Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hospice patient gives thanks

The 61-year-old Orlando hospice patient who was arrested for failing to pay an old fine, thanks the community for its help.

A Go Fund Me account established by a resident raised more than $1,200 to pay Larry Thompson’s fines. Nearly three dozen people contributed to the account.

Mr. Thompson suffers from a terminal pulmonary condition and lives on a limited income. He was arrested for failing to pay court fees associated with a 2010 charge of driving on a revoked license.

We’re appreciative that so many people contributed money to help Mr. Thompson. 

What happened to Mr. Thompson is one example of the thousands of low-value arrests of homeless and destitute people who can't afford to pay fines but pose no danger to public safety. Arresting them wastes police and jail resources.

Orlando Sentinel Editorial

Monday, August 10, 2015

Why waste money arresting hospice patient

Orange-Osceola Public Defender Robert Wesley will meet reporters Tuesday at 11 a.m. to call for an end to “low-value” arrests and large court-ordered fines against the homeless and others who can’t possibly afford to pay.

Last week Larry Thompson, a 61-year-old hospice patient, was arrested on a judge-ordered writ for failing to pay court costs related to a 2010 charge of driving on revoked license. Because of Mr. Thompson’s fragile physical condition the jail would not accept him. Instead Mr. Thompson was sent to the hospital under the supervision of 2 jail guards.

Mr. Thompson’s arrest, and others like it, wastes taxpayers money and resources of the police and the jail. Mr. Wesley’s office represents Mr. Thompson.

This March, in the wake of the federal Department Justice report criticizing heavy-handed court-costs and fees in Ferguson, Mo., Mr. Wesley called on local court, law-enforcement and elected officials to review collection practices in Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit. Nothing has happened.

During Tuesday’s press conference Mr. Wesley will detail a common-sense solution to low-value arrests and update reporters on Mr. Thompson’s case.

Press conference location: Plaza in front of the Orange County Courthouse

For more information call David Porter Communications at 407-256-7831

Click to see newspaper article

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Snooping on criminal defense lawyers

How would you like it if the prosecution was allowed to eavesdrop on on your lawyer - client conferences in criminal defense case?
That's actually been happening to lawyers assigned to defend people being detained in the U.S. governments secret prisons at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
U.S. Navy Reserve Commander Walter Ruiz, a Judge Advocate General, discussed this and other abuses during a recent presentation for the Central Florida Association of Criminal Justice Lawyers in Orlando.

Click this link to see a video excerpt from that presentation.