Shine Your Light—Make It Bright…

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The first line of defense against incursions upon our rights and liberties, are law-enforcement officers. Members from policing agencies either protect and serve the citizenry, adhering to a legal and professional standard of conduct, or from the onset, denigrate and deny an individual their Constitutional and God given rights.

Just because the violence or intrusive actions utilized by a police department upon a citizen are determined to be legal, it doesn’t mean that their conduct was appropriate, reasonable or correct.

On the front lines, during the heat of battle, the meaning and intent, along with obedience to the law, can become blurred and obscured for police officers seeking to rationalize and justify improper or illegal conduct. Continue reading

VOTER ALERT: IN THE WAKE OF THE EIMERS GRAND JURY SCANDAL, STATE ATTORNEY VOGEL IS UP FOR REELECTION IN 2016

Corruption and Justice

Corruption and Justice

State Attorney Catherine Vogel’s office is corrupt. This statement might appear to some readers to be an attempt on my part to be a bit sensational. But it’s not. Informed government-watchers reading this are more likely to simply yawn and silently ask, “So what’s your point?” I have been reporting to my readers for years the varying degrees of corruption on the part of the various residents of the State Attorney’s Office (SAO). I have repeatedly pointed out that prosecutors knowingly allow police officers to present false under-oath testimony against  defendants — including, but not limited to “facts” from falsified police reports.

To grasp the truth of the concept that I am presenting here, you need to understand that the objective of the SAO is not necessarily justice — the objective is to win cases. Continue reading

Officer Gary Lee Lovette: “Me, I Dropped Like a F***ing Bomb On His Head… We Killed Him”

Photo provided by Treavor Eimers

Photo provided by Treavor Eimers

The Grand Jury’s Final Report is in. No indictment will be handed out in response to the fatal Thanksgiving Day arrest of Charles Eimers.

The report – no matter how beneficial it is for the officers who could have faced criminal charges – throws more fuel than water on that fire.   Indeed a summary contained in the FDLE Investigative Report, made public yesterday afternoon, of an audio recording captured during and immediately after the arrest is simply stupefying.

Apparently Officer Gary Lee Lovette inadvertently left the recording mechanism on his Taser in the on position for several hours after putting the Taser back into its holster.  What follows is an excerpt from FDLE’s summary of the audio recordings: Continue reading

Grand Jury Clears All Officers in the Death of Charles Eimers / Vogel Brings In Expert Police Officer Defense Witness

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“This allows the prosecutor to say I didn’t take the decision.  The Grand Jury did it.  The people did it.  But of course, how vigorously the prosecutor presents the case is everything.  It’s just the prosecutor presenting a case to these Grand Jurors.  If the DA doesn’t want an indictment or has questions it could be a very different thing.”

-       Dan Abrams, “Nightline” anchor and Chief Legal Affairs anchor for ABC News, when speaking about the Grand Jury proceedings in the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, MO.

The Grand Jury’s Final Report was released this afternoon.  All Key West police officers involved in the death of Charles Eimers were cleared of any wrongdoing.

So, how “vigorously” did our State Attorney present the case for excessive force?

Continue reading

STORIES OF THE YEAR FROM BACK IN HISTORY

Dennis Reeves Cooper on Fox O'Reilly show

Dennis Reeves Cooper being interviewed by Bill O’Reilly on the Fox News Channel in 2001. Cooper founded the Blue Paper in 1994 and was editor and publisher for 18 years before he retired in 2012.

When I was editor of Key West The Newspaper– the Blue Paper– back in the “old days,” we published a “Story of the Year” feature at the end of each year. Here’s a look back at a few years of those stories.

2000. Our Story of the Year of the year 2000 was the defeat of 20-year incumbent State Attorney Kirk Zuelch at the polls. Few election-watchers thought that could happen. After two decades in the office, Zuelch was thought to be too powerful, too entrenched to get voted out of office. Zuelch was so comfortable in office that he no longer even tried to hide his use of his position to forward the objectives of his powerbroker pals. Selective enforcement of the law was routine. And it was in your face. It was said that Zuelch could even make judges quake beneath their robes. Lawyers with clients facing prosecution by Zuelch’s office often advised their clients to take just about any plea offer coming from the state attorney’s office (SAO) because “the judges do not often rule against Zuelch.”

A PERSONAL NOTE: We here at the Blue Paper were never among Kirk Zuelch’s best friends. For years, we repeatedly published stories that exposed corruption inside the SAO. Less than a year after the voters ousted Zuelch from office in 2000, Key West Police Chief Buz Dillon had me arrested for writing something he didn’t like– and the case went to the SAO for prosecution. New State Attorney Mark Kohl refused to prosecute because, he said, the law Dillon used to have me arrested was unconstitutional. He was right. A couple of years later, a panel of three federal judges did rule 3-0 that the law was, indeed, unconstitutional– and new free speech law was made in Florida. However, had Zuelch still been in office, it is unlikely that he would have made the same decision that Kohl made. In fact, it is quite likely that Zuelch would have enthusiastically gone forward with prosecution. I and my ACLU lawyers would have eventually won in court– but had Zuelch still been in office, things would have been way different for me for a couple of years as the case worked its way through the courts. Continue reading

Local Attorney Discovers He Is Fighting A Prosecutor Paid By A Private Company

So, private corporations are adding privately funded prosecutors to the Monroe County State Attorney’s Office.  Really?  Do we have Monroe County prosecutors whose salaries are paid by private companies?  “Indirectly, yes, and that deal is unconstitutional,” says local defense attorney Jiulio Margalli.

Margalli is referring to an agreement, entered into last December, by which the Guidance/Care Center (GCC) and Monroe County Coalition (MCC), both private entitles, are paying the State Attorney’s Office for a special prosecutor to “increase prosecutions of DUI cases.”

At first glance I’m sure the reader will react as we did:  “Good! Let’s prosecute.”  Certainly, the prospect of having less drunk teenagers flipping over their pickup trucks (or worse) is a good thing.  Continue reading