Florida Judicial/Court Corruption Cont.: Mark Adams' Dec. 3 Update
Here is an update about what went on at my hearing on Oct. 19. Thank you again for your help with exposing this scandal and your efforts to inform the public.
Dear Friends, Activists, and Media Reformers:
The hearing in my case on October 19, 2005 before Judge Robert E. Beach went relatively well. As was expected the State Attorney tried several tactics to prevent me from receiving any of the requested relief including claiming that they did not receive notice of the hearing, and as expected, Judge Beach refused to allow the hearing to be videotaped.
The State Attorney did not show up at the time the hearing was scheduled to begin. Judge Beach questioned whether the State Attorney had received notice of the hearing, and I provided a copy of the notice of hearing which had been served via Priority Mail and a copy of the confirmation from the U.S. Postal Service showing that the State Attorney had received notice of the hearing on October 18, 2005 at 8:18 AM. Judge Beach then questioned whether that was sufficient notice, and I pointed out that Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.131(d)(2) only requires that the defendant give the State at least 3 hours notice before a hearing on a motion for modification of bail.
Judge Beach then directed the bailiff to call the State Attorney, Rene Marie Bauer, and tell her to get up to the courtroom for the hearing. Judge Beach then took copies of my motion to reconsider the order for my arrest and my motion for modification of bail back into chambers to review while we were waiting for the State Attorney to show up. Several minutes later, just before the State Attorney appeared, Judge Beach exclaimed loudly enough to be heard in the courtroom, “This is bad!” The State Attorney, Kendall Davidson then appeared, and Judge Beach reentered the courtroom.
Kendall Davidson objected to proceeding claiming that the State Attorney’s office had not received notice of the hearing and that Rene Marie Bauer, the lead Assistant State Attorney assigned to my case, could not be present at that time. Judge Beach ruled that the State had received sufficient notice and that the hearing would proceed.
A citizen journalist who is a member of the Tampa Bay Independent Media Center and of the Tampa Bay Community Network had filed a request to videotape this hearing. Although Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.170(b)(1) provides that at least one portable television camera shall be permitted to record any proceeding in any trial court, Judge Beach had previously refused this journalist’s request to videotape a hearing in this action. Judge Beach had allowed her to videotape an earlier hearing, but then, he threatened to hold her in contempt of court if she provided a copy to anyone before giving him one.
Judge Beach refused to allow the hearing on October 19, 2005 to be videotaped claiming that Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.170 only allows members of the media to videotape hearings although it does not have any such requirement and although Rule 2.170(h) makes it clear that the rule’s reference to media is to the definition of media which is the physical material upon which the hearing is recorded such as film or videotape and not to the definition of media which is the press. I pointed out the definition of media contemplated in the rule and also that the journalist is a member of two media organizations, the Tampa Bay Independent Media Center and of the Tampa Bay Community Network.
Judge Beach then proceeded to question the journalist about her use of the video if he allowed her to record the hearing, and she indicated that she planned to make it available to the local television stations, that she planned to make it available to other journalists who produced shows for public access television, and that she planned to produce a documentary of this case to air on the Tampa Bay Community Network. Judge Beach then commented that until she had mentioned these organizations, he had never heard of the Tampa Bay Independent Media Center or the Tampa Bay Community Network, and he said that he had never heard of public access television.
Judge Beach then asked whether she received any paychecks from the Tampa Bay Independent Media Center or the Tampa Bay Community Network. She replied that these were volunteer organizations, and as such, she did not receive any paycheck from them. Then, Judge Beach said that he did not think that the Tampa Bay Independent Media Center or the Tampa Bay Community Network are legitimate media organizations and that he would not allow her to videotape the hearing because she was not a member of a legitimate media organization as required under his interpretation of Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.170.
No appellate case has ever even discussed the interpretation which Judge Beach is giving to the word media in Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.170, possibly because it is absolutely absurd. However, Florida’s appellate courts have repeatedly required judges to allow hearings to be videotaped. In fact, in Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Lewis, 426 So.2d 1 (Fla. 1982), the Florida Supreme Court cited its decision from 1979 allowing a camera in court, and it stated that public access to the courts is an important part of the justice system because it serves as a check on corrupt practices by exposing the judicial process to public scrutiny and it protects the rights of the accused to a fair trial.
Why would Judge Beach want to keep the public from knowing what is going on in this case? Is he trying to help cover something up? Is it too embarrassing to some of the people in power, such as Judge Crockett Farnell?
The hearing on October 19, 2005 would certainly have been very embarrassing to Judge Crockett Farnell if a videotape of it was available. I showed that Judge Crockett Farnell and Timothy W. Weber, Esquire of the Battaglia firm had violated the Second District Court’s order staying proceedings before Judge Farnell when Weber set a hearing on January 7, 2004 and when Farnell issued an order for my arrest of January 12, 2004.
The State Attorney laughably argued that the Second District Court’s order of February 16, 2004 which falsely claimed that the stay had been lifted by an order issued by the Second District on November 24, 2003 which did not address the stay and which was not even a final order according to Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.020(i) did in fact make the stay disappear retroactively. He also argued that the rules of appellate procedure regarding rendition of an order, motions for rehearing, and stays only being vacated by an order expressly vacating them or by the issuance of the appellate court’s mandate do not apply to petitions for a writ of prohibition even though the rules do not have any such exception and there is no case law to support that position either.
Judge Beach even asked whether the stay was still in effect since the Second District Court had not issued a mandate in Case No. 2D03-4844. It was apparent why Judge Beach had loudly exclaimed from chambers, “This is bad!” However, Judge Beach refused to vacate the order for my arrest as that would have made Judge Crockett Farnell who was recently promoted to Administrative Judge for the Criminal Division of Pinellas County’s Courts look very bad, but Judge Beach did eliminate the $25,000.00 bail that had prevented me from leaving Florida for the last year and a half. In essence, this was the same as vacating the order for my arrest because the bail requirement was the only portion of the order for my arrest which still had any effect because I was arrested and released on bail on February 19, 2004.
Judge Crockett Farnell is certainly worried about this case being brought to the public’s attention. In December of 2004, after learning that Bay News 9 had asked to get a camera in to cover my trial, Judge Crockett Farnell recused himself even though he had repeatedly refused to do so previously.
On October 4, 2005, I deposed Judge Crockett Farnell, and he repeatedly refused to answer questions. Prior to his deposition, Judge Farnell sought a protective order from Judge Greg Holder to prevent me from deposing him, but Judge Holder denied Judge Farnell’s request and ordered him to submit to a deposition and answer my questions according to the law. Judge Farnell also sought to prevent me from videotaping his deposition, but Judge Holder allowed me to videotape it but required me to limit access to the videotape for now.
However, Judge Farnell’s attorney, Elaine New who is Court Counsel for the Sixth Judicial Circuit, submitted a proposed order to Judge Holder which although it did indicate that Judge Crockett Farnell’s request to prevent his deposition was denied, it also provided that I could not inquire into privileged matters which was not what Judge Holder had ruled. In fact, Judge Farnell’s motion had claimed that the judicial privilege prevented me from deposing him at all because he is a judge.
Unfortunately, as is so often the case apparently because some judges believe that an attorney would not submit a proposed order before clearing it with the opposing counsel and that an attorney would not submit a proposed order that would not accurately reflect the judge’s ruling, Judge Holder signed the proposed order which Elaine New submitted with the contradictory provisions, and of course, she did not provide me with a copy before submitting it to Judge Holder.
Now, Judge Farnell is trying to rely on this contradictory order to prevent any further questioning of him. A videotape of the hearing on Judge Crockett Farnell’s motion for a protective order is available for review because Judge Holder allowed the hearing to be videotaped as required by Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.170.
In his deposition on October 4, 2005, Judge Crockett Farnell did answer a couple of questions, and naturally, he lied to try to cover his ass. Fortunately, there are documents which show that his answers are false. In case you did not know, lying in a deposition is perjury.
Judge Farnell is so worried about the possible repercussions from his lies in this deposition, that he has hired the Tampa law firm of Hill, Ward, and Henderson to try to prevent any further inquiry regarding his actions and his deposition. Next week, I will set these issues for hearing before Judge Holder, and I will seek a referral to the State Attorney for prosecution of Judge Crockett Farnell for perjury as well as an order requiring him to answer the numerous questions that he refused to answer and allowing the release of the videotape of his deposition to the public.
If you are interested in learning more about this case, please visit the following links:
Fintan Dunne’s interview with Mark Adams on BreakforNews.com
Visit Teknosis to see the letter to Chief Justice Pariente requesting an investigation of this judicial corruption scandal and appointment of a judge from another area of the state to hear this case.
More coverage of this scandal can be found at the following links:
The Empire Journal Article 1
The Empire Journal Article 2
North Country Gazette Article 1
North Country Gazette Article 2
North Country Gazette Article 10 18 05
Rule of Law info
If you would like more information, you can also reach me at 813-654-1235 or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) . Thank you for your interest in this scandal.
Mark A. Adams, Esquire
P.S. Please pass this email along to your contacts because the more people who know about this scandal, the greater the chance that these corrupt judges will be removed from the bench before they can do any more harm.
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