Tuesday, December 29, 2009

You Are Not Crazy

Like many folks this week, I'm taking some time off. But I found this excellent website that explains the dynamics of verbal abuse - identifying it, explaining it, and determining whether or not a verbal abuser can change his or her behavior.

Click here: You Are Not Crazy

Sarah's father, Dan, was a master at verbal abuse. He never physically battered me. Yet he murdered our daughter and committed suicide 13 years ago - just a few months after we separated.

I encourage victims to not minimize a verbal abuser's behavior simply because they've never battered.

Verbal abusers can become killers.

An abuser's behavior is all about power & control. It's not about anger (which is a tool they use). It's not about battering (another tool). It's about doing whatever is necessary to get that "rush" of power they feel when their partner acquiesces to their demands. And if you've ever been involved with someone who is verbally abusive, you know that those demands become increasingly impossible to accomodate.

I thought I was crazy when I was married to Dan. It wasn't until he was out of my life that some semblance of sanity returned.

There's no law in this State against demeaning or insulting your partner, disregarding their feelings, or reminding them of their shortcomings. Victims of this type of abuse can't have their abuser arrested for these behaviors. Yet they gradually kill the spirit of the victim, a little bit every time. The victim eventually believes they deserve to be treated like dirt and that they should be grateful for every little kindness the perpetrator bestows upon them.

Even if law enforcement never becomes involved, help is available. Contact your local domestic violence shelter if you take the quiz and realize you need help.

In Florida, call 1-800-500-1119 to talk with an advocate. Or click here for a list of certified shelters and their local phone numbers.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Best of Blackwell

It was with a bit of melancholy that I monitored Judge Alice Blackwell's injunction hearings this afternoon. At the end of each year, a bit of judge-shuffling is done and Judge Blackwell will be moved from her position as Administrative Judge for the Domestic Court to the felony Violation of Probation division in January.

I first became acquainted with Judge Blackwell in 2006 when she and Dick Batchelor co-chaired the Orange County Domestic Violence Commission's Implementation Group. Her leadership and passion for victims of domestic violence, and for making the injunction court more effective and compassionate in its handling of DV cases, was pivotal to the creation of the much-improved injunction court that Orange County has today.

Prior to the creation of this specialized court in 2007, seven judges would serve one week out every seven as they rotated through the division. Injunction hearings were held in a large, impersonal courtroom on the 4th floor where petitioners would sit on one side of the aisle and respondents the other. It was not uncommon for petitioners and respondents to encounter one another in the halls outside the courtroom, in spite of Harbor House's best efforts to escort petitioners to court.

As one who obtained an injunction in this enviroment several years ago, I can tell you that the process was both terrifying and embarrassing. There could be 2-3 dozen spectators waiting for their own hearings while they watched yours. Nobody wants to have their personal business aired for all to know - particularly when it relates to their intimate relationship.

With the help of Judge Blackwell's leadership on the Commission, Orange County now has a model Injunction Court that other jurisdictions have come to observe. There are separate waiting rooms for the parties and smaller, more intimate courtroom where only the participants involved are present.

Three judges rotate the three main functions. On any given day, 50-75 people file petitions for an injunction in Orange County. A "signing" judge reads those petitions during the day and if they grant a hearing and temporary injunction, they will be the judge to conduct the "return" hearing when it comes to court two weeks later. Their third week is spent doing follow-up hearings (hearing allegations of injunction violations, assuring that respondents have complied with court orders, etc.) and handling any overflow from the "return" hearings.

Because she is so good at what she does, CourtWatch has used Judge Blackwell as the benchmark for all the other injunction judges we monitor. From setting the stage for each hearing (providing the participants with a thorough explanation of the "ground rules" relating to how the hearing will be conducted before it begins) to using excellent fact-finding questions to elicit relevant testimony, to addressing the pertinent concerns of time-sharing of children, the parents' financial obligations and other issues, and doing an excellent job of explaining her ruling, Judge Blackwell consistently scores Above Average to Superb with CourtWatch volunteers.

Her feathers rarely get ruffled and she treats everyone in her courtroom with dignity and respect. Her demeanor sets the tone for everyone in the courtroom, and in spite of the contentious nature of injunction hearings, the parties seem to be better behaved when she is on the bench.

Today was the sort of bittersweet experience for me that one has when you know you won't be seeing someone you respect and admire as often as you're accustomed to seeing them. We wish her well in her new assignment.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Whatever Happened to . . . ? #6

Recent Sex Offender Cases in Orange County

Mark William Green
Sexual Battery (3cts); False Imprisonment
Defendant pled to 2 counts of Sexual Battery, other two counts were dropped. Sentenced to 12 years Department of Corrections to be followed by 8 years sex offender probation.

Eusebio Ortiz
Sexual Battery; Lewd/Lascivious Molestation Upon Elderly/Disabled
Defendant pled no contest and was sentenced to 32 months DOC.

Christopher Cains
Sexual Battery
Defendant pled and was sentenced to 3 years DOC as a youthful offender (he is 20 years old), to be followed by 2 years Community Control and 1 year youthful offender probation. He was declared a sexual predator.

Felix Morales
Attempted Sexual Battery (2cts); Lewd/Lascivious Exhibition; Lewd/Lascivious Conduct
Defendant pled no contest to all 4 counts and was sentenced to 15 years in prison each count (concurrent), was designated as a sexual predator, and to have no contact with the victim or the victim's mother. Judge Latimore gave defendant until 12/30/09 to begin serving his sentence. If he fails to turn himself in on that date, each count will become consecutive, thus giving him a 60 year sentence.

Jerome Wilkerson
Sexual Battery Child<12 yrs old (2cts)
Lewd/Lascivious Molestation (2cts)

Defendant was found guilty by jury on count 1. Other counts were dismissed. Defendant was sentenced to LIFE in the Department of Corrections.

Waldes Derice
Sexual Battery Child<12; Lewd/Lascivious Battery (4cts); Lewd/Lascivious Exhibition
Defendant pled to L/L Battery & L/L Exhibition charges. Sexual Battery charge was dropped. Defendant was sentenced to 20 years in Dept. of Corrections.

Recent Sex Offender Cases in Seminole County

William West
Lewd/Lascivious Battery Victim<12 yrs old
Defendant is a former Seminole County Sheriff's Dept dispatcher who pled no contest. He was sentenced to 365 days in jail to be followed by 14 years of sex offender probation.

Gustavo Barreto
Tamper w/Physical Evidence; Voyeurism
Defendant allegedly swallowed the video card that had images he captured looking up the skirt of a 16-yr old girl at a Target store in Lake Mary. Defendant failed to appear for arraignment on 11/17 and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Possess Material Depicting Sexual Conduct by Child (141 counts)
Defendant failed to appear for arraignment on 12/1 and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Check back for his booking photo - I will post as soon as I receive it.

The following were recently sentenced in Orange County for Failure of Sex Offender to Report

Edward Greggs II
31.5 months DOC
(originally had a child victim)

Nelson Ross Summerall, Jr.
24 months DOC
(originally had a child victim)

Danny R Martin
18 months DOC

Moises Davila
24 months DOC
(originally had a child victim)

Merill Calhoun
24 months DOC
(originally had a child victim)

William Thomas Moore
Sentenced on 12/7/09 to 5 years DOC for failure to report, but was released on ankle monitor until 1/25/10.  Judge A. Thomas Mihok will reduce his sentence when he reports to court in January.
(originally had a child victim)

For more information on any of these defendants, you can search the statewide offender database.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Somewhat Braindead

No, I'm not talking about anyone in the criminal justice system tonight!  :)

I spent the day at UCF attending a conference sponsored by the National Center for Victims of Crime and am a bit overwhelmed by all that I learned. In addition to providing assistance to victims, the NCVC is involved in several legislative initiatives to benefit crime victims.

Their current campaign here in Florida relates to amending the State Constitution to eliminate statutes of limitation (the deadlines for filing legal actions) in cases of sexual battery against children. The current Statute of Limitation for a child sexual abuse case is 7 years after the age of majority (or at age 25), or within 4 years after the victim leaves the dependency of the abuser, or within 4 years from the time of discovery by the victim of both the injury and the causal relationship between the injury and the abuse, whichever occurs later. Since it is not unusual for a victim to not disclose the abuse until 15 or more years after the fact, many victims have no legal recourse because the Statute of Limitations has expired. You can download a petition from Protect Our Kids First in order to get this issue on the ballot.

Prior to this conference, I knew little to nothing about civil remedies that victims of crime had at their disposal. Jeffrey Dion, Director of the National Crime Victim Bar Association, together with three local attorneys presented too much information to digest in one day. These attorneys were not your stereotypical ambulance-chasing lawyers looking to make a quick buck. Each of them truly has a heart for victims and the all-too-often failure of the criminal justice system to provide for the needs of those victims. The NCVBA provides valuable information to attorneys, victims and advocates; attorney referrals to victims; an online database of civil litigation cases; and maintains a list of expert witnesses.

Finally, for a comprehensive source of information about crime victim rights and protections, click here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Grasping at Straws

Last Wednesday I had occasion to monitor what was on the docket for a plea, but morphed into a highly unusual hearing in Judge Marc Lubet's courtroom (it seems as though he's gotten more than his fair share of "highly unusual" cases lately).

James Gilbert (2008-CF-018238-A-O) was arrested December, 2008 for ten counts of soliciting a minor via computer. Gilbert was employed by the Florida Highway Patrol at the time of the offenses. The defendant allegedly had sexual conversations and sent over 600 text messages to a 17-year old girl. Gilbert's ex-wife, an Orange County Deputy Sheriff, was later disciplined for conduct unbecoming a member of the OCSO for intimidating the victim's mother at the mother's place of employment.

In the hearing (which started to look a bit like a circus) last week, Defense Counsel Neal McShane made several serious allegations about a cover up within the State Attorney's Office.
  • He told the Court that the previous Friday some new information had just come to light about an alleged cover up - claiming that the State and FHP conspired to obstruct justice by tampering with the victim. The victim was allegedly told by the State that she did not need to go to the deposition that had been scheduled in a corresponding injunction case (the parties in that case jointly requested a dismissal, having worked out the issues involved with the assistance of their attorneys).
  • McShane also alleged that all of the victim's text messages to the defendant are now missing.  However, Judge Lubet stated that what the underage victim may or may not have texted is not relevant - the defendant is an adult and is therefore still responsible for his messages to her.
Assistant State Attorney Ryan Williams argued that the allegations are without substance because Mr. Gilbert's attorney had no evidence to back them up. His "source" remained unnamed. Mr. McShane requested that Judge Lubet call Assistant State Attorney Sarah Freeman, who handled the case at the time, and William Jay, Counsel for the victim in the injunction case, to testify on the spot. He asserted that if he could just ask them some questions, he could prove his allegations.

Judge Lubet told Mr. McShane that making allegations without knowing the facts is unethical. He would not grant McShane's request at that time.

Ms. Freeman advised that her office will be filing a protective order to prevent her from testifying in the matter and will attempt to quash any subpoena that is issued for a deposition.

Mr. Williams' original offer to the defendant of 90 days jail and 3 years Sex Offender Probation was not withdrawn at this stage of the game (remember, the case was scheduled for a plea - not a hearing where testimony would be taken) because he did not want to punish the defendant because of his attorney's allegations and motions.

Mr. McShane became extremely argumentative with Mr. Williams and angrily yelled at him about some emails he had sent to the State. I couldn't capture it quickly enough in my notes, and must admit that I was a bit stunned to see an attorney behave so badly. I don't remember what else was said.

Judge Lubet, who was in the second day of a jury trial, would not tolerate Mr. McShane's multiple assertions that this was still going to be a plea. He refused to order the victim to be deposed a second time in this case, but granted a second depo of FHP only as it related to the new information.

While waiting for the elevator after the hearing, several observers commented that Mr. McShane's arguments were without merit. I thought he was grasping at straws to further prolong his client's case.

A follow up 90-minute hearing was scheduled for Wednesday, January 6th at 2:00pm.

Click here for WFTV's coverage of the initial arrest.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Whatever Happened to . . . ? (#5)

Maritza Meade & Clarence Lee
Neglect of Child
Meade brought her 6-yr old son to hospital where he died of a closed head injury; co-def Clarence Lee is Meade's boyfriend. Meade was sentenced to 4.5 years probation and ordered to complete a parenting class. Lee also pled to Neglect of Child and was sentenced to 88 days jail with credit 88 days time served, 5 years probation, and 80 hours community service.

Tangela Key
Aggravated Manslaughter of Child; Neglect of Child Causing Great Harm
Defendant's 13-yr old son is accused of fatally beating his 8-yr old brother to death after being left to babysit him in September, 2007. She was sentenced this week to serve 1 year in jail (work release program) + 9 years probation. Click here for WFTV's report.

In July, 2009 Key pled to Disorderly Conduct (offense date June, 2009) and was sentenced to 45 days jail.

In August, 2009 Key pled to a Robbery charge stemming from an arrest in October, 2008. She was sentenced to 24 months probation, seek/maintain employment, complete an anger management class and to have no contact with her victim.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Best of Kest

In spite of an earlier disastrous injunction, Judge Sally Kest's manner of conducting injunction hearings has not improved. With several new volunteers doing their "on the job" courthouse training, I've had several opportunities to observe Judge Kest this week.

Click here to view what CourtWatch looks for when monitoring an injunction hearing.

Disclaimer: The written word inherently has its limitations when one tries to convey another person's demeanor and tone of voice. However, I'll give it my best shot.

The new volunteers, none of whom had observed an injunction hearing before today, thought that Judge Kest was rude and condescending to both petitioners and respondents - particularly when they failed to grasp what the proper protocol is for testifying, eliciting testimony from witnesses or the other party, or for introducing evidence. They were astounded that the judge resorted to raising her voice (some called it yelling) in order to command attention. Some remarked that she frequently interrupted when someone attempted to answer her question. She rolled her eyes and was impatient.

In addition to the above, there were several issues (from these hearings and from previous weeks) that CourtWatch believes are indicative of an immediate need for correction:
  • Failing to "set the stage" for explaining the process to the participants.
    [Another judge, after explaining the process and assuring the Respondent that issues of child visitation and the return of personal property will be addressed, frequently avoids an evidentiary hearing because the Respondent doesn't object to the injunction]
  • Expecting the participants to understand what hearsay testimony is and why it is not admissable - and then yelling at them after they've been told they can't testify about what someone else told them
  • Calling witnesses into the courtroom before the parties have laid any foundation for their testimony
  • Expecting the participants to ask questions of the other party that will get to the heart of whether or not their situation meets the legal requirements for an injunction
    [All communication should be between the judge and the parties - they should not be permitted to directly address one another. Additionally, the judge should not expect them to know what elements need to be proven - she should ask the questions]
  • Frequently specifying an agreed upon McDonalds or other restaurant for the exchange of children
    [I wonder how thrilled McDonalds' attorneys are about the potential liability if an "incident" occurs]
  • Failing to designate a third party to serve as go-between for child-related communications
  • Sometimes permitting direct contact via text/email between parties if it relates to children
  • Failing to set up visitation schedules and/or temporary child support
  • Interrupting people when they attempt to answer questions she has asked
  • Interrupting the interpreter when he/she is attempting to do their job
  • Lapsing into "legalese" which most participants do not understand
Injunction hearings, because the parties have a great deal of "baggage" with one another, are without a doubt one of the most challenging hearings to conduct. It is not unusual for people to want to tell the entire tale of their relationship, going back to the day they met. They are wounded and they come to the courthouse seeking a cure to their situation.

Many are terrified to be in the same vicinity of the person against whom they've sought an injunction. They shouldn't have to be terrified of going before a judge. For some, I suspect that being in Judge Kest's courtroom rises to the level of traumatic.

Imagine for a moment if the judge who was hearing your case raised their voice and said "This is a court of law . . . rules apply . . . does everybody understand that?!?!?" I imagine it feels like you've stepped into the middle of a football field without ever having seen the game before or been told how it's played, been given the ball, and told to run (and then getting tackled when you try to do what you're told).

Or imagine, as you try to answer a question posed by the judge with a loud and sharp tone, being interrupted with "Ma'am. . .  ma'am" or "Sir . . . sir" and then being admonished about the fact that there are these "rules." The judge then refuses to listen to your reply because you don't abide by the "rules" that you've never been taught.

If Judge Kest treated the parties with more respect and took 2-3 minutes at the beginning of a hearing to coach everyone about the "rules," I daresay the process would be much less painful for everyone in the courtroom.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Anger Management vs. BIP

We've often talked about the Batterer's Intervention Program (BIP) as being the appropriate counseling for perpetrators of domestic violence and that an Anger Management class is not recommended. The following information from the November 2009 Office of the State Courts Administrator highlights the differences between the two programs. For more info, click here.

Experts in the field of domestic violence have long considered BIPs to be best equipped to handle the needs of batterers. Anger management programs are sometimes utilized in place of BIP. While excellent at what they are designed to do, anger management programs do not generally meet the needs of most batterers. The following chart was provided by Department of Children and Families (DCF) as a helpful reminder of the differences between anger management and BIP.

Anger Management (AM) vs. Certified Batterer Intervention Program (BIP)

Are programs state certified?
AM: No
BIP: Yes. Certification is granted by the Florida Department of Children and Families, Domestic Violence Program Office.

Who is served by the programs?
AM: Perpetrators of stranger or non-intimate violence
BIP: Specifically designed to work with perpetrators of intimate partner violence.

How long are the programs?
AM: Usually 6-20 sessions, with an average program lasting 10 sessions (Typically Orange & Seminole courts order an 8-hr anger management class). 
BIP: Mandated by Florida Statute at 29 weeks which includes a minimum of 24 sessions, assessment, intake/enrollment and orientation.

Do programs contact victims?
AM: No
BIP: Yes. By letter when the batterer enrolls and is discharged from the program. If the offender makes known threats toward the victim, the program will contact the victim and the proper authorities. The victim is provided with local referral information.

Are programs monitored by a state agency?
AM: No
BIP: Yes. By the Department of Children & Families, Domestic Violence Program Office.

Are programs linked with a battered women's agency?
AM: No
BIP: Not directly. Letters to victims contain contact information for local certified domestic violence centers. Certified batterers programs are encouraged to establish relationships with their local certified centers and many have fostered that relationship.

Do programs assess batterers for lethality?
AM: No
BIP: Yes. While not a prediction model, certified assessors conduct an assessment which includes questions which reveal how potentially lethal a batterer may be - such as if he owns a gun, has a history of intimate partner violence or has been convicted of other violent offenses.

What is the emphasis of the intervention?
AM: Violence is seen as a momentary outburst of anger.
BIP: Physical violence is seen as one of many forms of abusive behaviors chosen by batterers to control their intimate partners. Other behaviors include physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic abuse. Batterer intervention models hold batterers accountable for the violent and abusive choices they make. They teach batterers to recognize how their abuse affects their partners and children and to practice alternatives to abusive behaviors.

Are group facilitators trained about domestic violence?
AM: Subject to agency discretion
BIP: Yes. State standards require that facilitators receive an initial 21 hours of state approved basic facilitator training, 8 hours of substance abuse as it relates to domestic violence, 4 hours of attendance at domestic violence court hearings, 40 hours of victim centered training and 84 hours of co-facilitating with a certified program (may not be completed in less than six months). Twelve CEU's in DV/batterer intervention are required annually thereafter.

How would I address grievances with this type of program?
AM: Talk to the director of the program
BIP: First, talk to the director of the program and second, notify the DCF, Office of Domestic Violence Programs, (850) 921-2168.

For more info, see What Batterer Programs Can & Cannot Demonstrably Do

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Whatever Happened to . . . ? #4

William Edward Allen
Child Abuse, Neglect of Child, Resist Officer w/o Violence; Possess Cannabis

Allen allegedly abandoned his 11-day old son October 13, 2008 in a garbage bag in the woods of east Orange County after an argument with the baby's mother. He pled in February to Neglect of Child & Possession of Cannabis and was sentenced to 114 days in jail with credit for 114 days time served and ordered to complete 4 years of supervised probation, a parenting class, to follow the DCF case plan and seek/maintain employment.

Less than 6 months later, an arrest warrant for violation of probation was issued. He pled in September to violating probation and was sentenced to 1 year and 1 day in the Department of Corrections. The DOC website shows his anticipated release date to be 3/17/10.

Dwight Pinder

Defendant is a Special Agent with US Immigration & Customs Enforcement who allegedly assaulted an ex-girlfriend at her apartment. The State was unable to contact the victim who had no injury (defendant allegedly grabbed her arm).

No Information Notice filed (case was dropped 12/1).

Katie Furtaw
Aggravated Child Abuse

Defendant admitted to biting her 21-month old daughter numerous times. The child subsequently died. Charges were dropped this week due to insufficient evidence, causing the State to determine the case could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.  For more info as reported in the Sentinel, click here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Kudos to Judge LeBlanc

I had occasion to monitor a bond motion in Judge Bob LeBlanc's court today for defendant Darrel Rayford, charged with Burglary, Lewd/Lascivious Battery, Lewd/Lascivious Molestation, and Possession of Cannabis.

Rayford, age 25, allegedly used the cannabis to lure a 15-yr old girl while she was on her way to school. After smoking it, they had consensual sex (though a 15-yr old cannot legally consent). The defense contended that she lied about her age.

Defense Attorney Robert Larr did a good job of eliciting testimony from the defendant's mother about the family's finances (which are minimal) and ties to the community (Rayford recently moved here from Miami, but his mother has lived here 4 years). He requested a $2,500 bond.

Assistant State Attorney Lisa Gong made sure the judge was aware of Rayford's 14 previous convictions for crimes like armed robbery, cocaine possession, burglary, grand theft motor vehicle, trespass, cannabis, resisting officer w/o violence, etc. She indicated that the victim and her mother are very afraid of the defendant (they were not able to be present in court today and were extremely upset that he was seeking a bond).

The defendant actually started to argue with the judge that he did not have 14 convictions - not seeming to understand that each charge counted as one, even though they were consolidated into two or three court cases. The judge was patient but firm as he explained how he could have so many convictions with so few court cases.

Judge LeBlanc expressed great concern for the victim and her mother as he announced his decision. He granted a $26,100 bond and put the defendant on home confinement, ordered that he have no contact with the victim, submit to drug testing, and abide by a 9:00pm to 7:00am curfew. I always thought home confinement meant he was confined to home. I'll look into that further.

Thank you Judge LeBlanc.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chronic Offender Gets $1,000 Bond

Please be sure to read to the end - additional info was made available subsequent to having posted this article. Laura.

Larry Lee Hudson, age 43, has Judge Martha Adams to thank for granting him a $1,000 bond this morning on his newest battery offense against victim KW (this is his 10th arrest since 2005 for having assaulted her).

Let's review his resume.

Hudson has had several assault victims over the years, but KW has been the recipient of the vast majority of his attacks (victim initials are noted next to the date of each arrest below):

[KW] 11/30/09 Battery DV
On his way to jail last night, defendant told the law enforcement officer that he was going to kill the victim. He then quickly added that he was just mad. He had just been released from jail 6 days earlier in case 2009-CF-014180-A-O.
And Judge Martha Adams granted a $1,000 bond??? So he only has to come up with $100 to get out of jail. If this doesn't make you wonder about our criminal justice system's ability to hold perpetrators accountable and insure victim safety, I don't know what does!

[KW] 7/21/09 Aggravated Battery w/Deadly Weapon; Battery
Case dropped 9/21/09 - victim not present for trial
[KW] 3/29/09 Aggravated Battery w/Deadly Weapon; Battery
Pled 8/7/09 to Battery & adjudicated guilty; Aggravated Battery charge dropped. Sentenced to 69 days jail with credit time served.
[KW] 7/29/08 Robbery; Battery
Pled 10/13/08 to Battery & adjudicated guilty; Robbery charge dropped. Sentenced to 78 days jail with credit time served.
[KW] 6/2/08 Aggravated Battery Great Bodily Harm
Pled 11/23/09 and sentenced to 49 days jail with credit time served.

[KW] 3/15/08 Battery
Case dropped 4/11/08 - victim unable to be contacted

[RM] 9/3/07 Cause Bodily Harm or Disability
Case dropped 10/31/08 - victim unable to be contacted

[KW] 9/17/07 Battery
Case dropped 10/16/07 - victim unable to be contacted

[KW] 1/26/06 False Imprisonment; Aggravated Battery w/Weapon; Battery DV
Case dropped 3/1/06 - victim unable to be contacted

[KW] 6/10/05 Battery
Case dropped 7/8/05 - victim unavailable

[KW] 5/23/05 Battery DV
Case dropped 8/1/05 - victim unable to be contacted

[CH] 5/7/04 Battery
Case dropped 6/8/04 - victim unable to be contacted

[MP] 9/22/03 Robbery; Extortion; Battery
Case dropped 3/2/04 - reason unknown

[DR] 9/24/1994 Domestic Violence
Case dropped 11/10/94 - insufficient evidence

This is by no means the extent of Mr. Hudson's involvement with law enforcement over the years. A check of the Orange County Clerk's website (his DOB is 1/24/1966) uncovered the following cases:
3/31/09 Resist Officer without Violence
[45 days jail w/credit 37 days time served]

11/18/08 Possess Controlled Substance; Possess Drug Paraphernalia
[4 months jail w/credit 87 days time served]

4/21/08 Possess/Use Narcotic Equipment
[15 days jail w/credit 1 day time served]

12/30/07 Trespass (Originally charged with Burglary)
[53 days jail w/credit 53 days time served]

4/8/07 Possess Controlled Substance
[4 months jail w/credit 109 days time served; 16 months probation w/ drug evaluation/treatment]
Defendant later admitted to probation violation & was sentenced to an additional 4 months.

11/11/06 Possess/Use Narcotic Equipment
[2 days jail w/credit 2 days time served]

6/10/05 Resist Officer without Violence
[112 days jail w/credit 112 days time served]

2/24/05 Possess Drug Paraphernalia
[25 days jail w/credit 8 days time served]

12/2/09 4:00pm Additional Info from the Court:
     While Judge Adams did give Mr. Hudson a $1000 bond she also put him on Home Confinement and GPS monitoring. He was issued a No contact order with the victim and told that if he violates it he will be brought back to OCJ with no bond at all. Further, he was ordered not to return to her residence and maintain a separate residence. The Judge advised him not to possess weapons or firearms and not to possess or consume alcohol beverages or illicit substances. He is also subject to random testing.
     I should also point out that the standard bond schedule on this offense is $500. Again, bond is designed to ensure that a defendant returns to court and the monitoring and other conditions would go towards ensuring the safety of the victim.

Update on the Dad in Seminole County "Debtor's Prison"

Judge Alan Dickey granted a request yesterday to lower the interest rate on the father's unpaid court costs to 5%. The father is still in Seminole County jail, serving his 90 day sentence for non-payment of his ex-wife's attorney fees. He will not be released until after Christmas.

For more info, see our previous blog posts:

10/13/09: Injustice in a Seminole County Courtroom
8/8/09: One Father's Victimization by the System