Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Price of Pretrial Freedom

I attended a Motion to Remove GPS Monitoring Device in Judge F. Rand Wallis' courtroom Friday. The defendant, Charlie Anthony Jackson, has a degree from FSU and works in a high paying MIS job that requires him to travel often. He is now living at a hotel in Jacksonville (previously having commuted to his job from Orlando), and claimed that the GPS monitoring device provided by Court Programs has malfunctioned in the past, once causing him to have to return to Orlando from a job in Arkansas to be replaced. In addition to claiming financial hardship (having to pay $84/week for the privilege of not being incarcerated while awaiting trial), Mr. Jackson expressed concern that the monitoring company could call him at an inopportune time, for example while he is conducting a training session or in an important meeting, that might cause him a hardship (though I guess embarrassment is more the issue).

I suppose that Mr. Jackson believes that the judge should try to minimize any potential for awkward situations he's made to suffer while awaiting trial.

The defendant's wife, the victim in this case, was assaulted so severely in August that she literally thought her eye had come out of its socket when blood squirted from it during the attack. She has two facial scars and suffered facial fractures.  She testified that this was the fourth physical assault by her husband during their nine year marriage.  She obtained a 3-yr injunction immediately after the offense and the defendant was granted only supervised visitation with his child through Family Ties, which he has not yet exercised, even though it was ordered two months ago. She told Judge Wallis that knowing his movements are monitored is the only thing that has provided her with any peace of mind since the attack.

Jackson is charged with Aggravated Battery (Great Bodily Harm) and Domestic Battery by Strangulation. Defense Attorney Charles Willits did a good job of pleading his client's case, but Assistant State Attorneys Christopher Pasquale and Michelle Latham countered every argument with convincing testimony by a representative from Court Programs and the victim herself.  Additionally, Court Programs told the judge that if Mr. Jackson cannot risk being disturbed during an important meeting, they will refrain from contacting him during that pre-arranged time.

In the end, Judge Wallis denied the motion, finding that the defendant's concerns did not rise to the level of a hardship and that his issues had been alleviated by a newer device that does not have the same battery problems the older device had. 

CourtWatch commends Judge Wallis for maintaining this level of protection for the victim and accountability for the defendant while awaiting trial.


  1. Jackson should be in jail, but got off easy with a slap on the wrist by wearing a GPS device. Glad Judge Wallis denied the motion, but given the severity of his wife's beating, Jackson should be in jail, not flying around the country on business travel. When will DV be taken seriously? These abusers are potential murderers. Society and the court systems has to stop minimizing these crimes as marital and relationship-based problems and start GETTING TOUGH.

  2. I agree! It's a shame these abusers loose sight of the fact that they are lucky they are not spending their days incarcerated, but choose to focus on their inconveniences.
    Unfortunately, the system only exhasterbates this attitude by minimizing their acts of violence by not "getting tough".
    Sad AND Frustrating!