question.  The police then  posted the videos of the burglary on various social media .  According to the report, the combined social media reach of the law enforcement posts was over 38,000 people.  Over twenty people called in saying they could identify the suspect.  One caller worked for the Florida Department of Corrections,  recognized the burglar as a person already on felony probation.  The Lake City Police, after using  social media to determine the suspect’s identity then again used social media to enlist the help of the local community and determined the location of the suspect.  The suspect was arrested with the Police Chief stating that without the public’s help law enforcement would not have been able to identify the suspect.  Many homeowners and businesses now are installing extremely high resolution video systems with multiple camera angles.  This writer has had experience with homeowners who post the video surveillance recording on social media even before calling law enforcement.  They provided the potential suspect’s identity to law enforcement about the same time as the initial incident reports were being generated.

Fitness Trackers Track Steps, Heart Rate, Locations And Sleep

Federal Judge Orders Apple to Assist FBI Investigation of San Bernardino Shootings

The FBI successfully sought a court order telling Apple, as a corporation, they must assist the FBI in the investigation of the shootings in which an iPhone was retrieved from one of the deceased shooters.  Apple is, at present, refusing to comply with the order.  This is not a warrant.  This is a court order directing a private corporation that:

“Apple’s reasonable technical assistance shall accomplish the following three important functions: (1) it will bypass or disable the auto-erase function whether or not it has been enabled; (2) it will enable the FBI to submit passcodes to the SUBJECT DEVICE for testing electronically via the physical device port, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or other protocol available on the SUBJECT DEVICE and (3) it will ensure that when the FBI submits passcodes to the SUBJECT DEVICE, software running on the device will not purposefully introduce any additional delay between passcode attempts beyond what is incurred by Apple hardware.”  The shorthand version of what the government wants here is the ability to bypass or overcome the time out function or destruction of of phone data that occurs when one puts the wrong passcode repeatedly into an iPhone.  Judge Sheri Pym did not provide Apple with some aspirational goal like “try your best” to help out the FBI investigation.  Apple is being ordered what they “shall accomplish”, what they “will bypass or disable”, “what they “will enable” and what they “will ensure.”


Judge Gave Apple Time to Respond

Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote a letter labelled as A message to our customers.” He indicated that Apple was not going to instantly comply with the court order.  Apple has retained the services of renowned lawyer Theodore Olson who successfully represented then republican candidate George Bush in the Bush v. Gore case, ultimately winning Bush the presedential election. It is not known at the present time what penalties Apple will face as a corporation or who, if anyone, at Apple would be subject to being jailed for not complying with the order.  One should note that prior to her seat on the Federal Bench, Judge Pym was an assistant U.S. attorney and also a chief of the Riverside branch of the U.S. attorney’s office, Central District of California.  This case was brought in federal court in the Central District of California.  It appears to be a motion filed by her former office asking her bring this order against Apple. Thus far, the federal prosecutors appear to have success in having their motion granted and an order entered by a sitting judge who just happens to be a former federal prosecutor from the same office. Continue reading

Reports say beat girlfriend’s 3 year old with a belt

A registered sex offender was recently arrested and booked into the Duval County Pretrial Detention Facility on a first degree felony charge of aggravated child abuse.  The allegations are that the defendant beat the three year old boy with a belt because the child kept falling asleep in the bathtub.  A first degree felony, under Florida law, carries a maximum sentence of 30 years.  The defendant was released from the Florida Department of Corrections in June of 2013.  Records show that he went to prison twice on a 2007 case for lewd battery, victim between 12 to 15 years.  He originally served 15 months, was released on probation, violated probation and was subsequently sentenced to what was a total of 6 years.  He left prison as a designated sexual offender subject to lifetime registration. His residence will always be available by checking online with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, FDLE for short.  If this defendant pleas or is convicted here, he will “score” prison under the Florida Criminal Punishment Code.  The state attorney assigned to the case, in addition to the offender’s  defense attorney, will quickly be able to calculate his minimum prison sentence exposure. Unless there are statutory departure qualifiers here, the judge assigned to this case, must give what is called a “guideline sentence” as a minimum.   Factored into his score will be his criminal record to date since Florida law uses the cumulative history of an individual much like a potential lendor views a loan applicant’s history of payments or non payments which helps formulate a credit score. As people with a checkered credit history pay more to borrow money, offenders with serious criminal histories pay more in terms of incarceration for their instant offenses.  The present offense will also be scored and that score may include extra points for the level of injuries to the 3 yr. old.

Continue reading

Jacksonville Beach photographer, already in jail, receives additional charges

Currently jailed Jacksonville Beach photographer Mario Peralta was just given “add-ons” in jail speak. Add-ons are additional charges placed on a defendant already in custody on other charges. These are additional charges resulting from two search warrants generated following his initial arrest.  Peralta was initially arrested back in May, 2015, per the police report, after the father of a young female client of his photography and video studio discovered a tiny camera planted in a digital clock.  The clock was in the changing room.  The police report states the father removed the SD card from the clock, put it in his pocket and later reviewed the contents of the SD card once he got home to his own computer. The report states that the father notified law enforcement after seeing the video images of naked young girls stored on the SM card. Mr. Peralta has retained legal counsel and is presumed innocent until he either enters a plea or the state attorney proves the case beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

Continue reading

Blood Alcohol Level of .279, Crashed Doing 120 MPH in a 30 MPH Zone, Killed 12 Year Old Girl

Stanley Jefson, of Jacksonville, prior to his latest arrest for the above incident, had three local convictions for driving under the influence, the last being in 2009.  He was also, according to court records, a graduate of the county’s drug court program back in the nineties.  On April 4th of this year, according to Jefson crashed doing 120mph at a Jacksonville intersection, seriously injuring himself and others. Days later, one young victim died, 12 year old Savannah Pheiffer.  The date of Jefson’s accident was April 4, 2013.  Seventy days passed before he finally was arrested on June 13, 2014, and taken off the streets to face 24 separate charges ranging from, dui manslaughter, dui with serious bodily injury, vehicular homicide, dui with damage and reckless driving.  He is now in the Duval County Pretrial Detention Facility and despite all of the above, Jefson is presumed to be innocent and is entitled to a vigorous defense.

Continue reading

$20 Million Annual Contract to Hold 650 Men

Florida has a facility tucked away in the small, nondescript town of Arcadia.  Under Florida law, an inmate with a sexually violent past or a history of sexually motivated offenses will be scrutinized just before his release from jail or prison.  If deemed a threat to reoffend, he will be “Ryced Out” and sent to the Florida Civil Commitment Center in Arcadia.  The Jimmy Ryce Act regarding civil commitment is named after a  nine year old, Samuel James Ryce, who was raped, decapitated and dismembered by Juan Carlos Chavez.  Chavez was executed in February of 2014.  The Jimmy Ryce act allows the State of Florida to hold designated sex offenders essentially for life.  This form of risk management by the state can keep a man behind the razor wire(but it is  not to be called prison) because he might offend in the future.  He is held because he might commit future sex crimes.  He can be coming out of prison on a totally non-violent, non-sex charge for which he has served his sentence.  If he has a sexually motivated offense in his past, the “Thought Police” of the combined bureaucracies of the Department of Corrections, the Department of Children and Families and the State Attorney’s Office can send him to Arcadia for the rest of his life without his recently completed sentence having anything to do with sex.  He will be held indefinitely without any new crime being committed.  Florida subcontracts out this Guantanamo style of incarceration(no crime required, years between court dates, fear of future offenses) to the GEO corporation after previously jobbing out the facility to Liberty Healthcare for seven years.

Continue reading