Key West lightning strikes: State Attorney Catherine Vogel to convene Grand Jury to investigate death of Charles Eimers; last night’s tough gig, for better and for worse, at Hometown! PAC’s Meet the Candidates festival; plus, U.S. District Court voids 31-year-old Los Angeles ordinance that made living in a vehicle illegal

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Woke this morning to find this in my inbox:

blue paper logo
FDLE INVESTIGATIVE REPORT FINALLY COMPLETE
STATE ATTORNEY SENDS EIMERS CASE TO GRAND JURY
 

Have a great weekend!

Arnaud and Naja Girard

You should be able to get there by clicking on that link.

I submitted this comment:

There were two ways State Attorney Cathy Vogel could have gone at it. Convening a grand jury is one way. Presenting what evidence she wished to present to a local state (circuit) judge is another way, which is how it was done by the state attorney Governor Scott appointed in the George Zimmerman case.

I have had no experience with Val Winters. I know Mark Wilson. He is an experienced prosecutor. He was State Attorney Dennis Ward’s go to prosecutor. I share Ward’s concern, that it may be too soon to convene a Grand Jury. It may be more witnesses need to be interviewed by the State Attorney Office before the Grand Jury is convened. Even so, this is a positive development, because it indicates Vogel is not prepared to wait in the result of an Internal Affairs Investigation. It might indicate Vogel is not thrilled with FDLE’s investigation. If, in fact, FDLE did not interview witnesses it was advised had information bearing on the FDLE investigation, that leaves this former practicing lawyer wondering if FDLE itself should not be investigated by a Grand Jury.

The Citizen’s coverage today of this breaking news includes:

“I’m sure they’re going to get an earful,” said attorney David Horan, whose firm represents the Eimers family. “We have turned over all of our work product … to the state attorney’s office. That definitely has a potential for damaging the civil case, but it’s the right thing to do.”

The Citizen’s article - www.keysnews.com:

Saturday, June 21, 2014 Add to FacebookAdd to Twitter
Grand jury to review Eimers’ death
Reports stay under wraps for a month
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
gfilosa@keysnews.com

Gwen FilosaGwen Filosa

A Monroe County grand jury next month will review all state reports on the death of Charles Eimers, who never regained consciousness after police officers held him facedown in the sand during an arrest Nov. 28, the state attorney said Friday.

“They will be reviewing the entirety of the report and will make a decision on how they’re going to handle it,” said Chris Weber, an investigator at State Attorney Catherine Vogel’s office.

Cathy VogelCatherine Vogel

Prosecutors Val Winter and Mark Wilson have been assigned to the case.

None of the reports compiled by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which examined the Key West police department’s conduct in the Eimers’ case, will become public for at least another month, Weber said.

“It would be unfair to release any of the reports before the grand jury reviews them,” he said.

Those documents include the final autopsy and cause of death as determined by the medical examiner, whose preliminary findings said Eimers had 10 broken ribs.

Grand jurors will meet July 21-23, and the state will call witnesses in to testify.

“I’m sure they’re going to get an earful,” said attorney David Horan, whose firm represents the Eimers family. “We have turned over all of our work product … to the state attorney’s office. That definitely has a potential for damaging the civil case, but it’s the right thing to do.”

Horan said his firm found several witnesses to the Eimers arrest who hadn’t been contacted by police for a statement.

“They heard the conversations, they saw what was happening,” Horan said. “They have no ax to grind. We found people that actually contacted FDLE and they never got calls back. We told them, FDLE, this person is waiting for your call, and they never got back to them. We just submitted two eyewitness statements that had contacted us because they were so disturbed by what they saw.”

Horan said while prosecutors may pick and choose what they present to a grand jury, he is confident jurors will hear from witnesses that weren’t included by FDLE in its report.

Vogel said her office received two large binders and a number of compact discs from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

On Friday, she announced a grand jury will determine whether any Key West police officer will face criminal charges in connection to Eimers’ death.

Vogel’s office on Friday asked that “Anyone with any information that has not given a statement to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement contact the Office of the State Attorney at 305-292-3400 prior to 5 p.m., Monday, July 7.”

Eimers, 61, of Michigan, was taken off life support Dec. 4 at Lower Keys Medical Center at direction of his oldest son, six days after he turned blue while being restrained on South Beach by at least four officers.

Eimers, a General Motors retiree, had just arrived in Key West when a traffic stop on North Roosevelt Boulevard on Thanksgiving morning started a sequence of events that ended with him being arrested on a beach, according to paramedics.

Police reports depict Eimers as appearing homeless in his P.T. Cruiser the morning when he made an illegal lane change and was pulled over, only to drive off before the traffic stop was completed.

Eimers led police to the end of the island, bringing his car to a stop on South Beach, outside the Southernmost Beach Cafe.

A video taken by a bystander shows Eimers slowly raising his hands and dropping to his knees as several officers approach. Within moments on the video, Eimers is blocked from the camera by a cluster of uniformed officers.

For now, the Key West attorneys for the Eimers family say it’s time for the criminal justice system to do its job.

“Sometimes you have to sit back and trust the process will work,” said attorney Darren Horan.

Staff writer Adam Linhardt contributed to this report.

gfilosa@keysnews.com

Yesterday evening, the mayor candidates brought up the rear at Hometown! PAC’s standing room only Meet the Candidates at Studios of Key West. Hometown Chairman Todd German, below,

Todd German

told me when I got there early to set up on a table, mostly my campaign t-shirts, that the mayor candidates would be last, and Mayor Craig Cates would speak first, I would speak second, and Margaret Romero would speak last. But as the event progressed, Todd switched the order so incumbents were speaking last.

When it came time for the mayor candidates to speak, Todd called me up first, saying I probably had run for office more than anyone but Andy Griffiths, who is on the School Board. Taking the microphone from its holder, I said I had run 8 times down here, maybe more times than Andy had run.

I had known since waking from a nap dream earlier in the afternoon what I was going to cover. But, after listening to circuit court judge candidate Don Barrett tear up incumbent Mark Jones, without stating anything to justify the attack, I did not feel I could let that pass, since the angels had put me into Mark’s camp some months ago.

I said something like, “Because I’m a journalist, because I’m a lawyer, because I’m a troublemaker” … laughter in the audience … “I get slipped stuff, and someone in this room who ought to know told me that the Acevedo people are backing Don Barrett. That’s something you need to know.”

Looks on some faces in the audiences indicated the owners of those faces were not pleased I had said that.

The Acevedo scandal rocked the entire Florida Keys community back in 2008. Randy Acevedo was our elected Superintendent of Schools. His wife, Monique, worked under him in the school district. She gained access to school funds and stole hundreds of thousands of dollars. When Randy finally was told about it by someone under him, he did nothing. Eventually, Andy Griffiths reported it to State Attorney Dennis Ward’s Office.

As I recall, Randy and Monique both were indicted by a Grand Jury convened by Dennis Ward. Both cases were assigned to Mark Jones. By and by, Randy was tried and convicted, and then was put on probation. Monique later pleaded guilty and got 8 years. Great resentment arose among friends of Randy. Resentment toward Dennis Ward for prosecuting Randy. Resentment toward Mark Jones for sentencing Randy. Ward was defeated in 2012 by Vogel, because of the Acevedo camp backlash. Now the Acevedo camp is going after Jones.

When I told Don Barrett at Hometown’s Call to Candidate last April 21 what I had been told the Acevedo camp was up to, Don said he had not heard of it. I said he now knew about it. He said it was not his doing. I said he was getting the benefit of it anyhow, and it was relevant to the campaign for that judge position.

This morning, Todd German told me on the telephone that a number of people told him last night that they didn’t like what I’d said about the Acevedo camp backing Barrett. I said, the people backing Barrett didn’t like it.

Not all faces in the audience, when I said it, seemed distressed. To the contrary, some faces seemed interested.

Even so, I wished it had not come up, because it cut into my time saying what I had been primed to say in 2 minutes, which was the amount of time each candidate had to speak. Although, the first candidate, Holly Raschein, our state representative, who got reelected because nobody filed to run against her, spoke for 5 minutes. She spoke first. That opened the door for every candidate behind her to take more than 2 minutes.

During the rest of my 2 minutes, I said something like, “While I’m on legal stuff …” and I went into the Charles Eimers case, as follows:

After giving the blue paper credit for breaking the case, I gave the angels credit for enabling the blue paper to have the case to break. Starting with the angels providing a bystander to shoot a video of what really happened at South Beach, which contracted what the police said happened there. Then, the angels stopped Eimers’ body from being cremated, so an autopsy could happen. Then, the angels, as reported in the blue paper yesterday morning, had provided an eye witness who had said at the scene that the cops had just killed a man, and then the cops had told the witnesses to be quiet about what they’d seen and did not interview the witnesses.

I said, people give me a hard time for talking about angels, but there is the proof they are involved in the Eimers case.

I said, the angels became interested in Key West because of its official one human family creed, but homeless people are not part of that one human family – I know that for a fact, because I was homeless in Key West. I said, the angels also are interested because Jesus was homeless.

My 2 minutes up, I said I was going to take a little more time, because other candidates had taken more time. I was told to wrap it up quickly.

I was spacing out the 4th thing the angels had done to help the case along, which was providing a witness, who was a friend of one of the cops, who had bragged that he had elbowed the bum in the back of the neck. And that the bum was thought to be homeless. And for that reason, the bum died that day. I felt terrible later for having not been able to remember that.

And, for not saying, David Horan, the lawyer handling the federal lawsuit for the Eimers family, had known that cop since he was a little boy. They were close, it tore him up, Horan had told me, but he felt he had to take the case.

The case the angels arranged to be sent to him.

I closed with something like, “Because the mayor and city commissioners had expressed no remorse, because they had not apologized to the Eimers family, I told them at a city commission meeting that they ought to resign.”

On the way back to my seat, I saw faces nodding YES. I saw disturbed faces. I saw displeased faces.

Margaret Romero, below, came next.

Margaret Romero

She said nothing about the Eimers case.

Craig Cates, below, followed her.

Mayor Cates

He said nothing about the Eimers case.

The event ended.

Mike Mongo, left in photo below,

Sloan and Mike

came over to me and said, “Tough gig, yours.” I said, “It’s easy to talk about what’s nice, going okay.” Mike said, “You are for better and for worse.” I said, “The good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. The candidate forums will be intense.”

This morning, Todd German told me on the telephone that several people told him after I spoke last night, that the Eimers case is important. Todd said he knew last night that Cathy Vogel was going to the Grand Jury.

I didn’t know anything about that until I woke up this morning and saw more of the angels’ handiwork in the blue paper and in the Citizen.

Todd said Hometown’s you tube video of last night’s event should be available online later today. I will post the video’s link when I have it. Seeing and hearing always is better than reading a report, although a report can fill in back stories seeing and hearing do not necessarily reveal.

Sloan empire  t-shirt

I gave away maybe a dozen campaign t-shirts last night, most were mediums. I had 25 mediums and 25 X-larges made by the T-Shirt Factory in Key West. Anyone wishing to buy one can do so there, $5 a shirt, plus shipping costs for out of town purchases. They will not run an order until they have 12 shirts ordered by one or more purchasers. Here’s how to reach them:

305-292-2060  kwshirts@yahoo.com

Pedaling my bicycle home from Studios of Key West last night, I thought maybe I will wear a fresh new, or washed, X-large each day until the election on August 26. There will be a walking billboard – me.

Sloan empire  t-shirt lge

Ciao maim,

Sloan Bashinsky
keysmyhome@hotmail.com

Political advertisement paid for and approved by Sloan Bashinsky, for Mayor of Key West, aka “southernmost the nut house”

Vicious van dweller criminal Post-Script:

Lurking in the wings, this sailed into my email account yesterday.

Court overturns Los Angeles ban on living in cars

Associated PressJune 19, 2014 Updated 5 hours ago

Vehicle Sleeping Law

FILE – This June 4, 2008 photo shows Darlene Knoll, 53, resting in the sleeping area of the battered 1978 motor home where she lives in Los Angeles. A federal appeals court on Thursday, June 19, 2014, struck down a 31-year-old Los Angeles law that bars people from living in parked vehicles, saying the vaguely written statute discriminates against homeless and poor people.

 — A federal appeals court on Thursday struck down a 31-year-old Los Angeles law that bars people from living in parked vehicles, saying the vaguely written statute discriminates against the homeless and poor.

The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals involved a 1983 law that prohibits the use of a vehicle “as living quarters either overnight, day-by-day, or otherwise.”

The court said the law was unconstitutional because its ambiguous wording does not make clear what conduct would constitute a violation and “criminalizes innocent behavior.”

The decision came in a case brought on behalf of four people who were cited and arrested in the Venice area by Los Angeles police officers who concluded the numerous belongings in their RVs and cars meant they were violating the law.

“Is it impermissible to eat food in a vehicle? Is it illegal to keep a sleeping bag? Canned food? Books? What about speaking on a cellphone? Or staying in the car to get out of the rain?” Judge Harry Pregerson wrote for the panel. “These are all actions plaintiffs were taking when arrested for violation of the ordinance, all of which are otherwise perfectly legal.”

The officers were part of an LAPD homelessness task force charged with enforcing the ordinance in response from community complaints about people living in their cars.

The panel’s ruling overturned a lower court judge who had sided with the city and dismissed the case without a trial.

Carol Sobel, the lawyer for the three men and one woman who sued to overturn the law in 2011, said Los Angeles’ ban on living in cars was exceptionally broad. One of her clients was cited while waiting outside a church that served meals and another while driving her RV through Venice on her way to sell her work at a local art fair.

Even so, the ruling might force other western cities within the 9th Circuit’s territory to amend statutes that outlaw sleeping in vehicles, Sobel said, citing the city of Palo Alto as an example.

“People living in their vehicles is one of the great unidentified homeless groups in this country — formerly middle-class people who lost everything during the recession and are trying to maintain the appearance of stability so they can go to work,” she said.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, whose office defended the law before the 9th Circuit, said the city would not appeal. Instead, Feuer said he would work with other officials to write a replacement ordinance “that respects both the rights and needs of homeless individuals and protects the quality of life in our neighborhoods.”

“We need to make a break from the past, recognize that the civil and criminal justice systems alone can’t effectively address homelessness, and commit ourselves to grappling with the issues that create homelessness in the first place,” he said.

Pregerson did not make clear in the panel’s opinion what, if anything, city lawmakers could do to make the law pass constitutional muster.

“The city of Los Angeles has many options at its disposal to alleviate the plight and suffering of its homeless citizens,” he wrote. “Selectively preventing the homeless and the poor from using their vehicles for activities many other citizens also conduct in their cars should not be one of those options.”

About Sloan

Darn, that would take a while. Try the autobiographical pages in the header. Ditto for header menu pages at www.goodmorningbirmingham.com. Hatched and raised there, eventually I ran away from home. Here's a short list: Born 1942; male; single; accused of all sorts of imaginable and unimaginable things, perhaps some true. Live on Key West of Weird asteroid. Publish something most days on this website, been at that since July 2007. That's heaps of catch-up reading, probably not recommended.
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