Friday, December 12, 2008

Press Echoes Call for Investigation into Brevard

Florida Today, a newspaper out of Brevard County with a daily circulation of 80,000, echoed our call today for Governor Crist to investigate the systemic corruption in the Brevard County State Attorney's Office and Sheriff's Office. The paper quotes James Russo, the local Public Defender, who is also calling for an inquest:

"I have read the comments of our state attorney and the continued attempt to justify the shameful decision-making in this case," Russo said during an afternoon news conference. "This is a case where lawful evidence never existed in the first place."

Florida Today lists dog handler John Preston's now discredited, but alarmingly prolific, testimony in the County as the main impetus for an investigation. The paper also correctly notes that Preston's chicanery, which came to light in Brevard, stretches beyond the borders of that county to all of Florida. "Preston, proven to be a fraud, testified in hundreds of Florida cases, including three in Brevard County that have been overturned: Dillon, Wilton Dedge and Juan Ramos." (The current State Attorney who is refusing to cooperate with calls for an investigation, Norman Wolfinger, was a former defender who helped to clear Ramos and discredit Preston.)

The Innocence Project of Florida had previously produced this video about John Preston, including footage from a 20/20 exposé that aired in the mid-1980's.

More good reasons to appoint a special prosecutor exist, of course, including "a jailhouse snitch and an investigator who slept with a key witness in the case."

Dillon's case and others like it point to rampant collusion in Brevard County between the Sheriff's Department and John Preston. Gilbert Goshorn, a former Brevard County Judge, designed a test in 1984 to determine whether Preston's dog could do what it purported to do. When it failed the test, Goshorn concluded "that the only way Preston could achieve the results he achieved in numerous other cases was having obtained information about the case prior to the scent-tracking, so that Preston could lead the dog to the suspect or evidence in question." We have every reason to believe a criminal conspiracy exists there, and that innocent people are in jail.

Dillon himself added, "It's not about justice for some people. It's about convictions." Then, tapping a seemingly endless well of empathy, he said, "I feel their pain. I'm not angry. This is compassion, sadness."

Florida Today also ran an editorial today using stronger language and calling for the Governor to investigate. "Prosecutors’ mishandling of the cases along with actions by the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office fol­lows a pattern of possible criminal behavior that can no longer be swept un­der the rug."

Preston had testified in countless other cases in Florida, while we know he was an utter fraud. How many times did his testimony put away an innocent person? Public confidence in the hundreds of other cases in which Preston testified has evaporated. Florida Today conlcudes, "[Governor Crist] must act at once to bring those responsible for this and other such tragedies to justice."

  • Florida Today editorial, "Our views: Probe the corruption"
  • Florida Today article from today, "Defender Demands Probe of Office"

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Anonymous said...

the brevard county criminal court system is and has been a prosecute and never investigate corrupt system, it's so corrupt, that it's basically a club. members are attornys and judges, they make money off of this corruption and they silence those that have been wronged by their obvious corruption by holding kangaroo kourt....i was on the verge of exposing this and my lawyer through me under the save his membership in the club

victim said...

Whoever does the investigation should note how many DUIs of the mid-1990s were due to a .15% blood alcohol level.
I got pulled for a burnt out taillight in 1995 after drinking ONE BEER. The State Trooper smelled the beer and asked me to perform a field sobriety test, which I did. He said I passed the test, but he wanted to take a breath test. I said, "No problem". Two Deputy Sheriffs drove me out to a power generator station and gave me the test. I blew a .15.
I went to the States Attorneys Office and requested all the information they had on the testing equipment. They told me that information was not available to the public. I called (then) Governor Bob Graham who in turn called their office. They reluctantly gave me paperwork to File For Discovery, which I did.
According to the equipment manual, if the machine is used within 50 feet of a power source, such as a generator, it would register a .15 "even if the subject had zero blood alcohol content".
I got to see my Public Defender for the first time fifteen minutes before the trial. He had been on vacation. He asked me how I got all the information I had. He told me I was going to jail if convicted. In walked seven State Troopers and two equipment "experts" to tesify against me. I had no choice but to accept a plea bargain.
The whole ordeal cost me my job, my girlfriend. and a couple thousand dollars in time and fines.

Anonymous said...

I am now going to court over a dui 2.!sr one reduced to recless driving. now i have a public defender that says that it will depend on my sobriety test I blew 00 8 times and failed the sobreity feild test do to an injur that I informed the officer Harris that I would never pass do to the injury,I repeated this informatio 3 times to himthen they hauled me to the cocoa police stationto do my urine test which i passed in florida it is 4 to 9 mine was 8.After the urine test the put me in the Sharpes jail that should be called hell on earth.The injusties there is unbeleiveable/Your treated as you are a coch roach about to hatch its eggs.This system is totally corrupted. I understandd that Sharpes is under investigation and sure hope it is true and they are found quilty themselves.I wont go into it just now.Just beleive me you wish you were dead by the time they berate and torment you and the food is uneatable.Imagine 16 boiled eggs opened in one room the odoer will make you sick if you aren't already.Totally disgusting.I say investigate the jails without their knowledge and find the truth.
My second DUI is caused forom a car with no headlights ion and changed into the left lane that I was entering and apparantly someone called and said there was a drunk driver onthe road,It was 7:45 p.m. and dark out plus bushes and trees hiding oncoming traffic.
I get to the next intersection and the light is yellow the car that had no lights on decided when he saw police he came to a sudden stop which made us kiss bumpers.
Then as I said that is when the policve did their thing and let him go.Imagine that???? So to all of you out there don't beleive the police the have pockets that need to be filled and favors they are owed or owe. Never trust the police/Annomous sincere.Oh I just just left my job of a swithboard operator and 10 minutes later I am quilty of dui 2 cna youjust imagine this.WOW it took me totally by surprise God Bless and Good luck with the system.Remembe police are human too.

Joseph Kirk said...

judges and lawyers conspire in brevard county know who judges previously practiced law with that stand in their court with victims unknowing of the clear conflicts