Articles Posted in Warrants

BURGLARS UNIDENTIFIED AT PRESENT BUT A CLEAR VIDEO RECORDING EXISTS

A recent News4Jax story is attempting to help catch to car burglars who were captured on home security surveillance system.  The report states that the car burglaries took place on Jacksonville’s Northside.  As is often common in car burglary cases, the car doors were unlocked.  The two men were recorded pulling on car handles, and if unlocked, the two would enter the cars and start rummaging throughout the cars looking for anything of value.  The story stresses to homeowners the importance of removing valuables from your motor vehicles as well as to make sure your car door are locked.

Car burglaries are becoming an all too popular crime.  They can certainly be labeled as a crime of opportunity in that the individuals committing the crimes almost always try and seek cars that have unlocked doors.  The crime is often referred to as “Car Hopping.”  The suspects often times pick areas with lots of cars such as an apartment complex or hotel parking lot.  It only takes one car left unlocked that contains a laptop, I-Pad, or law enforcement’s biggest concern, a firearm. Thefts and Car Burglaries also tend to rise in the summer time.  Law Enforcement typically blames the correlation on the amount of juveniles out of school for the summer.  It is typically a crime committed by juveniles and it is almost always committed with several juveniles working together.

The News4Jax story posted still shots captured on the security cameras of the individuals in the recent car burglary story.  The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office will likely receive tips as to the two individuals based on the still shots.  Once identified, the Sheriff’s Office will likely seek a warrant from the State Attorney’s Office for their arrest.  The Sheriff’s Office will also have spoken to the owner of the cars to determine what personal property was stolen.  A pawn search can be conducted once the specific items are determined missing to see if any of the stolen property was in fact pawned.  A serial number is normally the easiest way to prove an item belonging to the victim was pawned.

The charges the two individuals face in the event they are properly identified is Burglary to a Structure or Conveyance, a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000.00 fine.  To prove the crime of Burglary to a Conveyance the State of Florida is required to prove two elements beyond a reasonable doubt.  First the State must prove that the suspect entered a conveyance owned by or in the possession of the victim.  Second, the State must prove at the time of entering the conveyance, the suspect had the intent to commit a crime within that conveyance.What is important to point out regarding the elements of the crime is that for someone to be found guilty of a burglary the State must prove an individual had the intent to commit a crime within the car.  The State will rely on the security camera showing the individuals rummaging through the vehicles as well as the victim’s testimony regarding what items are now missing from the car.  Continue reading

RECENT NEWS REPORTS DETAIL THE RECENT ARREST OF WILLIAM SHEPARD ELLISON

Ellison who owns Shep’s Discount Furniture on Normandy Boulevard and Shep’s Chicken and Auction House on Beaver Street, was in the news last year upon his arrest for Trafficking in Hydrocodone and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.  Those charges arose out of a Florida Department of Law Enforcement raid on Eillison’s home and business pursuant to a search warrant.  Those charges were later dropped by the State Attorney’s Office.

The recent arrest, per the reports, is out of a long term, two state, multi county, investigation by Florida’s Attorney General’s Office.  Ellison turned himself into Orange County law enforcement authorities on a $1.5 Million Dollar Warrant.  The details regarding the investigation are still coming into news outlets but what has been reported thus far is the Ellison’s two stores were utilized as  clearing houses for stolen merchandise.  Some of the items sold by Ellison were beer, power tools, appliances, and energy drinks.  The merchandise was stolen from semi-trucks and containers in Georgia and Florida and brought to Ellison for re-sale.  The total value of the merchandise is estimated at over one million dollars. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi personally held a news conference announcing the arrest of Ellison as well as two other men, Pedro Hernandez and Lewis Dominguez.  A fourth man, Juan Carlos Castaneda Quintana is currently at large according to authorities.  News4Jax and The Florida Times Union have both reported on the recent arrest of Ellison.

THE POTENTIAL CHARGES ELLISON FACES

Ellison certainly faces an uphill battle regarding his charges.  In any Racketeering (RICO) case the State of Florida will build in certain predicate acts to prove the RICO charge.  Each violation of Florida Law may be added as charges against Ellison as the additional charges show the ongoing criminal activity. In Florida Racketeering Activity means to commit, to attempt to commit, to conspire to commit, or to solicit, coerce, or intimidate another person to commit any crime that is chargeable by petition, indictment, or information under several of the Florida Statutes, to include theft, dealing in stolen property, and schemes to defraud.  The State of Florida is required to prove that the pattern of racketeering activity, happened on at least two incidents of racketeering conduct that have the same or similar intents, results, accomplices, victims, or methods of commission or that otherwise are interrelated by distinguishing characteristics and are not isolated incidents.

The State of Florida will rely on each individual illegal act committed by Ellison.  The largest charge jumping out at the reading of the news stories is the charge of dealing in stolen property under Florida State Statute 812.019.  Dealing in stolen property is defined as “Any person who traffic in, or endeavors to traffic in, property that he or she knows or should know was stolen shall be guilty of a felony of the second degree.”  For Ellison and the others mentioned earlier, each time stolen merchandise was brought to Ellison for Ellison too in turn sell through his stores, a separate dealing in stolen property charge can be added.  Every time Ellison knowingly purchased stolen property he committed a second degree felony punishable by up to fifteen years in Florida State Prison.  Further each time Ellison sold the stolen merchandise he committed an additional dealing in stolen property.  The State of Florida will take each of the sales of merchandise among the individuals charges as predicate offenses to the racketeering.

Although Ellison appears to be the clearing house for all of the stolen merchandise, if the State of Florida has evidence that Ellison orchestrated the stealing of the merchandise to begin with, Ellison may further be charged with Grand Theft under 812.014 of the Florida Statutes.  A person commits theft if he or she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently deprive the other person or a right to the property or a benefit from the property.  Even if Ellison himself did not physically steal the trucks, if he orchestrated it, encouraged it, or enticed others to do it, the principal theory under Florida law would allow Ellison to also be charged with the Grand Theft charges.  Ellison may face a first degree felony punishable by up to thirty years in prison based on the amount of stolen property being greater than $100,000.00.

Racketeering in and of itself is set up in a manner to take down an entire criminal enterprise.  The initial cases against the Mafia utilized at the time the new Racketeering laws.  The heads of the Mafia families, although personally not committing the crimes themselves, benefited from the illegal activity.  In the case of Ellison, it appears he was also a willing participant in the criminal activity. Ellison, although arrested on very serious charges on what is setting itself up to be a high profile prosecution by Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office, is entitled to the presumption of innocence and to have his attorneys confront his accusers by taking the case to a jury trial.  Continue reading

Duval Man Arrested for Gun Charge in Case Involving Deceased Five Year Old

A thirty four year old man has been arrested and charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon after an investigation into a murdered five year old girl.  According to a news report,  the incident occurred on Saturday, February 4th at the Roosevelt Garden Apartments.   Before the incident occurred a mother went to the store leaving her eight year old son, five year old daughter, and four year old neighbor alone in the apartment.  During this time the eight year old accidentally shot a gun tragically killing his five year old sister and wounding the four year old neighbor.

The Investigation Lead to the Arrest of Maurice Antonio Mobley

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Homicide Unit conducted an investigation as to what occurred to leave an innocent five year old dead at the hands of her eight year old brother.  Certainly a question that needed to be answered is why were the three minors left in an apartment alone, and how on earth did an eight year old get his hands on a firearm.  Based on the recent arrest of Maurice Antonio Mobley, it is clear that Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is placing the blame on Mobley for bringing the firearm into the apartment.  Based on the reports, Mobley was not present during the tragic shooting, however it is clear that someone saw Mobley possess the gun in the past.  More than likely the mother of the deceased five year old told Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office that the gun belonged to her boyfriend.  Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office would then run the background of Mobley and discovered he is a multiple time convicted felon as well as a Registered Sex Offender. Continue reading

REARRESTED 30 DAYS AFTER PLEADING TO SEX CASE IN COLUMBIA COUNTY

Former Gainesville and Lake City music teacher David O’Neill was labelled a sex offender under Florida law on December 19, 2016.  According to police and court records, O’Neill, who actually has a doctorate degree in music, education  or music education from the University of Florida, awarded in 2013, was rearrested right at 30 days(January 19, 2017) from his December 2016 sentence of five years probation in a Columbia County sex case.  This is according to a report out of Gainesville, Florida, http://www.gainesville.com/news/20170120/gpd-sex-offender-violates-registration-in-online-ads, 

Columbia County Sex Case

The two charges Dr. O’Neill was arrested  on in Columbia County Florida, back on February 15, 2016,  were originally a result of his actions communicating with a minor online in an attempt to have sex with that minor and the transmitting of material harmful to minors.  He entered a plea to the one count of the transmission of harmful materials to a minor and was placed upon 5 years of felony probation by the judge in Columbia County or Lake City, Florida.  Apparently O’Neill taught music in the Columbia County School system at one time.  He has also taught in the Alachua County school system prior to these arrests. At the time of this writing, it appears that the Judge in Columbia County originally sentenced Dr. O’Neill to five years of sex offender probation but then court records show that his probation was corrected to be five years of standard felony probation.  The difference between the two categories of felony probation are very significant.  Although any felony probation is something to contend with, sex offender probation under Florida law, carries the following additional conditions, restrictions and requirements:

  1. mandatory curfew from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.
  2. cannot reside within 1000 feet of a place where children regularly congregate( some counties such as Duval expand this to 2500 feet)
  3. active participation and successful completion of a sex offender treatment program
  4. no contact with the victim unless approved by the victim, the sentencing judge and the professional treating the sex offender
  5. if the victim was under 18, no contact with minors unless, same conditions as #4 above and the offender must be in sex therapy or have completed it
  6. if the victim was under 18, the offender cannot work for pay or volunteer at any place where children regularly congregate
  7. a prohibition on viewing, accessing owning or possessing obscene, pornographic or sexually stimulating material
  8. must submit a DNA sample (that is not just on sex cases anymore)
  9. restitution to the victim for all medical and psychiatric or psychological treatment related to the crime
  10. submission to a warrantless search by the probation officer of the person’s residence, person or vehicle (that’s not exclusive to sex cases)
  11. A polygraph exam, at least annually, by an examiner certified as a postconviction sex offender polygrapher
  12. must keep a driving log
  13. cannot keep a post office box without approval of probation officer
  14. if the charges allege sexual contact, probationer must undergo an HIV test and results provided to victim and/or victim’s parents or guardian
  15. electronic monitoring by GPS
  16. cannot access the internet until a risk assessment is completed and a safety plan implemented by the treating professional
  17. for offenders with victims under 18, the offender cannot hand out Halloween candy, dress as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny

 

The Alachua County Arrest

Dr. O’Neill was arrested on January 19, 2017,  on three new charges.  As stated earlier it appears the sentencing judge in Coumbia County had placed him on a standard felony probation as opposed to the above described sex offender probation.  Although not on sex offender probation, the doctor was still labelled a Florida sex offender with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and had requirements placed upon him with that designation. The narrative portion of his arrest report states that the doctor had been observed standing on a street corner in Gainesville advertising his business by holding a sign.  His business was apparently teaching piano lessons.  The sign contained a web address. When the officer went to the web address the site contained, according to the officer, a link to the doctor’s email and his cell number.  Further investigation by the officer revealed a Craigslist ad listing the doctor’s services.  Quoted from the arrest report, “The Craigslist ad, the website selling his services, and the contact e-mail are all NOT listed as internet identifiers on the DEF’s sex offender registration form, yet they facilitate communication through the internet, a violation of his conditions. ”  The officer arrested Dr. O’Neill for the three charges in violation of FS 943.0435(2)(4)(D).  Continue reading

PENDING PROMOTIONS PLACED ON HOLD

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.

“THE INTEGRITY OF THE RESULTS HAVE BEEN CALLED INTO QUESTION”

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.

“THE INTEGRITY OF THE PROCESS IS MOST IMPORTANT”

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.

NO MENTION OF THE INTEGRITY OF THE 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

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.

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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

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.

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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 News4Jax.com. 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.

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