Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Whatever happened to. . . ? #27

Brian Richard Kloosterman
Aggravated Child Neglect
Defendant's nanny videotaped him allegedly abusing an adopted son.  Defendant pled 3/30/09 & was adjudicated guilty & sentenced to 2 days jail + 2yrs probation
Probation was terminated on 10/11/10 by Judge Wallis.

Rosalind Louie Watts-Kinsler
Aggravated Assault w/Deadly Weapon
Defendant allegedly armed herself w/a sword, confronted her boyfriend at a friend's home - the friend pointed a gun at defendant who hit his hand & accidentally shot defendant's boyfriend, killing him.
Jury found defendant guilty. Judge Komanski sentenced defendant to 87 days jail w/credit for 87 days time served, 5 years probation & 125 hours of community service.

Jose Concepcion
Lewd/Lascivious Molestation; Sexual Activity w/Child
Defendant originally was charged w/600 counts of sexual crimes on a child, pled 8/02 to 4 counts and was sentenced to 5y DOC + 10y probation.
Defendant pled 10/19/10 to violation of probation and was sentenced by Judge Blackwell to 25 yrs in the Department of Corrections.

Patrick Laster
Defendant has 48 priors in Orange County & is also charged with violating terms of release of this case (see 2010MM9329).
Jury found defendant guilty. Judge Murphy sentenced him to 5 days jail with credit for 5 days time served, 259 days probation, Batterer's Intervention Program. Victim did not want defendant to go to jail.

Hernan Jose Lara
Unlawful Possession of Materials Depicting Sexual Performance by Child (50cts)
Defendant pled no contest to all 50 counts and was sentenced to 5 years DOC with 4 years suspended, 24 months community control, 3 years sex offender probation, psycho/sexual evaluation, no computer or internet permitted, no contact with any child under 18 years old.

King Solomon Ware
Sexual Activity w/Child (2cts); Lewd Act Upon Child; L/L Molestation
Jury found defendant guilty of all counts. Judge McDonald sentenced defendant to LIFE in DOC.

Edward McClain Jr
Attempted 1st Degree Murder
Defendant allegedly doused his girlfriend w/lighter fluid & threatened to set her on fire
Defendant pled no contest, was adjudicated guilty and sentenced to 154 days jail with credit for 154 days time served, 5 years probation, 100 hours community service, undergo substance abuse evaluation, Batterer's Intervention Program, and have no hostile contact with anyone.

Kelvin Jones
False Imprisonment; Tamper in Misdemeanor Proceeding; Sex Assault Victim 16-17y old
Defendant allegedly attacked a 16-yr old in his apartment after she refused his demands for sex
Case was nolle prossed (dropped)

Estery Jean Baptiste
Defendant pled to highlighted counts below and was sentenced to 17 years DOC with credit for 2 years 64 days time served:
  • 2008-CF-016490-A-O
    Home Invasion (2cts); Burglary (4cts); Kidnapping w/intent to inflict harm/terror (2cts); Sexual Battery w/Deadly Weapon (2cts); False Imprisonment (2cts)
    co-defendant Zens Alisma scheduled for trial 1/24/11 & co-defendant Georges Laguerre pled 3/25/10
  • 2008-CF-016720-B-O
    Burglary (2cts); Robbery w/Firearm (2cts) (1ct); Aggravated Battery w/Deadly Weapon (2cts) (1ct); Aggravated Assault w/Deadly Weapon (3cts); Theft co-defendant Zens Alisma scheduled for trial 1/24/11 & co-defendant Dondiel Flowers pled 4/5/10
  • 2009-CF-003699-B-O
    Robbery w/Firearm (2cts) (1ct) ; Sexual Battery w/Deadly Weapon co-defendant Zens Alisma scheduled for trial 1/24/11 & co-defendant Georges Laguerre pled 3/25/10

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Contemplation

As you take time over the next few days and weeks to enjoy your family and friends, please remember that the holidays are not joyous times for many in our community. There are people - perhaps yourself, your friends, neighbors, co-workers, or members of your congregation - that are struggling. Bereavement, financial woes, health concerns, and relationship issues are some of the things that can conspire to rob us of our joy at this (or any) time of the year.

An attitude of gratitude doesn't just happen. When we are intentional in developing it, an amazing thing happens. Joy returns to our lives. When we take the time to reach out and help others - whether it's with our time, talents or money - our own lives are enriched.

I am truly thankful for the opportunity to help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse through CourtWatch. And I am thankful for those of you who have supported our efforts with your time, expertise, and financial support.

I received this email from a victim of domestic violence who had a hearing this week after I told her CourtWatch would be attending:

Thank you so much, you know very well what your support means to me. Please help me to pray for the best.
Yesterday I stopped by Harbor House's office before leaving the courthouse to go about the many errands that needed to be done in order to prepare for our family's Thanksgivinig feast. As I was wishing the staff and volunteers a Happy Thanksgiving, I noticed a solitary woman, perhaps 40 years old, sitting quietly alone in the waiting room. One eye was swollen shut from an obvious beating she had recently received.

I assume she was waiting to find out if the judge was going to grant her request for a hearing and provide a temporary injunction.

As I walked to my car, thinking of her plight, I wished I had thought to invite her to our family's dinner. For the umpteenth time, I realized that I could have very easily been sitting where she was. And I thought about how much harder it is to leave a relationship during the holidays.

I'm told that victims often don't seek shelter in the days immediately preceding a holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas. The desire to keep one's family intact is strong. Yet Harbor House's waiting room told a different tale.

It reinforced for me how valuable our program, as well as other advocacy organizations that serve victims of family violence, are to the community.

I encourage everyone to invest in the work that CourtWatch does so that we can continue to be a reassuring presence in the courtroom for victims. If everyone on our mailing list donated just $25, we would be able to fund a part-time volunteer coordinator for one year.

There's much about which we can be thankful. Please take the next few minutes to view this video of a song by Josh Groban and decide how you can be the change in your own circle of influence.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Threat Assessment 101

It warms my heart when a judge expresses great concern for a victim in a high lethality situation.  And when he or she keeps the no contact order in place even when the victim asks to have contact.

Last week, CourtWatch monitored the request of Neil Abraham Ramroop to modify his bond and allow him to have contact with his victim, the mother of his two children (2 1/2 years and 10 months old).

The defendant was arrested on 10/14/10 for kidnapping, robbery, domestic battery, and tampering with a victim/witness to hinder communication with law enforcement. Mr. Ramroop allegedly abducted his victim as she was leaving a night class at Valencia State College, threatened to stab her in the neck and up her nose with a pen as he was taking her to his car, stole cash and her cell phone, and threatened to kill her. He allegedly drove her to their apartment, battered her, and ultimately returned her to the VCC parking lot. Throughout the ordeal, he repeatedly abused her verbally. He also stated, "You think a restraining order will stop me? I'll find you, I'll kill off your family one by one" and "I'll leave a bloody mess for you to clean up."

In addition to requesting contact with the victim, Mr. Ramroop requested that his GPS monitor be removed because the cost ($84/week) was a hardship due to his unemployment.

The victim, a very petite woman who sought an injunction immediately after the incident (which was later dismissed due to her failure to appear), testified that she is no longer afraid of the defendant. Judge Rand Wallis asked her several probing questions about their children and any prior incidents. He read an email that the assigned prosecutor, Pamela Smith, sent to the Court about how high the defendant scored on the lethality indicators test (Ms. Smith had a colleague covering for her in this hearing). The defendant has, on at least one occasion, threatened suicide - an extremely big red flag.

When I hear that, and particularly when there are small children involved, I am alarmed for the victim and their children. Because once someone decides to commit suicide, they have nothing to lose and are much more likely to try to "take their loved one(s)" with them. Or prevent anyone else from "having" their "loved one(s)."

Judge Wallis denied the defendant's motion without prejuduce, stating that he would like to hear testimony from the police officer who administered the questionnaire (which occurred at 3:00 AM immediately after the incident) to the victim in order to more accurately assess her testimony.

CourtWatch commends Judge Wallis and Assistant State's Attorney Pamela Smith for trying to keep this victim from becoming another name on the fatality list that we maintain. If this was school, they'd both get an A+ for the way they handled this case.

It is our hope that Mr. Ramroop's victim in this case will seek counseling from Harbor House as this case works its way through the court system.

To see what a threat assessment questionnaire includes, or to perform your own free domestic violence assessement online, visit the Mosaic Threat Assessment website

If you are in an abusive relationship, we urge you to seek the assistance of a trained advocate at your local domestic violence shelter in order to develop a personalized safety plan. Seventy-five percent (75%) of fatalities occur with the victim attempts to leave an abusive relationship. Most of those victims attempted to do so without a comprehensive safety plan in place.

2/4/11: The State dropped the charges against Mr. Ramroop after the victim declined to participate in the prosecution.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bureaucratic abuse in Orange County

From time to time, CourtWatch comes across cases that appear, on the surface, fairly straightforward. And then we encounter cases that are rather complex. This is one such case. This is the story of one man’s apparent attitude of entitlement and members of the County government that seem to support and perpetuate that attitude.

Farling Rivera, a secretary in the Probation Unit of Orange County Corrections has been married to William Rivera, Manager of Human Resources for Orange County Corrections, for 7 years. They work in the same building and are currently in the throes of a divorce.

On February 1, 2010 the Orange County Sheriff’s Department was called to the Rivera home for an alleged domestic violence situation. Once Mr. Rivera identified himself and his position with Corrections to law enforcement, the deputies chose not to arrest either party and indicated that they believed it to be a situation of mutual combat. Mrs. Rivera subsequently applied for a temporary injunction. Mr. Rivera reciprocated 3 days later. A hearing date was set for March, with no temporary injunction granted to either party.

In March, Judge Bronson denied William’s request to return to the home in order to retrieve additional personal belongings.

A permanent injunction was granted to Farling on June 1, 2010 for six months.

On June 2, 2010, OCSO Deputy Luna served the final injunction on William and told him that he was not to return to their mutual place of employment. Rivera defied the court order the following day by coming to the work address (which was prohibited by the court order) and remaining there, with Management’s knowledge, for approximately 6 hours. When he learned that a deputy was on the way to arrest him for violating the injunction that afternoon, he was aided and abetted by Corrections Management to elude them. He was escorted to a golf cart that quickly took him to his vehicle so that he might evade arrest.

William has returned to the home, which is expressly prohibited by the injunction, on several occasions. He repeatedly told his wife that he was very powerful and that she could not stop him from doing what he wanted. Sadly, it appears as though the County is sending her the same message.

CourtWatch is shocked at the conduct of Corrections managers by their collusion with an employee in his effort to evade arrest. CourtWatch is also disappointed at how the Office of Professional Standards and the County Attorney’s Office have responded to our inquiries relating to the conduct of Corrections management in this matter. We are perplexed as to why the County Attorney, whose job it is to interpret the law and represent the County, has to ask Corrections what they can release to us in response to our public records requests under Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes. Finally, CourtWatch is extremely concerned that there appears to exist either (1) a gross lack of documentation or (2) an effort to withhold information from our organization by the Sheriff’s Department as it relates to the times they were called to the Rivera residence.

Mr. Rivera is clearly well connected with law enforcement in our community. The apparent abuse of power by him and others on his behalf should not be condoned. It would indeed appear as though Mr. Rivera’s position has given him preferential treatment by several County agencies.

A comprehensive timeline of events, and supporting exhibits is available at the links below:
  • Timeline of events
  • Exhibit A: February 1, 2010 police report
  • Exhibit B: June 3, 2010 police report
  • Exhibit G: Memo 6/8 from Sr. Corrections Officer Smedley to Management detailing his concerns regarding their handling of the situation
  • Exhibit I: Response 6/8 from Jill Hobbs, Acting Deputy Chief of Administration
  • Exhibit H: CourtWatch correspondence 6/29 with Commissioner Brummer requesting investigation
  • Exhibit C: CourtWatch correspondence 9/24 - 9/26 with County Attorney's Office
  • Exhibit D: CourtWatch correspondence 9/29 with Office of Professional Standards
  • Exhibit E: Sheriff's Department report 9/30 showing no calls for service all year to the Rivera home
  • Exhibit F: CourtWatch correspondence 10/5 with County Attorney's Office
It should also be noted that only AFTER the media began to inquire about this situation last week, did CourtWatch receive a copy of the 6/8 email from Corrections Officer Smedley to Management that we verbally requested on 8/26. It was made available for pickup 10/12.

A motion to dismiss Mr. Rivera’s criminal case 2010-MM-010839-A-O (violation of injunction) was denied without prejudice on October 11, 2010. The prosecution is in its early stages and a trial date has not yet been set.

CourtWatch intends to not only follow the court cases until they are concluded, but also pursue accountability for the county officials whose collusion with a high ranking Corrections Department official has left his victim in fear for her safety.

Mr. Rivera's next court date is 11/24/10 for a Motion to Modify the injunction in the Domestic Relations case.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

An expensive election

No, I'm not talking about the 2010 general election. I'm referring to the continuing cost to taxpayers of having elected Judge N. James Turner to the bench in 2008.

As I monitored portions of Judge Turner's hearing before the Judicial Qualifications Commission last week, I couldn't help but feel that the manner in which we elect judges is fraught with peril.

Most of the judges that CourtWatch monitors do a good job on the bench. Others have exhibited disrespectful attitudes to the individuals in their courtrooms (yelling at or demeaning the attorneys and/or others from the bench), some seem hesitant to impose sentences that do more than give a little slap on the wrist, and others provide what appears to be "assembly line" justice.

CourtWatch never monitored Judge Turner because he was assigned to Osceola County. However, I did have occasion to witness his performance at the candidate's panel sponsored by the League of Women Voters in 2008. Two comments he made were memorable: (1) he thought he should be elected because he had been in the race longer than any other candidate; and (2) he had the most yard signs.

Perhaps he was simply trying to be amusing. But his remark struck me as flippant. When asked why we should vote for them, most candidates say that they'll be fair, impartial and uphold the law. Sometimes they talk about the crisis facing the court system as a result of budge cuts. Or they may offer ideas about how to improve the juvenile justice system.

Sadly, the majority of citizens know little or nothing about the men and women who have the power to impact individual lives in a profound way - particularly in the Domestic Relations courtrooms.

The Judge Turner investigation, in addition to Seminole County Judge Ralph Eriksson's recent reprimand by the Supreme Court, prompted me to learn more about how someone becomes a judge.

There are two ways that one may become a judge:
  • Any attorney who has been a member of the Florida Bar for 5 years or more may become a candidate for judge (a race costs in the range of $200k to conduct) in the general election (held in even-numbered years). Additionally, they must live in the district in which they plan to serve and must be a registered voter. There is no interview process, no vetting of candidates, no nothing.
  • If a seat becomes available due to retirement or death, a Judicial Nominating Commission interviews candidates to replace that judge. The JNC presents up to 6 names to the governor, who then has 60 days to select the new judge. After serving for a full year, if the new judge wishes to retain their job, they must run for election in the next election cycle.

    Such is the case later this month for vacancy that will soon be left by Judge Cynthia Mackinnon (who does a very good job in our injunction court). The interview process involves completing a 40-page application and providing 3 years worth of tax returns or a net worth statement. The interviews will be held on Tuesday, November 16th and are open to the public. Details here.
Last week, Judge Turner testified that his entire legal career consisted of tax, insurance and employment law. No domestic relations or criminal experience. He worked at four different firms in the first 8 years of his career, until he hung out his own shingle in 1991. He indicated that he was unfamiliar with his responsibilities as judge, and admitted that the work was exhausting and it drained him.   He also appeared to have little to no experience in working with staff.

There was testimony that he had put all his financial "eggs" into one basket (his campaign to win the judgeship) and had no contingency plan if he lost. I imagine this put great pressure upon him. He admitted that as a candidate, he tried to be as "sycophantic" (his words, not mine) as possible. He showed poor judgment in building relationships with, and seeking the support of several political activists for what is supposed to be a non-political race.

Finally, allegations of inappropriate conduct with all four JAs (Judicial Assistants) in the 16 months he was on the bench have been well covered by the media.

CourtWatch believes that all candidates for judge should be subjected to the vetting that is done when filling a mid-term vacancy. A candidate should have experience across a broad range of the law. A candidate should be able to manage their finances well. If this were done, the citizens could at least have some degree of confidence that the individuals on the ballot have met some basic criteria that would make them suitable for the bench.

For most of us, selecting a judge on a ballot is like flipping a coin. Two years ago, citizens in the Ninth Judicial Circuit made a costly choice with their votes. We're continuing to pay the salary of a judge who has been banned from the courthouse and we're paying to investigate the allegations against him.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Coaching boys into inmates

by Carol Wick, CEO
Harbor House of Central Florida

By now, many of you have probably read Mike Bianchi’s column that was in the Sentinel yesterday. That same article was noted by Jeff Schultz, a columnist from the Atlanta Journal Constitution yesterday. But what I find very interesting to the work we do here in Central Florida is not what the reporters wrote but the comments that follow the articles.

ALL of the reporters I know state that they never read the comments and I can understand why. I do. What is really fascinating in this case is the difference between the comments from readers in Atlanta, GA and those in Central Florida. It really helps shine a spotlight on why we have such a high instance of DV here, even more than in Atlanta.

The comments from Orlando are mainly filled with hate, victim blaming, and talk about how women are really the batterers and men are victims. In contrast, the AJC comments are almost wholly supportive of condemning the behavior and the arguments really focus on what they would want if it was their daughter and why coaches are pressured to make decisions to keep players. Many had gone to the Sentinel, listened to the 911 call, learned more about what happened and countered those who had the facts wrong. For the most part, it was a good discourse on why many athletes are allowed to get away with poor and even criminal behavior.

For my part, it left me wanting to answer some of the more outrageous claims that I hear repeated after every DV story, whether it is this one or even a homicide. Here are my responses to the top four issues raised by Central Florida readers.

1. “But he has never been in trouble with the police before”
Most batterers are not brought to the attention of the police until something very serious happens. The man who killed his wife at Publix had never been arrested, neither at several other alleged murderers this past year.

2. “Harbor House won’t even help a man if he is a victim. What about all the men who get victimized by women?”
Harbor House does provide services to men. In fact last year nearly 10% of the adult clients we served were men. We house them in emergency shelter and two are currently living in our community based housing program. 90% of adult victims are female so it is not an excuse for men who batter.

3. “Women commit most domestic violence or at least it’s 50/50”.
Most domestic violence is committed by men. Women are frequently arrested for causing wounds that were purely defensive in nature. This is one reason we don’t want a 100% conviction rate, too many victims get caught in the system. If you only look at arrests, it can be confusing. You only have to look at the homicides by gender comparison to understand that this is predominately an issue that injures and kills women.

4. “All Chris Rainey did was send a text message – he’s a kid – it was nothing big”
Chris Rainey was arrested for Felony Stalking which is a precursor to many homicides. His arrest involved much more than just a simple text message as you can hear in the 911 call below, including a comment to police to the effect of “just wait to see what happens when you leave.” Andrew Allred, the convicted murderer of Tiffany Barwick and Michael Ruschak sent all his threats via text and social networking pages. It is not something that can be ignored.

Listen to the 911 call here.

As Mike and I both pointed out. This is not an issue about one particular coach or one team; this is a societal issue that is all too clearly being played out right here in our own community.

Carol Wick, LMFT

PO Box 680748
Orlando FL 32868

Ph: 407-886-2244 EXT 227 / Fax: 407-886-0006

To learn more about the Coaching Boys Into Men program violence prevention program, click here. Male volunteers are needed to serve as mentors.


Finally, let's not forget this recent high school incident where another coach minimized the behavior of his players:

Mom says Dr. Phillips teammates beat son

Orlando Sentinel, The (FL) - Thursday, September 9, 2010
Author: Susan Jacobson, Orlando Sentinel

Rena Denson was aghast when her 15-year-old son, Darrion, told her that his teammates on the Dr. Phillips High School football team had beaten him up.

Denson drove onto the practice field Tuesday, complained to the principal and called Orlando police, a report shows.

Darrion was treated at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children for a concussion, bruises and scrapes, his mother said. He was punched and choked, had chairs thrown at him, was tossed into a trash can and his wallet containing $30 was taken, she said. The reason, according to a police report: Darrion -- a freshman -- had entered the varsity locker room.

A senior who he told his mother was among the attackers weighs 260 pounds and stands 6-foot-4, Denson said. Her son weighs 167 pounds and is 5-foot-11.

According to Denson, Coach Dale Salapa told her the boys got "out of hand" and "carried away." He also said it's customary for freshmen to enter the locker room through the back door only, she said.

"Well, Coach Salapa, this is not slavery," an incensed Denson told the Orlando Sentinel Wednesday. "No longer [should] I as an African-American or my son not be granted access through a front door."

Salapa said he is not permitted to discuss the incident. Principal Gene Trochinski did not return messages. A district spokeswoman, Shari Bobinski, said officials are working with the police and discipline, if any, will be meted out after officers finish their investigation.

One of Darrion's brothers, Martin Denson, arrived afterward. He said Darrion's glasses and a chain around his neck were broken during the scuffle. He said his brother was on the honor roll.

"His record is spotless," said Martin, 17.

The family moved to Orlando two years ago from Brooklyn, N.Y., for a fresh start. Now, Denson and her husband plan to send Darrion to a private school.

Whatever happened to . . . ? #26

Amy Beth Reich
2008-CF-004012-A-O (Orange)
Arson of Dwelling; Burglary of Dwelling w/Damage
Defendant allegedly set her ex-husband's Windermere home on fire.
This case was transferred to Osceola County in June and a non-jury trial was held earlier this month. Defendant was found not guilty by reason of insanity and ordered to continue living with her parents and take her medications. Defendant was removed from GPS monitoring.

Lauren Gress
2009-CF-004312-A-O (Orange)
Aggravated manslaughter of child; Aggravated child neglect
Defendant allegedly starved her 4-mo old twins & one died. Her older children had no signs of malnutrition.
A jury found defendant guilty of 1 count of culpable neglignece & 2 counts of child neglect. Defendant was sentenced to 85.8 months in prison with credit for 66 days time served.  No probation to follow. WFTV coverage here. Sentinel coverage here.

Psalmai Shaneece Thompson
2010-CF-012055-A-O (Orange)
Neglect Child w/o Great Harm
Defendant allegedly left her 3 children (2 mos to 5 yrs old) in a hot car while visiting her boyfriend at Orange Co jail.
No information notice was filed - case dropped.

Marie St Armond
2010-CF-012908-A-O (Orange)
Aggravated Child Neglect
Defendant allegedly left her 5 young children, including a 4-mo old, home alone while she went to apply for food stamps.
No information notice was filed - case dropped.

Formeka R Sanders
2010-CF-012070-A-O (Orange)
Neglect of Child
Defendant allegedly left her 5 children (ages 4 - 12 yrs old) alone while she went clubbing. The 4-yr old was found wandering at 1:45am in the parking lot of their apartment complex.
No information notice was filed - case dropped.

Daron Nickens
2010-CF-001854-A (Seminole)
False Imprisonment
Defendant allegedly attempted to abduct a 10-yr old girl (charge was originally kidnapping). Defendant has a lengthy juvenile criminal record, beginning at age 9.
Defendant pled no contest & was adjudicated guilty.  He was sentenced to 170 days in jail with credit for 170 days time served, ordered to complete rehab at Teen Challenge, and placed on 6 months of community control to be followed by 4 years probation.  Sentinel coverage here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Whatever happened to. . . ? #25

Danzelski A Hester
Attempted 1st Degree Murder; Aggravated Battery Great Bodily Harm
This was a drug related assault that the defendant allegedly commited just after Judge Michael Murphy gave Hester the option to do 1 year of home confinement instead of 6 months jail for violating probation in 2007-MM-5357-A-O (which was a DV Battery case).
Count 1 was nolle prossed. Defendant pled to Count 2, was adjudicated guilty and sentenced to 24 months DOC with credit for 210 days time served.

William Randle Richardson
Intercept Wire/Oral Communications; Video Voyeurism; Loitering or Prowling
Defendant allegedly videotaped under the skirt of his victim as she was shopping for wedding rings at the Mall at Millenia with her fiance
Defendant pled no contest to Video Voyeurism and was sentenced to 4 days jail w/credit for 4 days time served, placed on probation for 12 months and ordered to complete 25 hours of community service.

Celeste Roberta Meyer
Lewd/Lascivious Molestation
Defendant allegedly molested a 7-yr old girl she was babysitting.
Defendant was acquitted by a jury.

Jermie Nakai Nez
Burglary of Dwelling w/ Assault or Battery; Resist Officer w/o Violence; Tamper w/Witness Hinder Comm w/LEO; Assault; Misues Public Sexual Predator Info; Battery; Threaten Public Servant
Defendant allegedly attacked a registered sex offender (having located him using the web), threatened to kill him, and subsequently threatened to sexually assault the officer's daughter while en route to the jail
Defendant pled no contest to counts 2, 4, & 5, was sentenced to 6 months jail and ordered to have no contact with the victim. The remaining counts were nolle prossed.

Robert Acosta
Attempted Murder, Sexual Battery; Battery on Person>65yrs old; Burglary
Defendant allegedly assaulted a friend's elderly mother who lived down the street from his friend.
Defendant was found guilty by a jury of all counts and sentenced to LIFE in the Department of Corrections.  Sentinel report here.

Tyrone Tarmae Dukes
Sexual Battery WDW; Battery; Kidnap w/Intent Commit Felony
Defendant allegedly used a gun to assault victim at 3:15am as she was walking in downtown Orlando - defendant had previously pled in Volusia to Attempted Sexual Battery and sentenced to probation.
Defendant was acquitted by a jury.

Jonathan E Osberry
Kidnap w/Intent to Commit Felony; Aggravated Assault w/Deadly Weapon; Possess Firearm by Minor
Defendant (age 17) allegedly attempted to rape a 40-yr old woman at a hotel in Winter Park.
Case was nolle prossed.
James Lanzer
Lewd/Lascivious Exhibition
Defendant allegedly exposed himself & performed a sex act in front of children on a Lynx bus.
Defendant is deceased.

Jasmine Clairzimon
2nd Degree Murder
Defendant allegedly shot a man in the chest while he was sitting in the backseat of a car.
Defendant was acquitted by a jury.

Christopher James Henson
Lewd/Lascivous Battery; Impregnating Child <16 yrs old
Defendant (age 28) failed to return to his trial on 4/14/10 after the Court recessed for lunch.
Defendant pled no contest to Count 2 and was sentenced to 5 years DOC with credit for 113 days time served.  Count 1 was nolle prossed.

Lakisha Elaine Pickett
Aggravated Battery w/Deadly Weapon (DV); Criminal Mischief
Defendant allegedly backed a car into her boyfriend during an argument (both were allegedly intoxicated).
Defendant pled to Count 2, adjudication was withheld. Defendant was sentenced to 3 years probation, ordered to undergo a substance abuse evaluation, and to have no contact with the victim.

Shastine Pavao
(not DV) RICO; Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering; Fraud; Theft (8cts)
See our previous blogs about this case.
Defendant pled guilty to Count 2 and was given a suspended sentence of 72 months DOC with credit for 112 days time served. Sentence was suspended on condition that she successfully complete 12 years of probation, pay resitution.
John Pavao pled guilty to RICO & is scheduled for sentencing 11/5/10.
Debra Pavao's passport was returned to her 10/4. No new date yet.

Monday, October 11, 2010

2010 Judicial Poll

Click here for the 2010 Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Judicial Poll.

Not surprisingly, some judges receive significantly different grades from prosecutors and defense attorneys.

Thanks to the Association for publishing this poll for the public.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Whatever happened to . . . ? #24

Wilfred Bowens
Attempted 1st Deg Murder (3cts); Arson of Dwelling
Defendant allegedly burned the home where he was renting a room when the owners asked him to leave after he allegedly made sexual advances toward their daughter.
Defendant was acquitted by a jury.

Bobby-Lamar Marquise Sims
Possess Controlled Substance; Neglect of Child
Defendant allegedly left his 6-yr and 4-mo old children alone w/crack & razor blades within reach. Co-defendant Tiffany Lewis (the mother) is an Orange Co Corrections Officer.
No Information Notice was filed - case dropped/abandoned

Tiffany L Lewis
Neglect of Child; Possess Cocaine w/Intent to Sell; Accessory After the Fact
Defendant allegedly left her 6-yr and 4-mo old children w/crack & razor blades within reach. Defendant is an Orange Co Corrections Officer.
No Information Notice was filed - case dropped/abandoned

Edwin Antonio-Rafael Cintron
2009-CF-017856-A-O (4/1/09)
Sexual Battery; L/L Molestation
Defendant allegedly raped a 13-yr old girl in the dugout at a baseball field
2009-CF-010302-A-O (7/1/08)
2009-CF-008804-A-O (4/15/09)
2009-CF-009034-A-O (6/19/09)
Lewd/Lascivious Molestation Victim 12-15 yrs old (3 counts); Lewd/Lascivious Molestation Victim<12 years old
Defendant allegedly molested several victims during sleepovers at the family home in Conway Oaks in the above cases
Defendant pled to one count in each case and was sentenced to a total of 12 years DOC + 13 years sex offender probation and was designated as a sex predator by the Court.

Albert T Brooks
Aggravated Battery w/Deadly Weapon; Robbery; Robbery w/Weapon
Defendant allegedly tortured sexual predator (Albert Weisman) w/an aerosal can & cigarette lighter because he thought Weisman was an undercover law enforcement officer (Weisman was lured w/promises of a young prostitute).
Case was nolle prossed (dropped).

Lana Pauline White
Aggravated Battery w/Deadly Weapon (DV)
Defendant allegedly shoved, threw a butter knife at, and hit another woman as she was packing to leave their apartment. The victim allegedly threatened the defendant with scissors and knives.
No Information Notice was filed - case dropped/abandoned

Somele Jean Calixte
Aggravated Child Neglect; Possess Firearm by Convicted Felon; Culpable Negligence; Improper Exhibition of Firearm
Defendant allegedly shot his girlfriend's (Arkeisha Perez 2009MM13037) 5-yr old daugther accidentally - victim's mother initially claimed her 4-yr old was the shooter.
Defendant pled no contest to Aggravated Child Neglect & Culpable Negligence and was sentenced to 10 months jail w/credit for 277 days time served; 1 year probation; no weapons; no unsupervised contact with the victim. The victim's mother may not act as supervisor. Perez previously pled to Perjury and was sentenced to 6 months probation and ordered to complete a parenting class.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Whatever happened to . . . ? #23

Christopher Stokes 2010-CF-003094-A-O (left)
Richard Douglas 2010-CF-003094-B-O (right)
Interference w/custody
Defendants allegedly abducted Douglas' 8-yr old nephew at the request of the boy's mother in Oregon & subsequently contacted police to ask if what they did was illegal.
Defendants pled no contest & adjudication was withheld for both. Each was sentenced to 1 day in jail with credit 1 day time served, 24 months probation, complete 100 hours of community service and to have no contact with the victim.

Timothy L Smith 2009-CF-008131-A-O  (left)
Aleisea Nichai Smith 2009-CF-008131-B-O (right)
Get Labor/Svcs by Human Trafficking; Sex Trafficking; Kidnap w/Intent to Inflict Harm/Terror w/Weapon (5cts); Kidnap w/Intent to Commit Felony (2cts); Sexual Battery; Procure Person<18 for Prostitution; Force Another into Prostitution; Derive Proceeds of Prostitution
Defendants allegedly kidnapped a 15-yr old from a bus stop in 2007 and forced her into prostitution.
Timothy pled no contest to Interference with Custody and was adjudicated guilty.
Aleisea pled no contest to one count of Sex Trafficking and was adjudicated guilty.
All other counts were dropped. Both defendants were sentenced to 1 year 14 days in jail with credit for 1 year 14 days time served, given 24 months probation and ordered to have no contact with the victim.

Yehisson Acevedo
Sexual Assault Vic>12 w/special conditions; Larceny; Theft; Burglary w/Assault or Battery
Defendant allegedly raped and robbed a woman after she took Ambien sleep meds.
Acevedo pled to Sexual Battery w/o Bodily Harm & was sentenced to 15 days jail with credit 15 days time served, 8 years sex offender probation and ordered to pay restitution.

Brandon Reed Loverde
False Imprisonment; Battery
Defendant was an OPD officer who allegedly fondled the breast of a lactating woman while working an off-duty detail at Club Firestone.
Loverde pled no contest to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to 1 day jail with credit for 1 day time served and ordered to surrender his law enforcement certification to FDLE.

Luron Edward Pitts
Lewd/Lascivious Molestation Victim<12; Lewd/Lascivious Conduct by Person>17
Defendant is the son of a minister who won the trust of single mothers in his congregation and babysat his victim overnight on five separate occasions. It was during those visits that he allegedly fondled his victim.
Defendant was convicted by a jury and sentenced to 25 years DOC with credit for 115 days time served, lifetime sex offender probation and ordered to have no contact with the victim or her family.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What is wrong with this picture?

Subtitle: The blame game, part 2

It's ironic to me that little Triumph Alexander Skinner's mother, who has a black eye in her mugshot picture, was arrested for Child Neglect today. 

The comments from Sentinel readers, for the most part, show little or no understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence.

Most of the writers expect the victim to be able to just walk away from their abuser. Most of them don't realize how extensively an abuser controls their victim.

It is not uncommon for a victim to enable their abuser to avoid having to suffer any consequences for their behavior.
Per the Sentinel:
"She told investigators that Skinner abused her in the past and she feared him. Investigators noticed bruises on Ford's face, neck and throat. Deputies arrested Skinner later that evening at the family home."

And just a few days later, they arrest her. Michelle Marie Ford has a black eye visible in this mugshot. A bruise is visible on the front of her neck.

This woman is supposed to be able to protect the baby? From the man who gave her a black eye and left bruises on her neck?

What's wrong with this picture?

Suggested Reading:
Love and Stockholm Syndrome: The Mystery of Loving an Abuser (Part 1) (Part 2)
Dr. Joseph M. Carver, PhD