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In April 2006 Charlie Grapski, a University of Florida instructor and doctoral candidate, took time off from his academic career to run for the Florida State House. While campaigning in the city of Alachua (next door to Gainesville, home of the UF) Charlie witnessed a city commission election and joined with others in filing a court challenge to what many considered to be a stolen election.

When Charlie and Michael Canney went to Alachua City Hall to inspect election records on May 1, Charlie was handcuffed and arrested by City Manager/Police Commissioner Clovis Watson (a named defendant in the election lawsuit)on a felony wiretapping charge while seated at a table inspecting absentee ballots.

Read on for the rest of the story...

(continued from Intro)

Charlie was charged for openly recording a conversation he had with Watson at City Hall during his appointment to discuss public records requests. Grapski has since been the victim of numerous incidents of harassment and intimidation, including two more trumped up felony arrests by the Alachua Chief of Police, under the direction of Watson.

Grapski was free on bond pending trial on the third felony arrest (the first was dismissed by a judge and the second was dropped after six months by the State Attorney) when he was arrested on October 12 for a misdemeanor in Gainesville. Even though the "victim" (a friend of Grapski's) explicitly told the State Attorney he did not want to press charges, the authorities have revoked Charlie's bond and apparently intend to keep him incarcerated indefinitely.

Some of you will recognize Charlie as a blogger who posted frequently during the Dean Campaign. This Diary will post updates on Charlie's situation until he is free once again and can post in person.

What's happening now

On November 19, a hostile judge refused to set bail for Charlie, who has lost 40 lb. since being jailed. His court-appointed attorney resigned, citing a conflict of interest (the fourth attorney to do do). Friends and supporters can write to Charlie at this address:

Charles James Grapski
Alachua County Jail
3333 NE 39th Avenue
Gainesville, FL 32609

Letters of concern and support can be sent to:

Judge Phyllis Rosier
Alachua County Criminal Justice Center
220 S. Main Street Room A303
Gainesville, FL  32601
(352) 374-3606 (Phone)
(352) 264-7010 (Fax)

State Attorney Bill Cervone
120 West University Avenue
Gainesville, Florida 32602
(352) 374-3670

The Gainesville Sun
Ron Cunningham (editor)
Letters - Voice of the people

Charlie is now being held without bond and without a defense attorney (the court is supposed to appoint a new one) He and all the other inmates in his cell block filed a formal grievance with the jail about the conditions they have been subjected to.

Transcript of handwritten grievance filed by Charles Grapski and 15 other inmates at the Alachua County Jail

COPY OF GENERAL GRIEVANCE FOR DENIAL OF FUNDAMENTAL CIVIL RIGHTS IN THE ALACHUA COUNTY JAIL (accompanied by individual grievances filed as public records)

THIS IS A GENERAL FORMAL GRIEVANCE pursuant to Inmate Rules and Regulations Section J, 3, filed individually and collectively, on behalf of the rights and interests of all inmates of the Alachua County Jail, and specifically of all those housed in Unit 3W, during the months of October and November, 2008, for routine, systematic, and general denial of civil rights concerning, in particular but not exclusively, denial of fundamental rights in the following four areas: 1) Housing conditions, in particular, dangerous and unhealthy temperatures; 2) Food and nutrition, in particular, a general denial of food of sufficient quality and quantity for nutritional requirements, and particular abuses significantly below even minimal nutritional guidelines; 3) Fundamental and urgent medical care, in general, the refusal to respond to requests for medical attention, the refusal to respond to inmate requests for medical care in a timely fashion, and the denial of medical care in general; 4) Denial of right to counsel, in particular the systematic and routine denial of access to communication with the public defender, and failure of the public defender to meet with and provide counsel and prepare a defense for incarcerated individuals accused but not adjudicated guilty.

Individually, the general denial of rights in any one of these four areas is an abuse and denial of the most basic and fundamental civil rights, but the collective and systematic nature in each of these four areas, as well as the effect of the combination of abuses in all four areas demonstrates a lack of respect and care, systematically for the health, safety and welfare of those detained against their will, which generally applies only to those who cannot afford private legal counsel and/or bond, and a systematic failure of the Alachua County Jail, the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, and Alachua County to provide its statutorily and constitutionally (Florida and United States) obligations, contributing to real harm systematically initiated against the individuals, and general population, housed in the Alachua County Jail and thus in violation of their rights and the duties of care and legal obligations of those institutions and officials.

Below are documented only a sample of the unlawful and intolerable conditions these individuals, and this class of individuals, has been subjected to over the past months.


For approximately two weeks the persons housed in Unit 3W of the Alachua County Jail have raised concerns and complaints regarding the excessively cold temperatures, caused by the air conditioning, subjecting them to excessive cold throughout the day and night. On several occasions more than one individual has brought a complaint to the officer in charge of the pod, the supervising officer, and others regarding the excessive cold temperature. Additionally, several of the inmates have displayed and suffered symptoms of illness directly related to this housing condition, including but not limited to sore throat, sneezing, headaches, muscle and body aches, inflated temperatures,coughing, congestion, running nose, and other general symptoms of cold related illness. Adding insult to injury requests for medical care (separately referenced below) have been routinely, regularly, and systematically disregarded and thus denied. On Thursday November 6th a formal grievance was filed after punitive action was taken against those who again sought to raise this issue and the said grievance, and only as a result thereof was an action, although insufficient to cease the harm, taken. That night the sergeant approved the release of a second blanket to all inmates housed in 3W. The following day, however, inmates were ordered not to have those blankets in the day room, effectively forcing the unit to remain bed-ridden for 24 hours in order to seek refuge from the intolerable and inhumane cold temperatures. When officers conducted routine inspections they wore a jacket and would respond to the temperatures by holding their hands within their jacket sleeves to endure the cold temperatures during the brief period of inspection. Inmates have been told that there is nothing that can be done about the condition of temperature, including that there is no reason to file a grievance, there is no one who will hear the grievance, and there is no one who can address said grievances, and in addition the specific claim that this problem cannot be solved until a new jail is constructed. On the evening of November 9th the officer in charge, having spent approximately five to ten minutes within 3W, inquired as to the excessive cold and the duration of this condition. That officer recognized immediately that this was a dangerous condition and affected the health, welfare and safety of the inmates. The officer brought this matter, of his own volition, to the attention of the supervising sergeant. Later that night, as a result of the concern raised by this officer, a third blanket was issued to each of the persons housed within 3W as a temporary means to alleviate the negative conditions. This condition constitutes a significant harm and denial of fundamental civil rights of those housed within the Alachua County Jail, the Sheriff's Office, and the Alachua County government. Persons housed in this facility are primarily detainees who have not been convicted of the allegations for which they are detained.


In general, the food provided - and indeed charged to the inmates without their consent - is generally unsatisfactory. No regard is given to particular dietary requirements of inmates, and the quality of the food is below that ordinary individuals would expect to be given to their pets, let alone family members. The quality of the food, in addition to the clear intent of the quality to be unattractive, unappetizing and unappealing, is clearly intended to give absolute minimums of dietary nutritional value, and appears calculated with the intent of maintaining a regular condition of ongoing hunger, throughout a 24 hour period, to be suffered by the individual inmates. Adding insult to injury, there have been days when the quality of food, on its face, was far below that which is statutorily mandated to be provided. This condition reached the height of its abuse ny midday November 9th, when less than one spoonful of what appeared to be chicken salad was provided to each individual. This came with its routine complement of four slices of plain white bread, known to have minimal nutritional value, and a single slice of "American cheese" product, also known to have minimal nutritional value. This abuse was so extreme that similar complaints were heard from unit 2W and all inmates within 3W asked to refuse acceptance of their tray and have it returned, as a unit, to the kitchen. Initial response to this, as well as to the desire to file a collective formal grievance, as well as individual grievances, was met with the position that nothing could or would be done respecting this abuse and that the inmates should simply accept their fate and the intolerable conditions. It was a direct result of this incident that the entire unit demanded to be given a form to file a grievance and upon which this general statement is being made and attached for the formal record and as a public record which must be maintained and produced upon request under Florida's Constitution, Article I, Section 25, and Florida's Public Records Law, Chapter 119 Florida Statutes. The general pattern of abuse, and its extreme as witnessed and experienced on November 9th, constitutes a serious and general violation of the fundamental civil rights of those housed against their will within the Alachua County Jail, violating those rights protected both under Florida's and the United States Constitution, and constituting  violations of the statutorily imposed duties and obligations established by Florida Statutes.


Throughout the months of October and November 2008 the individuals housed within Unit 3W of the Alachua County Jail have, on numerous and repeated occasions, requested medical care only to be ignored and denied such care. In fact there have been numerous occasions when, upon bringing the issue to the attention of the officer in charge, that officer has brought the matter to the attention of the medical staff, yet no action has been taken. Additionally several several of the individuals housed have filed formal documents requesting medical care only to have those documents ignored and care denied. There are several requests for care filed two and three weeks prior to this grievance which remain unfulfilled and indeed unaddressed. The issues of medical care, and its denial, are only exacerbated by the other general conditions violative of fundamental civil rights and contributing directly to the harm of these individual citizens, of health, welfare and safety - as detailed in complaint issues 1 and 3 above regarding intolerable environmental conditions (excessive cold) and denial of sufficient nutrition. In response to raising the issue of filing grievances regarding the denial of health care inmates have been instructed explicitly that the submission of repeat requests for care, in writing, would not result in service, but instead would be met by punitive reaction and explicitly that persons submitting repeated requests, identical to those outstanding for several weeks, would only be moved to the back of the queue. It has also been stated to inmates that the medical staff is not equipped to handle their medical needs and that this has been the cause of the delay and denial of medical care on a routine basis. Denial of fundamental medical care, both for urgent and acute problems, as well as general and/or chronic conditions, constitutes a denial of fundamental and basic civil rights of the most grievous nature. This, accompanied by the fact and factors associated with the other systematic denial of civil rights affecting inmate health, safety and welfare (in being subjected toi conditions of extreme cold for lengthy durations and denial of fundamental nutrition) constitute a violation of the most extreme nature and requiring immediate attention and rectification.


In general, and with minor exceptions of particular individual members of the public defenders office, inmates of the Alachua County Jail, accused but not convicted, are being denied their most basic and fundamental right to be represented by counsel and to receive a fair trial. Although each pod/unit within the Alachua County Jail is given a sheet - also provide to each person assigned a public defender by the courts - detailing the instructions and phone numbers to contact their public defender via telephone, it is the routine practice of the public defender, Richard Parker, and his agency to refuse to answer calls from the jail - effectively denying the right to counsel. The few occasions when an inmate has been able to get through via the telephone the receptionist has been uncooperative and has denied access to the attorneys themselves. Furthermore the attorneys at the public defenders office are failing to communicate with and meet in person with those individuals incarcerated. It is well known by the staff, and is routinely stated by officers, social workers, case workers, and other jail officials and personnel that the public defender will only meet with their client for a brief period the day before or the day of their first court date, which often comes after thirty or more days of incarceration, during which no preparation for trial, discovery, or other necessary action required to be performed if one is to expect a fair trial and adequate representation, has been provided.  In fact this practice is so routine that it is well known that certain persons employed as public defenders have never taken a single case to trial. It is apparent on its face, that the actions of the public defender are calculated with the prior determination that the individual accused is guilty, or will be treated as guilty, and with persons having spent what is regularly the basic time incarcerated as to be offered a deal in lieu of a fair trial will be pressured, as a result of the denial of legal counsel, to take a deal rather than having his day in court. Furthermore this general and systematic practice of the public defenders office, on its face, assures that inmates cannot avail themselves of their right to speedy trial without [illegible] the concommittant right to a fair trial, given the failure of counsel to take even the most minimal actions on behalf of their clients prior to the speedy trial period's commencement [?].

Furthermore the failure of the public defender to visit with or communicate with their incarcerated clients means that persons sit in jail without knowledge of the charges, the process, or their rights, in addition to other violations such as the inability to seek the posting of bond, the seeking of bond reduction, and other rights available to the non-incarcerated, and generally the class of persons who can [afford?] private counsel, [word illegible] and thus treats them, as a class, as fundamentally unequal. This is perhaps the most severe and significant violation of civil rights systematically suffered by those being incarcerated within the Alachua County Jail by the Office of the Alachua County Sheriff, and the Courts and State Attorney of the 8th Judicial Circuit, and clearly bears a causal relationship with the abuses, systematically imposed and generally unaddressed, as demonstrated in complaints One through Three above.

These complaints are submitted as a general and formal grievance per the fundamental denial of civil rights by the persons housed in Unit 3W of the Alachua County Jail during the months of October and November 2008. Submitted this day, November 9th 2008 by the undersigned occupants of Unit 3W Alachua County Jail.


Richard A. Jones
Josh Coppess
Rashee Taylor
John Smith
Dwight Harrell
David R. Paulk
Anthony ? [illegible]
Greg A. Faretta
Joseph Burke
Michael Pippenger
Robert Carter
Charles Grapski

Originally posted to Grapski Defense Committee on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 09:16 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Ghastly Story (32+ / 0-)

    I found this in addition, which does not paint a prettier picture of Florida justice.

    I would love to send a donation to the cause but I am tied up at the moment with IRS, another outfit that does frontier justice.

    Best,  Terry

  •  Damn this BS (48+ / 0-)

    I've seen this before, and far too many times.

    Local officials, deciding they don't need to follow the law when they are railroading someone into jail.

    The people responsible for this travesty need to go to prison. Everyone. Prosecutor, judge, police officers, jail officials, every one of them.

    If they don't like the rule of law, maybe they deserve to live without it.

    •  read my post above (16+ / 0-)

      for a littlebackground about Charlie and what might be the reason he's in jailwithout bond for a misdemeanor.

      "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you can succeed." -Nancy Pelosi, 6/29/07.

      by nailbender on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 10:10:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  By involving everyone in the guilty behavior, (24+ / 0-)

      public officials, like the Mafia, maintain control over each other.  They're not "good ol' boys;" they're hoods acting "under color of law."
      It's been going on a long time.  Now that such behavior can't be directed at one particular segment of the population with impunity, it's proven convenient to just spread it around.  If everyone is liable to being mistreated, even a University professor, it's not discrimination, is it?

      Charlie is a trouble-maker.  Providing him legal representation has probably become a hazard to people's careers.  

      Perhaps someone should contact the Southern Poverty Law Center.

      The only point that's not being made forcefully enough in the recitation of charlie's dilemma is that the residents in the jail, not having been convicted are innocent.  This is not just a technicality, even though the whole justice system has moved to a point where "innocence" is being used as a starting point for a legal proceeding--in other words, as a procedural matter, rather than a legal status.
      Charlie's complaint is valid because punishment is being visited on people who have done no wrong.   The reason the judicial system can get away with that is because most of the participants have subscribed to the assumption that "everybody's guilty of something."  So, it doesn't really matter what they are being punished for.  
      There is no way for the innocent to logically overcome that presumption, which is why the presumption of innocence was established in the first place.  And which is also why there are so many innocent people in prison and on death row.

      Also, keep in mind that there are hundreds of people incarcerated on the basis of suspicion, and not just at Guantanamo.  Florida is also the place where Sami Al Arian has been found not-guilty in a lengthy trial, but he's still being held on new charges of non-cooperation.

      Charlie is part of a much bigger story and he realizes that.

      How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

      by hannah on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 02:46:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not to distract, but this is an old (17+ / 0-)

        problem in the US, and has been exacerbated by the so-called 'war on drugs'. Many locales, including both the state of Georgia and local jurisdictions in Georgia, Florida and many other states, have used the war on drugs as an excuse to erode the presumption of innocence and the fundamental rights of those accused but not convicted.

        Also, the story of rogue prosecutors colluding to behave more like the mafia than like public servants is written across the country, and is more and more the norm.

        In crime after crime, it has become acceptable for the accusation to be proof of guilt; the system is further eroded by the multiplication of charges (all of dubious origin) that prosecutors lay on, with the sole purpose of forcing a plea bargain.

        How else does one explain the ease with which Bush was able to lock citizens and legal residents up in military brigs for years, without charge and without counsel? Had these underlying trends not been there, the outcry would have been deafening.

        IOW, I think Charlie's dilemma is but the tip of the iceberg, and it's going to take at least a generation to break this trend -- if we start now. Those who support Charlie and are knowledgeable about his case need to use every means at their disposal to get the nation to pay attention. Make this about more than Charlie, and spark the national debate that is needed on this. Escalate it to the feds, to the court of pulbic opinion and put the government(s) on notice that the people won't stand for it any longer.

        •  Host of nat'l links, stats, contacts, blogs, (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          snakelass, esquimaux, vets74, BYw

          advocacy, war on drugs, juvenile justice, etc at The Pennsylvania Prison Societywebsite


            1. American Indian Prisoners Network
            2. The Best of the Other Side of the Wall
            3. California Prison Focus
            4. Correctional Association of New York
            5. Critical Resistance
            6. Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants
            7. Families & Corrections Network
            8. Family Violence Prevention Fund
            9. Families Against Mandatory Minimums(FAMM)
           10. Farms Not Jails
           11. Grassroots Leadership
           12. Justice and Mercy
           13. No More Prisons
           14. OPEN,Inc.
           15. Prison Design Boycott Campaign
           16. The Prison Education Reform
           17. Prisoners of the Census
           18. Prison Justice
           19. Real Cost of Prisons Project
           20. Southern Center for Human Rights
           21. Stop Prisoner Rape
           22. The Justice Project
           23. Truth in Justice
           24. Western Prison Project

          Satyagraha ~ there is no force in the world that is so direct or so swift in working.

          by under the bodhi tree on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 05:34:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  This has been going on for 20 or 30 years. (0+ / 0-)

          Look at this Time magazine article from 1989 (the "George Bush" referred to is the current president's father):

          Or Google "drug exception to the Fourth Amendment" and you come up with articles like this one about the Sixth Circuit:

          See the national finals of Dutch children's chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen's 2008 Song Contest December 14 in Hoorn!

          by lotlizard on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:51:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Money is the object (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The racket goes like this.

        Police officers are given quotas. Bring in X number of offenses to raise cash for the county/town/city/state. (This happens less in big cities)

        So whenever there is ANY REASON to stop a person, question a person, search a person, etc, there will be a charge. Argue with the officer that you haven't done anything, and more charges will be added.

        Next, the officers typically try to turn any arrest into a felony charge. They are assisted by a legal code that has broad and vague parameters.

        Next, prosecutors will try to work up a file that makes whoever they arrested seem like a real demon. Dismissed charges, even from long ago, are listed as "evidence of a criminal behavior pattern." Exculpatory evidence is suppressed.

        If you can't afford a lawyer, you're fucked. Another part of the process is to underfund public defenders, or worse, "borrow" so-called public defenders from the prosecutor's office.

        The initial charges, even if outrageous and unsupported, determine bond, and as I said before, the aim is a felony charge; to yield the highest bond.

        Can't afford bond? You're fucked. Unless, of course you are in a location that recognizes the case law precedents for "on recognizance" bonds. If the location is sniffing for money, this is highly unlikely. So, they either get money from bond, or they get money from the state, per day, for imprisoning you. And they'll let you sit in jail for weeks or months, "waiting for a court date."

        Next, the fascist corporate prison system is trying to make money off the deal. So, unless someone puts money into your jail account, you'll starve. If someone does put money in your account, it won't last long. Part of the racket is the monopoly, overpriced commisary system, some of them run by sherriffs who are raking in the profits selling cheetoes to prisoners.

        Oh, and soap. If you don't buy soap, you can't wash. If you don't wash, you'll be slapped with an infraction, which can lengthen your time in jail.

        When you do get to court, your public defender will take all of about 2 minutes looking at the prosecutor's file and then tell you what kind of plea bargain deal you can get.

        And that's when it gets interesting. Do you have some education with regard to what your rights are and what "due process of law" is? Well, if you try to convince your lawyer to defend you or tell the judge that you aren't being well represented, then you get to go back to jail for another month. Want a trial? You'll be in jail til the trial, some six months down the road. Most people just take the plea to get out of jail.

        And what about the plea? Count on getting the maximum for whatever misdemeanor they've decided to offer you in exchange for dismissing a felony. You'll be sentenced to jail, but, out of the goodness of their hearts, they'll suspend it. They'll give you large fines, put you on probation, send you to counseling (which you'll pay for), make you report in each month, give you an outrageous amount of community service, plus court costs, and other fees.

        If you had any money on you when you were arrested, they'll take it for "processing."

        Then, if for any reason you miss an appointment, can't pay the fees, fines, costs, etc, you're on the hook to go back to jail. To serve the sentence they suspended. And then we're into round two of the same BS.

        Think I'm making this up? NOPE. Someone called the police on me because I was having a loud argument with my wife. I wound up in jail with a $1300 bond (which they stole after my case was closed). I was charged with multiple felonies. I intend to settle that score in federal court. My rights were violated every step of the way in this BS racketeering operation that they have to raise money for the state instead of making rich people pay taxes.

        I don't have a felony charge. However, the state still lists the case as a felony case on the record. How's that for some freakin' bullshit? They give you a felony record even when you take the misdemeanor plea bargain. Why? To set you up for the next time.

        I haven't told even a fraction of the hassles that the whole thing has caused for me. It never goes away, and they never leave you alone. If they made money on you once, they'll try again.

        How many people did I meet in jail who had money? NONE. If you have money they back off. They don't want any precedents that upset the racketeering schemes and force them to respect the rights of citizens. That would kill the golden goose.

  •  Okay, this shit sounds crazy (21+ / 0-)

    If there isn't more to it, this is a freaking outrage.  How could a place like UF let something like this go unnoticed?  Ato the C to L to the U.

    just another liberal, anti-American, cutnrun combat veteran

    by Uncle Irish on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 09:51:01 PM PST

    •  Just Same Old, Same Old (20+ / 0-)

      Florida House Candidate to Face Litany of Criminal Charges After Alleging Vote Fraud

      By Miriam Raftery

      Raw Story

      Monday 12 June 2006

      In the article is proof that Grapski was hanging with the bomb-throwing terrorists:

      Here are some photos of Charlie at one of many DFA related events...

      Many other great Democrats are speaking at that event as well...Hightower, Ivins, the Dean brothers..many more.

      Charlies is lucky they are only jailing, freezing and starving him - for now.

      Best,  Terry

      •  Okay what about the Gainesville Sun? (8+ / 0-)

        local papers.  msm.  Rod Smith didn't have anything to say?  I'll certainly ring the alarm bells through my very limited channels.

        just another liberal, anti-American, cutnrun combat veteran

        by Uncle Irish on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 10:23:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Gainesville Sun Has Shone Its Light on (14+ / 0-)

          Grapski more than once:

          Grapski charged with trespassing

          By Karen Voyles

          Sun staff writer

          Published: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
          Last Modified: Thursday, October 16, 2008 at 10:30 a.m.

          Charles James "Charlie" Grapski, a one-time candidate for the Florida House of Representatives and a frequent plaintiff in lawsuits against the city of Alachua, is in jail.

          ...According to the arrest report, Grapski went to the home, and banged on the front door. Two people inside the home allegedly told Grapski to leave. In response to the request that he leave, Grapski reportedly smashed a window with his fist before walking around to a side door and letting himself into the home. A witnesses told police that Grapski said he wanted help finding his glasses and refused to leave despite being told repeatedly to get out.

          Officers said Grapski was still inside the home when they arrived. Grapski’s bond was set at $10,000 in the case, but jail records show he is being held without bond in the two previous cases.

          See here.

          Best,  Terry

        •  Re: What about the Gainesville Sun and Rod Smith? (0+ / 0-)

          local papers.  msm.  Rod Smith didn't have anything to say?  I'll certainly ring the alarm bells through my very limited channels.

          Heads up on the Sun and Smith: The paper is falling on lean times and is dependent on advertising from the developers and Chamber types, who do not want any reporting that makes their local sold-out officials look bad. Also, they have no real journalists any more. They have done nothing to look into the corruption and criminal misconduct by Alachua officials, or the Charlie Grapski persecution. You need to read the High Springs Herald to get the news on Alachua.

          As for Rod Smith, he is part of the local "mob" that is trying to put Charlie away. In fact, Smith is the hired gun for Clovis Watson and the City of Alachua in defending the public records and dual office holding lawsuits filed by Charlie Grapski and Michael Canney. See the High Springs Herald articles posted HERE for all the background.

          Smith spearheaded the push to build a huge Wal-Mart Distribution Center in Alachua on environmentally sensitive land, and

    •  There is more to it. (10+ / 0-)

      Everybody here is getting all worked up without knowing the whole story. I live in Alachua. I know Charlie Grapski. While I appreciate his efforts to expose our corrupt city government, I also know that Charlie is a flawed hero. He got arrested this last time for breaking into a house in the middle of the night. Said he needed help finding his glasses. Charlie has a penchant for getting into trouble. People at this site should not be so quick to get on the Grapski bandwagon.

      •  I lived in Gainesville for 15 years (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        c, chick ghandil, kuulray, COwoman

        And I never, that I recall, met Charlie. But I know of him, because he was in the papers a couple of times a year for some new incident. For all I know, maybe he was on the morally correct side of those incidents each time...but as the parent post says, he certainly does have "a penchant for getting into trouble." Just sayin'.

        •  The first time, he was definitely in the right (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          c, mataliandy, FishOutofWater, COwoman

          I just did a search that reminded me of the first Charlie G incident of which I was aware: in 1995 he was running for student body president, and his opponent made and distributed fliers falsely claiming that he had been arrested for molestation and indecent exposure. He sued their asses for that, and rightfully so.

      •  Thank you for clarifying (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        This community JUMPS with little regard to background research. IMHO, Grapski tends to file frivolous lawsuits at the drop of a hat. His attitude borders on paranoia. I've lived in this community for 25+ years, followed Grapski since the 90's when he ran for student body prez at UF, and have (way to much) knowledge of local law enforcement and the state's attorney. The DKos community is better served fighting a diff't battle.

        BTW, loved the "flawed hero" line. Perfect.

        •  Frivolous lawsuits? NOT (0+ / 0-)

          The suggestion by c that "the DKos community is better served fighting a diff't battle" may be a fair statement, but the reference to "frivolous lawsuits" is without any basis. You obviously don't need to support Charlie, but I'm not sure how the "DKos community" is served by making unsubstantiated accusations. Which lawsuit was "frivolous" and without merit?

          I suggest a Google search for Grapski Florida Blue Key defamation. Grapski has some powerful enemies, and for good reason. Many of them are UF-connected, including UF Prez Bernie Machen (who endorsed McCain-Palin, BTW).

          •  Charlie's frivolous Florida Blue Key lawsuit (0+ / 0-)

            Charlie didn't collect this money, because Vlcek has all his assets in the names of other family members, but a "frivolous lawsuit" it was not.

            Suit over fliers brings $6-million

            A former Florida Blue Key member is ordered to pay for defaming a former UF student body president candidate.

            By MATTHEW BOEDY
            St. Petersburg Times - March 15, 2000

            GAINESVILLE -- An Alachua County jury on Tuesday ordered former Florida Blue Key member Peter Vlcek to pay $6-million in damages for defaming a former University of Florida graduate student by making him look like a child molester.

            Charles Grapski, the former UF student body presidential candidate who was the subject of defamatory fliers in the 1995 spring elections, broke out in tears after learning of the verdict from jurors. He had left the courthouse to grab a bagel at a coffee shop.

            "He said the numbers and I said, "Huh?' " Grapski said afterward. Grapski said his legal victories should send a message to UF.

            "They actually condone campaigns of the candidates of student government by a very ruthless, self-interested elite who don't care about the good of the students, the good of the university or the good of the community," he said.

            The jury awarded him $1-million for compensatory damages and $5-million for punitive damages.

            One of Grapski's lawyers, UF law professor Joe Little, had asked in his closing argument for $150,000 in compensatory damages and $500,000 in punitive damages. After the verdict, Robert Widman, another of Grapski's attorneys, seemed overwhelmed by the money awarded his client.

            "I've never heard of a defamation verdict like that," Widman said. "That jury was trying to tell somebody something."

            "We found it was disturbing that someone would do something like that to someone," said juror Michael Milek.

            Vlcek, 43, was not present at the two-day trial. Widman said Vlcek, a former UF law student, claimed the reason for his absence was that his brother was sick and he had no car to get from his home in Jacksonville.

            The verdict ends a four-year legal battle that Grapski, now a graduate student in England, brought against Florida Blue Key, former UF student body president John McGovern and Vlcek.

            All three parties have now been found civilly liable for posting the doctored fliers that used Florida Department of Law Enforcement records on Grapski with false convictions.

            The fliers falsely stated that Grapski had been arrested for child molestation, public exposure and lewd and lascivious conduct. The fliers correctly stated that Grapski had been arrested for driving under the influence more than two decades ago.

            Florida Blue Key settled with Grapski for $85,000, without admitting liability. McGovern is appealing the $80,000 judgment he's been ordered to pay.

            © St. Petersburg Times

    •  there IS more to it (5+ / 0-)

      As I note downthread, Charlie has made a career of pushing the limits of the law.  Charlie is ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that he is always correct.  Charlie is not always correct, and he seems to have pretty much run out of goodwill locally, even in the progressive community.

      I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper. - President Elect Barack Obama

      by ThirstyGator on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:35:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  kind of has that smell (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        c, ThirstyGator, Blackmamba1973

        local law enforcement going overboard, but in some ways instigated into it by a guy who seems to have made "making trouble" his cause in life

        •  not to make light of the situation (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          c, chick ghandil, COwoman

          but if you basically walk around daring the police to arrest you, you're likely to be arrested.

          Come and see the violence inherenet in the system!  Help! Help! I'm being repressed!

          I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper. - President Elect Barack Obama

          by ThirstyGator on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 07:11:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Being a pain in the butt (6+ / 0-)

            Is not a valid reason for incarceration.

            Charlie certainly hasn't helped himself by his own actions, but he still doesn't deserve to be held indefinitely without bond on a clearly trumped up charge as a means of coercing a plea deal.

            What he needs is a real lawyer, not a public defender who'll try to convince him to plead guilty to a felony he didn't commit.

            Refusing to plead is not "choosing not to be defended by competent counsel," it's choosing not to become a convicted felon for having recorded a conversation with a public official in the open and with permission.

            You don't need to protect me from someone else's spelling, grammar, extra posts on a topic, or use of quotations.

            by mataliandy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 07:54:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  we disagree (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              You're correct that being a pain in the butt is not reason for incarceration.

              That's not what this is about.  The guy repeatedly breaks the law.  They put you in jail for that.  When you do it often enough, they don't give you bail.  PD's are real lawyers.  You should get to know some of them.

              I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper. - President Elect Barack Obama

              by ThirstyGator on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 08:02:03 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I hear what you're saying (0+ / 0-)

                The guy repeatedly breaks the law.  They put you in jail for that.

                Fine. Convict him and put him in prison.

                But it seems the "crime" that is keeping him in jail without bond is recording a public official.

                Is that not a problem for anyone that values the rule of law?

                Or is the story wrongly reported?

                Best,  Terry

              •  The laws he has "broken" (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                - He recorded a public official in the open, with permission. (law supposedly broken: felony wiretapping)

                - He tried to file a complaint when a police officer illegally accessed his bank records, and was persistent in requesting to be allowed to file. He was arrested and imprisoned, beaten for this "crime."

                - He spoke to another person at a public meeting, then asked why he was being asked to leave, since he'd done nothing wrong (starting at 35 minutes, in this video).

                - The above "crime" led to the "assault" charges against the police. In the video, starting at 38 minutes, you can see the "assault." (Good thing for Charlie there's video.)

                - Misdemeanor trespassing. The only legitimately broken law in the bunch.

                So, yes, he's a pain in the butt, but to characterize him as a repeated lawbreaker is not quite accurate.

                I'm sure if I were in the same community, I'd be plenty impatient with him, and might be tempted to write him off due to his annoyance factor, but that doesn't mean this imprisonment is appropriate.

                You don't need to protect me from someone else's spelling, grammar, extra posts on a topic, or use of quotations.

                by mataliandy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 09:00:23 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  ThirstyGator is now judge and jury? (0+ / 0-)

                The guy repeatedly breaks the law.  They put you in jail for that.  When you do it often enough, they don't give you bail.  PD's are real lawyers.  You should get to know some of them.

                It is a fact that Charlie Grapski has not been convicted of a crime, although a great deal of effort and taxpayers' expense has been devoted to doing so (including by public and police officials who are guilty of numerous PROVABLE criminal violations).

                The real issue here is not whether Charlie Grapski is a white knight or an asshole, the real issue is whether a citizen's right to defend him/herself against their accusers is guaranteed, and whether there is a  presumption of innocence in the judicial process.

                ThirstyGator's comments reveal either an ignorance of the facts in this case, a disregard for constitutional rights and the rule of law, a bias against Grapski, or all of the above...

            •  If you get "bad advice" from one lawyer (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              maybe s/he's a bad lawyer.

              If you get the same "bad advice" from another lawyer, maybe you're having a run of bad luck.

              If a third lawyer also gives you that "bad advice," perhaps you should start wondering why it's so "bad."

              If a fourth lawyer thinks the "bad advice" was actually a damned good idea, well, the problem is more likely found in the mirror than in the courtroom.

              Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Two Days per Bottle.

              by dhonig on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 08:56:49 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  There's always a degree of conflict of interest (0+ / 0-)

                between a defendant who wants to go to trial, and attorney's natural desire to get the case over with. This is not to suggest his attorneys have violated ethical codes, but when the defendant is short on social skills the problem's exacerbated, and repeats.

                I'm less stubborn than Charlie, so there's been a couple cases where I took deals i'd have rather not to keep a good relationship with my attorney, with a view towards the next case.

                The War on Drugs is $40 billion a year of Government waste.

                by ben masel on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 09:20:16 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Pleading guilty to a crime or infraction (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mataliandy, lotlizard

                  one hasn't committed is understandable, but morally reprehensible.  While many people cannot afford to stand on principle because they put loved ones or family members at risk, Charlie Grabski is not inhibited by these considerations.

                  Plea bargain justice is socially corrosive because whenever a false plea is entered, it re-enforces the assumption that "everybody's guilty of something" and that the presumption of innocence is just a procedural starting point.

                  Plea bargain justice also promotes over-charging by the police and prosecutors and a certain disregard for providing accurate information and evidence.  It's in this sense that it is corrosive of our judicial system.

                  I was a "disinterested" observer of court proceedings in Alachua County for more than a decade.  I sat in on all kinds of trials and hearings, including divorce proceedings conducted "in chambers" to "protect" the wealthy participants from having to expose their dirty laundry to public inspection.  I was invited to become a Guardian Ad Litem so I could have access to juvenile hearings, where I got to see dozens of juveniles "disposed of" in a couple of hours while wealthy couples could monopolize court facilities for days.  It was not an edifying experience.

                  One of the main problems we have is that the judicial system is essentially closed since only those affected by the outcome of proceedings usually show up.  The press makes an occasional appearance for a celebrity case, but the day to day activities are generally ignored by the law abiding citizenry, which assumes that anyone who ends up in court must have done something wrong.

                  How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

                  by hannah on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 09:58:18 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  2007 stats for my County (0+ / 0-)

                    showed only 1% of misdemeanor cases going to trial. Used to be higher, but now the DA's office moves to dismiss all of mine at the initial appearance. (Actually they dismiss most of the weak ones, since they're getting more felonies with the same number of Assistant DAs)

                    The War on Drugs is $40 billion a year of Government waste.

                    by ben masel on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:03:40 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  From where I sit, if the prosecutors are (0+ / 0-)

                      dismissing almost all charges, then the police aren't doing a good job. Arrests and charges that can't be validated are merely inflating police time sheets and pretending to be accomplishing something that they're not.
                      Respect for law and order is not enhanced when people are falsely charged.

                      Of course, New Hampshire has a really weird system where arresting officers get to prosecute their own misdemeanor arrests.

                      How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

                      by hannah on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:25:47 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  They're dismissing the weak ones. (0+ / 0-)

                        Plenty more getting guilty pleas.

                        I'll admit that SOMETIMES it makes sense to make the arrest to unwind a situation that seems to be, in the view of the officer on the spot, to be about to spiral into something worse, with a quick release after emotional temperastures cool, and it's then a waste of everyone's time to prosecute the borderline disorderly. More often, these plea down to non-criminal County Ordinance disorderly.

                        The War on Drugs is $40 billion a year of Government waste.

                        by ben masel on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 12:55:34 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

  •  Openly recording a conversation (28+ / 0-)

    with a politician is a crime in Florida!?

    Charlie may be suffering some now, but eventually he'll win six or seven figures for this.

    The Republicans want to cut YOUR Social Security benefits.

    by devtob on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 10:02:54 PM PST

    •  Sounds like a Deliverance scenario. nt (9+ / 0-)

      "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you can succeed." -Nancy Pelosi, 6/29/07.

      by nailbender on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 10:18:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Eventualities (14+ / 0-)

      Charlie may be suffering some now, but eventually he'll win six or seven figures for this.

      Could be.

      For all I know, that is his aim.  Charlie is obviously an activist rather than an uninvolved bystander.

      But first, before any supposed riches start flowing to his account, he must endure and survive.  People who put themselves in harm's way have been known not to.

      Interesting was that a Chinese lady, who was at Tienanmen Square, was connected to her past encounter with another government by Charlie's words.

      Is anyone that is even sentient these days not aware of the disregard for law and common decency by some government authorities?

      The question is whether one really cares enough to help change matters.  Most will always prefer comfort.

      Best,  Terry

      •  Unlikely. (5+ / 0-)

        Judges and prosecutors have absolute immunity from liability in this kind of thing, and the troublesome decisions were made by them concerning questions of law, not the law enforcement folks who have merely qualified immunity.

        He likely gets out, but a remedy, if there is one, is likely limited to his attorneys fees and maybe some extremely modest compensatory damages in the three figures.

        "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

        by ohwilleke on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 02:02:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not lawsuits (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kyril, LaFajita, BYw

          but book deals, speaking tours, etc. might provide Charlie with a bonanza - or not.

          Sometimes even people who have spent a decade or two in jail before evidence frees them get nothing at all from those who imprisoned them - even the when the evidence that put them in prison was fabricated.

          Best,  Terry

          •  Since the prosecution is politicized, the defense (4+ / 0-)

            needs to politicize. Let's not let the possibility that Charlie might get a book out of this blind us to the fact that this is another nail in the coffin of the rule of law.

            A concerted political effort needs to be started on Charlie's behalf, and part of that effort would be a campaign to oust the prosecutor and the Florida Attorney General, not to mention the judges responsible.

            The real issue here is the question of whether the rule of law is to be respected, or are we to become a nation ruled by the passions of individuals?

            IOW, some focus and a public movement nees to be built here.

    •  Yeah (8+ / 0-)

      If you're a Dem...

      Florida has one of the worst Wingnut infested governments in the country. It's Texas with palm tree's.

      "Load up on guns, bring your friends, it's fun to lose and to pretend" Kurt Cobain-1991

      by Jeff Y on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 01:35:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But NOT Alachua County (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jeff Y

        This county is solid BLUE. This case is NOT about politics.

        •  There is nothing that precludes Democrats (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cville townie, Jeff Y

          from being authoritarians.  Government FOR the people can be just as dictatorial as government OF the people.  After all, that's what the socialist dictatorships were about.  It's not a co-incidence that most of the neocons started out as leftists.  The Republican opposition to communism was mainly based on a jealous recognition that the Soviet dictators were getting away with stuff the fascists didn't.

          The consent of the governed and government BY the people are not welcome concepts in Alachua County.  Charlie is a people who's trying to tell the agents of government what to do and they don't like it.  Simple.

          How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

          by hannah on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:05:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Case in point (0+ / 0-)

            That Mahoney asshole posing as a Democrat who took Foley's house seat in FL. On his re-election attempt this year, there's one race where I would have voted for the Republican just to send a message.

            It wasn't just the adultery and the lying, it was the blood-curdling audiotape of him harassing his employee (whom he'd had an affair with) and acting like everyone's boss from hell nightmare. I don't want those people in the Democratic Party, and it helps that he had an execrable voting record showing no signs of allegiance to Democratic principles. Those two, in this country, seem to go hand in hand these days.

    •  Clovis Watson said he didn't realize... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snakelass, LaFajita, BYw, COwoman

      he was being recorded. Said the tape recorded looked like a cell phone and he wasn't informed by Grapski he was being recorded. It's still a bogus argument but that's the actual line of reasoning that was used. Recording a public official secretly without their permission is illegal in Florida.

    •  devtob is right (0+ / 0-)

      Charlie may be suffering some now, but eventually he'll win six or seven figures for this.

      Which is why Clovis Watson and the State Attorney's office will do anything necessary to beat him. Watson has been bragging around Alachua that "Grapski's going to prison and he's not coming out"...

  •  I'm tempted to send a case of (14+ / 0-)

    Gideon's Trumpet to the public defender's office. They do know that the right to an attorney was decided in a Florida case, don't they?

  •  Emails sent to a couple real Florida Attorneys. (25+ / 0-)

    The War on Drugs is $40 billion a year of Government waste.

    by ben masel on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 10:44:24 PM PST

    •  OK, people, dose of perspective (20+ / 0-)

      Pardon me if I am gruff, I am suffering from a bout of insomnia after hearing a bunch of people rant about the Ziegler idiocy with zogby, and how great Fox is at my local bowling alley.  Nonetheless, I am posting to straighten out a few misconceptions present here.  First, as disclosure, I am a public defender in California.  

      1.  The public defender in Alachua is no longer anywhere near Mr. Grapski's case.  They apparently conflicted a long time ago.  So don't blame them.  Likely, if a fifth attorney is needed, it will be a private attorney who contracts with the county to pick up cases that the public defender has a conflict in.  Also, please note, that reviewing the charges, its highly unlikely that four offices of attorneys had separate conflicts on these charges.  Unless the home owners had extensive criminal histories, there is no apparent source for the conflicts.  As such, the most likely reason for the conflicts are that Mr. Grapski is a client that is hard to get along with.  Having never met the man, I can't say with any certainty.  However, some offices will conflict when appointed to a client that is not easy to deal with.

      1a.  To say that a public defender is not a real attorney is a typical, yet misinformed, opinion.  Any public defender must pass the same bar exam as any private counsel, and practice in a field that generally is low paying.  That means that most public defenders are doing it for the love of the job.  (And before you say its because I can't get a job elsewhere, I graduated from a top-tier law school and could go into corporate law anytime I want.  I choose not to.)  Further, criminal law is generally all they do, so in general, they are better at it than private counsel are.

      1.  Inmates have a method for asking for new counsel, its called a Marsden motion, and one of the bases for that motion is lack of visiting of the inmate by the attorney.  Marsdens requests happen all the time as a matter of course, however they are rarely granted.  Any time a person is incarcerated, and facing possible prison, they are going to be looking for ways out.  Asking for new counsel is one of the ways they seek to get out of their predicament.  While I do not want to discredit their claims without any knowledge of the situation, I would also be very dubious of any claim coming from an inmate as to the adequacy of their counsel, simply because it is the nature of the beast for them to complain, regardless of how good their representation really is.
      1.  As far as Mr. Grapski, he has a bail set at $10,000 in the new misdemeanor case.  However, he has a no-bail hold in his two other felony cases.  Here is the link:

      Alachua county jail records

      Probably what happened is that the judge, seeing that he has 5 felony counts against him of resisting arrest with violence said enough is enough when he picked up a new crime.  

      1.  The district attorney may file charges regardless of whether the victim in the case wants them to or not.  It happens all the time in domestic violence cases where the battered woman wants the charges dropped.  It is the people of Florida vs. Grapski, not the home owners v. Grapski, and as such they are not parties to the action and cannot get the matter dismissed without the DA's cooperation.  
      •  I HAVE met Charlie (21+ / 0-)

        when we rode the same bus to the airport after Netroots Nation last summer.

        No doubt he's a difficult client, in large part because he knows enough law that he won't passively take attorneys' advice, but will argue with it, and won't take what most attorneys consider a reasonable deal, but insists on going to trial.

        I'm the same kind of difficult client, but with more social skills,  well before the case gets going, I've cultivated longterm relationships with the rare attorneys who can deal with my proclivities.

        When I refer to a "real' attorney, it's not about training, or even skill, rather a willingness to invest the time it takes to prepare and try as case you think he should bargain out.

        I don't find it at all likely Charlie's stupid enough to assault 3 officers while already in custody. At worst, we're looking at resisting/obstructing being stretched into an assault.

        The War on Drugs is $40 billion a year of Government waste.

        by ben masel on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 04:52:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  One of my friends was a public defender for years (10+ / 0-)

        and, like you, passed up a potentially lucrative private practice career to represent those who needed it most.  Our system doesn't really work for any of us unless it works for all of us.  It's not easy defending people who have done dreadful things, but we still need to make sure they have the benefit of due process and a fair trial.  Some attorneys find it easier to do if they're being paid well for the effort and some (like public defenders) do it for a deep belief in justice for all.

        Now, go spread some peace, love and understanding. Use force if necessary. - Phil N DeBlanc

        by lineatus on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 05:09:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  "hard to get along with" is not a reason (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IndySteve, mataliandy

        for no representation.

        Obama 44! So why are we moving to the right again?

        by jj24 on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 08:43:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you for an informed opinion (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        even if you are just one of those public defenders that just everybody knows is incompetent. :-)

        Guys like you give some reason to think people aren't all bad.

        I knew another long ago like yourself though there were no public defenders as such at the time - at least where I lived.  Given a choice between Clarence Darrow and Glenn, anybody who knew Glenn's record would not have hesitated a second to choose Glenn.

        Best,  Terry

      •  You nailed it. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Many of us (progressives included) are tired of his shenanigans.

      •  Lots of charges, but no convictions. n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cville townie

        BTW, I know from personal experience that connections to the plantation known as the University of Florida is all it takes for people all up and down the line to recuse themselves by citing a conflict.

        How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

        by hannah on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:11:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Supporting an attorney who cites a conflict (0+ / 0-)

        and refuses to represent a client "because he is difficult" is ridiculous. Charlie likes to research his own case (yes, I know him) and not accept advice to plead, etc. But he is not difficult in the sense of irrational.

        What good public defender refuses to represent the indigent on bogus reasons. And why do you defend that?

        •  Where did I defend the practice? (0+ / 0-)

          I never stated I defended it.  I stated that it was likely an explanation for why the number of conflicts existed.  I have never supported conflicting simply because the client is difficult.  My biggest point was that likely there was more to the story than what was being presented, and that simply believing one side of the story, that the attorney's were not doing their job is not wise, simply because the person bringing that information has had a tumultuous relationship with the attorney.  For all I know, there was a breakdown in communication each time, which potentially could be rightful cause to declare a conflict.

  •  Is Florida still part of the United States? (21+ / 0-)

    Sure doesn't sound like it.  Wow.  (Then again the Darth Vader police in Minnesota during the GOP Convention didn't look terribly familiar either.)

    Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by feduphoosier on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 10:46:44 PM PST

  •  This sort of situation (13+ / 0-)

    If we compound it just a bit, makes civil uprising inevitable.  Without a plan to win an insurrection, that almost guarantees a sound thrashing at the hands of a bloated and buff State security apparatus.  Unless we have such a strategy, or unless we long for said thrashing, we've go to do something to address the incompetence, inhumanity, corruption, and malfeasance of a criminal justice system that is much more "Just Us" rich folks than any sort of fair disposition of honest and honorable judgment.

    Please keep us posted, and let us know what we can do.  Thanks for this.  We're fighting "Operation Iraqi Liberation" while consigning our own rights and capacities to the conditions of a cesspool.

    I bow to those who seek the truth; I flee from those who have 'found' it.

    by SERMCAP on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 11:08:03 PM PST

  •  I'm not surprised (16+ / 0-)

    After being intimidated by the "men in black" myself, for working for ACORN, that's the impression I got of what they'd do to you if you didn't cooperate (i.e. capitulate).  I'm lucky none of my friends (some of which went to Florida for GOTV) are there with him.

    Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.

    by Futuristic Dreamer on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 11:23:07 PM PST

  •  He'll have to wait for a presidental pardon (4+ / 0-)

    on 1-20-2009, in all likelihood.  I'll bet the Bush administration is behind this.

    Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.

    by Futuristic Dreamer on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 11:28:57 PM PST

  •  Pardon me, but what country is this?? (13+ / 0-)

    "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

    by flitedocnm on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 11:53:43 PM PST

  •  Have you tried to get tv media coverage? (8+ / 0-)

    This seems like something 60 minutes should be all over.  Just email them your diary.

  •  That is jacked up. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mattman, peace voter, kyril
    Thank you to the diarist for helping an esteemed fellow Gator.
  •  Gov Dean and DFA shd help (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    donna in evanston, peace voter, kyril

    Attention DFA and Gov Dean,  please help Charles Grapski.

    A national figure should step in.

    DONATE! McCain=Bush 3rd Term--US worst nightmare; Stop Republican obstructionism- Elect a Democratic Majority.

    by timber on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 03:03:37 AM PST

      Recommended by:
      tikkun, peace voter

      Charlie is always asked to speak and is an early Dean and DFA suppporter.

      It is long past time for DFA to get involved.

      •  DFA is NOT affiliated with DemocracyFest (0+ / 0-)

        It's a common misconception, since they're the organization that does the campaign training and are often one of the largest sponsors.

        DFA is a separate entity entirely from DemocracyFest Inc.

        [Hi Donna!]

        You don't need to protect me from someone else's spelling, grammar, extra posts on a topic, or use of quotations.

        by mataliandy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 08:00:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Technically This Is True (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          under the bodhi tree

          I don't want to be argumentative, but when Jim Dean is the featured speaker, Howard Dean is the special guest, and DFA sends out e-mails promoting the event, they are more than a sponsor.  

          The Demfest Committee does an outstanding job every year.  I am proud to know them.  I just kind of bristle at DFA disclaiming Demfest.  This says more about me than you or your comment.  Or maybe more about DFA.

          And hi back mataliandy. :-)

          •  I understand (0+ / 0-)

            This is a very important from a legal and tax perspective, so public statements need to be clear.

            Jim Dean speaking is negotiated as part of the sponsorship. So are any emails, phone calls, trainings, locations and sizes of banners to be displayed, flyers in the welcome packet, venue spaces allocated for them, etc.

            DemocracyFest Inc. must account for the value of those services in their tax filings.

            Howard Dean speaking is negotiated separately with the DNC, though the first year it was negotiated with DFA.

            So while DFA is a big and valuable part of the event, they're still entirely separate from the event.

            All that said, it would be nice if DFA could do something to help out with the Charlie situation, but I'm not sure what they can do. I imagine the organization itself is somewhat limited by its charter.

            You don't need to protect me from someone else's spelling, grammar, extra posts on a topic, or use of quotations.

            by mataliandy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 09:20:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe he needs medical help? (8+ / 0-)

    Check this out for details on his escapades:

    Alachua Today

  •  How come this story isn't told on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    feduphoosier, kyril

    any major network?

    Anyone could post the list of all the journalists and media outlest we can contact so it gets reported and whoever is in charge has to release Grapski?

    Any serious attorney around here who would work pro bono?

    Be not discouraged. There is a future for you. The resistance encountered now predicates hope. Frederick Douglass

    by French Guy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 03:25:01 AM PST

  •  Link(s)? Sorry but I'm a bit cautious w/ this (10+ / 0-)

    diary as it stands now with no links at all.  I tried to Google him but his story seems very convoluted with multiple arrests and jailings and charges over the past 3 years...

    Sorry, I don't mean to disrespect the diarist but over the years we have seen some big mistakes in terms of people reacting and recommending a diary that doesn't provide any substantiation of its remarkable claims.   So I get cautious when sensational charges with no links end up on the Recommended List.  Sometimes it turns out the diary was indeed an action item we should be recommending and promoting... sometimes, alas, very much the opposite, egg on faces, etc.

    •  Being held without bail almost never right..... (8+ / 0-)

      I just skimmed it for signs that he was a danger or a flight risk.  I don't care if the charges are trumped up or he's guilty, a person shouldn't be denied bail except for those reasons, and I'm not even all that crazy about the first one.

      •  Wow. The Stasi has nothing on Florida cops. n/t (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tikkun, esquimaux, cville townie, imchange
        •  There you go again. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Insulting all of the state of florida because on one guy's troubles in one town.

          •  Well, Floridians could clean up their (0+ / 0-)

            government. I don't know who I'd insult then; maybe Georgia, where I live, for it's corrupt governor and stupid senator, or my home state of Ohio, for its corrupt secretary of state and its vacuous legislature.

            Relax; there are plenty of targets in every state, and every town gets its turn at playing gestapo eventually.

      •  Charlie needs a mental health assessment, IMO (11+ / 0-)

        not abusive treatment by the police/prison system. The description in your last link sounds like a manifestation of mental illness to me.

        According to the arrest report, Grapski went to the home, and banged on the front door. Two people inside the home allegedly told Grapski to leave. In response to the request that he leave, Grapski reportedly smashed a window with his fist before walking around to a side door and letting himself into the home. A witnesses told police that Grapski said he wanted help finding his glasses and refused to leave despite being told repeatedly to get out.

        Officers said Grapski was still inside the home when they arrived. Grapski’s bond was set at $10,000 in the case, but jail records show he is being held without bond in the two previous cases.

        "It's the planet, stupid."

        by FishOutofWater on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 05:03:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually it sounds like he might have been (5+ / 1-)
          Recommended by:
          mataliandy, cville townie, kuulray, BYw, Blackmamba1973
          Hidden by:

          drunk or high to me.  I have seen those situations plenty of times and while there was destruction of property supposedly the homeowner didn't want to press charges so it shouldn't have been a big deal.  I don't know that I would jump to a mental health problem when its just as likely that he just had one too many beers or something.  Either way I don't see how they justify refusing him bond.

        •  Why raise "mental health" issues when you have (4+ / 0-)

          ABSOLUTELY no knowledge. It is outrageous. I know Charlie and he is not "mentally ill". He is one of the most persistent persons I've ever met, yes, but that is exactly what you need in a small town. He has paid a huge penalty for his persistence. Yes, he makes mistakes and I wish he didn't give them some ammo, but raising "mental illness" is just wrong. Please take it back.

          •  It's not a slam. Drinking=self medication. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mataliandy, cville townie

            Thanks for your insight. Perhaps you can tell us more about this story.

            Based on other comments here by people who know him, he has some serious drinking problems. Often there is an underlying problem that alcohol is used to self-medicate. There's no shame in that. It's human.

            I clearly said that I think he needs an assessment, not that he is mentally ill. I could be wrong, but you haven't convinced me. You may know far more than I do and I accept that. My comment was based on the evidence presented in the news reports.

            It's very hard to do anything but make suggestions based on news and police reports. That's all I have done.

            "It's the planet, stupid."

            by FishOutofWater on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 08:39:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You clearly stated.... (0+ / 0-)

              The description in your last link sounds like a manifestation of mental illness to me.

              Fess up. You have no basis except what YOU READ ON A BLOG. Rumors and inaccurate info, I might add.

              Charlie pisses a lot of people who want to play in the f'ed up system off. So what. The "charges" against him are all minor, trumped up with "felony"  and "battery" to make them look serious.

              Sure, he's made mistakes. He would admit that. He's human. But he is trying to fight a corrupt system which everyone here admits is screwed up. And they have unleashed the law on him at every opportunity to trap him.

        •  Re: mental health assessment (0+ / 0-)

          Charlie needs a mental health assessment, IMOnot abusive treatment by the police/prison system. The description in your last link sounds like a manifestation of mental illness to me.

          Here are the facts:

          The State Attorney's Office requested that Charlie be given a mental health assessment as a condition of release. The judge ordered one, and the assessment was done days after Charlie's arrest on Oct. 12. There was no sign that he was a danger to himself or others. The case being made by the prosecutor that Charlie is a potential danger to the community is not based on the facts or the law.

          Keep in mind that the incident cited in the police report took place on the night of a Florida Gators football game, when thousands of Gator fans (including Charlie and the friends he had a misunderstanding with) party all day and all night.

          It is troubling to think that anyone on this blog presumes to be qualified to diagnose mental illness on the basis of a police report, and without hearing Charlie's side of the story, but we appreciate the sentiment that Charlie isn't a criminal and certain doesn't belong in jail without bond.

    •  Charlie has been amply diaried (5+ / 0-)

      before at Dkos.  Particularly when his first trial was held and yes, it does appear that Alachua has some real problems in its law enforcement and court system.  However, that does not eliminate the possibility that Charlie himself may have gone over the line himself.  

      Scroll down the list to see the diaries from 2006 about Charlie.

  •  Is he in city or county jail? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, under the bodhi tree, kyril

    Have you contacted the FBI?

    My brother was just a witness in a criminal case investigated by the FBI in Ohio, regarding inmate abuse in a county jail.  The inmates have already won a civil suit.

    We are all droogie6655321

    by Buckeye BattleCry on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 03:58:16 AM PST

  •  I see Alachua county jail has not changed (15+ / 0-)

    since I was a "guest" there in the mid 70's.

    I offered my own plea bargain to the judge that I would plead to anything the prosecutor wanted if he would send me to a facility that would treat my jaw infection.

    He continued the case and ordered me transferred to another county.

    Good Luck

    The biggest threat to America is not communism, it's moving America toward a fascist theocracy... -- Frank Zappa

    by NCrefugee on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 04:46:50 AM PST

  •  This is legit but I still don't agree with what (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fwiffo, kuulray, COwoman

    he did. Standing outside the police dept demanding anything, confronting police in a verbally threatening manner is asking for trouble.  Reading the article this guy seems like a hot head.  He could have gone to the city/town above the police  file a complaint but he insisted on pushing..stupid, stupid, stupid.  Even if they did have it out for him, what did he think was going to happen?

    Dang, how about these numbers-> -8.00,-7.38 Does this make me the reincarnation of Gandhi?

    by HGM MA on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 04:47:14 AM PST

    •  His problem STARTED with the City Council (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tikkun, Dems2004, esquimaux

      and Mayor.

      The War on Drugs is $40 billion a year of Government waste.

      by ben masel on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 05:02:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  His second arrest started with him hounding the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Buckeye BattleCry, fwiffo


        Grapski said he got upset when he heard that Alachua Police Chief Robert Jernigan went to the Kangaroo gas station in Alachua to look at a check Grapski used to pay for gas four days prior.

        Grapski said that he felt Jernigan was breaking the law and invading Grapski’s privacy when he did more than just ask Grapski’s bank if the check was a good one. Grapski said Jernigan needed a search warrant to start asking questions about whether Grapski’s check would have been good on other days

        "When I asked him about him inquiring about my checking account at the bank, he said, ‘Well, the bank didn’t have to give me that information.’"

        At that point, Grapski said, Jernigan received a phone call, then walked inside the lobby of the police department and locked the outer doors. Grapski said he went up to the doors and knocked on them, saying, "I want to file a sworn complaint."

        The doors opened and out came Jernigan and another police officer. Jernigan told Grapski to leave, but Grapski said he kept asking for somebody to take his sworn complaint. Jernigan said he told Grapski that if he wanted to file a sworn complaint, he could do so with the State Attorney's Office.

        Jernigan said he told Grapski to leave or else be arrested for trespass.

        During this, according to Grapski, the other officer moved closer to Grapski and kept saying, "Is he under arrest yet?"

        Grapski, who had been recording the entire incident with his digital audio recorder, said he felt that something bad was about to happen and reached out to hand his recorder to a man nearby whom Grapski knew.

        "The officer slammed my hand down and knocked the recorder to the ground," Grapski said.

        He said that at one point, the officer almost stepped on the recorder as Grapski tried to kick the recorder to his friend. Grapski said he then remembers being grabbed and restrained, then swung around, with his head hitting the police department’s outer doors.

        "At that point, I got dizzy," he said. "I don’t remember what happened for a while after that. I don’t remember being taken through the lobby. The first thing I can remember after that is being in the department’s inside hallway."

        He said that he remembers putting his foot in a door so they couldn’t close it.

        "I said, ‘I don’t trust you,’" Grapski said.

        But according to Alachua police reports, Grapski actively resisted arrest by kicking Jernigan in the leg, head-butting another officer, then kicking another officer in the hand.

        Link here

        If he wasn't getting anywhere with the Police Dept Internal Affairs division and the mayor was part of the problem the next step would have been to go to the county commissioner.  The point is that this would have happened anywhere, if I march down to my local police department and become verbally aggressive and ignore their request to leave I'm going to find myself in jail pretty quickly.

        Dang, how about these numbers-> -8.00,-7.38 Does this make me the reincarnation of Gandhi?

        by HGM MA on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 05:27:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No doubt some poor judgement, by his own account. (5+ / 0-)

          Maybe disorderly, but not a felony.

          The War on Drugs is $40 billion a year of Government waste.

          by ben masel on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 05:38:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Video of the arrest (3+ / 0-)

          About 38 minutes into this:

          [Sorry, can't embed google video at DKos]

          The "assault" charges are trumped up. The whole incident was caught on video.

          He was at a public hearing, at which he was supposed to present info on the voting fraud issue, and was arrested (before his testimony) for the "crime" of talking to the person who was sitting behind him during an intermission between speakers. You can see the whole thing transpire starting at 35 minutes in the video.

          There's a lot going on here.

          Charlie's not a saint, but he's also clearly being railroaded.

          I wasn't aware that in the US, you had to be perfect to be worth defending.

          You don't need to protect me from someone else's spelling, grammar, extra posts on a topic, or use of quotations.

          by mataliandy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 08:39:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for proving my point... (0+ / 0-)

            he is no political prisoner, he is no different than anyone else wrapped up in our flawed legal system.  And the incident you’re speaking of is his first arrest.

            Dang, how about these numbers-> -8.00,-7.38 Does this make me the reincarnation of Gandhi?

            by HGM MA on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 09:03:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

              That's the second arrest.

              The initial arrest was for felony wiretapping. That's where the political angle comes in.

              He was trying to get "on the record" information from the person who won the election that was in question because of questionable ballot handling, using a tape recorder, with permission, placed in the open during the interview. That person happens to be not only the mayor, but the police commissioner.

              The arrest above was in a subsequent public hearing in which he was supposed to present evidence related to the questionable ballots.

              The 3rd arrest was for going to the police station and trying to file a complaint against an officer who accessed his bank records illegally and without cause.

              The last (4th) arrest was deserved, but since it was a misdemeanor and the complainant doesn't want to file charges, it's not on its own worthy of being held without bond.

              You don't need to protect me from someone else's spelling, grammar, extra posts on a topic, or use of quotations.

              by mataliandy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 09:27:40 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Re: video of the arrest (0+ / 0-)

            mataliandy is correct in stating that the assault charges are trumped up, but the video she is referring to was Charlie's second felony arrest, in February 2007. He was charged with "trespassing" and literally dragged out of a city commission meeting for no legitimate reason. We have video of the entire meeting and the entire arrest, which was presented as evidence to the State Attorney. Those charges were never prosecuted (a conviction would have been impossible), but Charlie was banned from attending Alachua city commission meetings as a condition of bail, and he was defamed as a violent and irrational menace for months.

            Those bogus charges were only dropped after the THIRD false arrest took place in August 2007. Those bogus assault charges are the ones Charlie is currently facing (along with the stupid misdemeanor from his Oct. 12 arrest on game night).

            By the way, in April 2007 Charlie ran for Alachua city commission and won over 20% of the vote in a three-way race, despite being out on bond for violent felonies. That was the election where the city manager disqualified ALL THREE challengers and declared the incumbents re-elected, prompting yet another lawsuit (see High Springs Herald articles for details) to force the city to hold the election.

    •  You're one of the few here that's got it right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      c, COwoman

      Charlie's a friend but he bring's a lot of this on himself.

      •  When a citizen is denied service and/or (0+ / 0-)

        attacked by the agents of government, the problem lies with the agents of government who are not permitted either by the state or federal Constitution to behave this way.  

        The object or victim of behavior is not responsible for the act.  The agents of law enforcement can claim otherwise, but the fact remains that under our system the government is "we the people" and the agents of government are merely our servants.  Getting them to recognize that is a challenge.  Nevertheless, even the Supreme Court has signaled in decision after decision (starting with Hamdan) that it agrees.  The Constitution is designed to limit the behavior of the agents of government.  It is not a permit for the agents of government to rule.

        When they issue legal orders, they may expect to be obeyed.  However, given the paucity of training in the law that our police are being provided, they have a tendency to rely on their instincts and "leave it to the judge" to sort it all out.  There was a thought that if police officers were required to attend college or university before certification, they'd be better prepared and know something about the laws they are supposed to enforce.  That was a mistake.  Understanding of the law is not something college student absorb by osmosis.  The only practical result of college degrees has been higher salaries to start a career.

        Full disclosure--I have been arrested and booked into the Alachua County jail.  The matter was dropped because, in fact, the arresting officers were outside their jurisdiction, as I was attempting to inform them and which they didn't want to hear.  It was a mistake not to file suit for false arrest, which I regret to this day.  It does not pay to be forgiving when one is dealing with hoods acting under the color of law.

        How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

        by hannah on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 10:48:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Have you ever dealt with a corrupt and obstinate (5+ / 0-)

      local "good old boy" government. They don't like the "people" actually exerting pressure on them. Charlie is persistent, and makes mistakes because he is human like all of us, but he is not a law-breaker. They are trying to intimidate and harass him into submission. That was a big mistake.

  •  Is this a job for Armando/BTD? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tikkun, Dems2004, mataliandy

    The War on Drugs is $40 billion a year of Government waste.

    by ben masel on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 05:01:15 AM PST

  •  No place in America (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tikkun, esquimaux, feduphoosier

    There is no room in America for people like Clovis Watson.  This guy should be hung from his balls.  All the civic leaders of this apparently back-water town, at least on an intelligence quotient, should be hung by their thumbs and beaten with canes.  Clovis and his consirators need to be removed from office and never again be commissioned with public trust.

  •  Charlie is a political prisoner (8+ / 0-)

    Clovis and company tolerate no dissent in their little fiefdom.

    An end to the Bush nightmare is only the first step in rebuilding America.

    by DWG on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 05:07:24 AM PST

  •  Alachua Sheriff's Office (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Satyagraha ~ there is no force in the world that is so direct or so swift in working.

    by under the bodhi tree on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 05:53:27 AM PST

  •  Charlie has been harrassed by authorities for (9+ / 0-)

    years. This appears to be another case of them taking advantage of actions by Charlie to continue the harassment. I am not surprised Charlie is organizing the prison population to stand up for their rights. Way to go, Charlie.

    One point on diary, however. You do not mention why Charlie was arrested this time. I had to read about it in the comments. Please put it in update because it makes it look like you are trying to hide it.

    Charlie might have made a mistake in this instance. I know Charlie. He is persistent in all things he does. But that does not justify the authorities using it to deprive him of civil rights.

  •  a dose of reality (10+ / 0-)

    First, yes, Clovis Watson is a vindictive asshole.  So are many of the people involved in city government in Alachua, FL.  Understand that Alachua is a very small bedroom community of the county seat, Gainesville.  

    Second, understand that Charlie Grapski has alienated damn near everyone in Alachua County, including most of the hard-core progressives.  Charlie has made a career of seeing exactly how far he can push the law-enforcement establishment.  He appears to have reached that limit.

    I agree that the right thing to do in a free society is to support those with whom we do not agree.  But Charlie has pretty much run out of goodwill, even here in the People's Republic of Alachua County.

    I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper. - President Elect Barack Obama

    by ThirstyGator on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:26:13 AM PST

    •  You're exactly right. (6+ / 0-)

      Can't believe this community is so quick to make a people's hero of Charlie Grapski. I'm one of those Alachua Florida progressives that's quit going to bat for Grapski. I used to do it in my newspaper column, but no more.

      •  Seen him lauded before here ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Which taught me to take "personal cause" diaries like this one with a grain of salt when I see them.  Now when I read about the persecution of someone I don't know somewhere I've never been I do lots of research before I jump on the bandwagon because it could be a Grapski thing.

        The fact that he can't find a lawyer - in Alachua County of all places - to work with him speaks volumes.

        I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper. - President Elect Barack Obama

        by ThirstyGator on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:48:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not making a "people's hero" but trying to add (5+ / 0-)

        perspective. Sure, Charlie is persistent....and pushes the envelope. But that is what needs to be done in corrupt, good old boy networks. It's unfortunate you have stopped helping do that. Because they win when you  recede into submission. I encourage you to reconsider.

        Is there really anyone else pushing them to shape up down there? Really??

        •  Yes. (6+ / 0-)

          There are a variety of hard-working progressives who also happen to not be assholes.  Some of them are lawyers, some of them are elected officials and some are just everyday citizens.  Most of them aren't breaking into people's houses when they're out on bail for felony charges.

          "Persistent" is good.  "Pushing the envelope" is good.  That's not what's going on here.

          Do you live here in Alachua County?  Do you at least visit here regularly and involve yourself in the community?  You seem to represent yourself as if you do, and I'm curious.

          I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper. - President Elect Barack Obama

          by ThirstyGator on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 06:56:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I don't support the other side... (7+ / 0-)

          and I make fun of Clovis Watson in my column whenever I get the chance. You're right that this city government needs to be challenged. But Charlie Grapski's way is self-destructing. Watson and company need to be challenged at the polls, not in these silly tantrums.

          •  filing a grievance is not a tantrum (4+ / 0-)

            Satyagraha ~ there is no force in the world that is so direct or so swift in working.

            by under the bodhi tree on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 07:30:18 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, but that's not all that's going on. n/t (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ThirstyGator, COwoman
              •  sometimes it takes a flawed person (5+ / 0-)

                To tweak the system in a way that creates change.

                I see him in the same light as I see Code Pink. In some ways, they are self-defeating, because they make people uncomfortable, causing their message to be shut out by their own allies. However, they bring much broader attention (aka: not just their obvious allies) to the cause than it might otherwise get, and lodge that little bit of doubt in people's minds.

                I think people like Charlie help in a backwards way, by making the rest of the activists in the community into the "good cop" in the "good cop/bad cop" scenario.

                Alternatively, you could say he's pushing much harder on the Overton window than the rest, which will at first lead to harder pushback, but will make it easier in the end for others pushing from the same side to shift it.

                You might consider him a classic "anti-hero," in the literary sense, perhaps like Holden Caufield in Catcher in the Rye. Not well-behaved, not even particularly sympathetic, but in the end he sheds light on a loss of innocence.

                You don't need to protect me from someone else's spelling, grammar, extra posts on a topic, or use of quotations.

                by mataliandy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 08:29:36 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Exactly (3+ / 0-)

                  Charlie is a flawed human being, perhaps.  Anti-hero might just suit him.

                  Charlie and I have been friends for 5 years now.  I rarely see him, but when I do, we connect all over again. He has many, many friends.

                  Perhaps his greatest flaw is that he still expects justice in an unjust world.

                  Maybe someday his expectations will be met.

                  •  If more of us even had half the resolve (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mataliandy, under the bodhi tree

                    Charlie does, we'd be further along!  

                    Perhaps his greatest flaw is that he still expects justice in an unjust world.

                    Most of us have too much to lose or lack the nerve to persist as he does.

                    Yes, I wish he'd get arrested for more noble purposes, but people here need to realize how they're using everything they can to harass him.

                •  He is like a fictional character. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mataliandy, seriously70

                  And I do like him. Anti-hero is kind of perfect for Charlie. But I think he has serious problems, and when people just support him unquestioningly, they become enablers. I've known Charlie kind of peripherally for a few years now. I've never known him to have a source of income. His teaching gig is several years in the past. I believe he has a drinking problem as well as an anger management problem. In a lot of ways he's his own worst enemy.

          •  Assuming that the next election isn't also stolen (0+ / 0-)

            Watson and company need to be challenged at the polls

            Notice: This Comment © ROGNM

            by ROGNM on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 08:42:17 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  This whole thing started because of (0+ / 0-)

            Questionable handling of ballots in Clovis Watson's election.

            So, sure, if you think the ballots will be handled properly the next time out, that may be a valid method for challenging Watson. If, however, there's a chance that the ballots may be handled in a questionable manner the next time out, then perhaps legal challenge (of the type originally brought, but which has warped into this bizarre situation) is the more appropriate path.

            You don't need to protect me from someone else's spelling, grammar, extra posts on a topic, or use of quotations.

            by mataliandy on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 09:31:39 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It was a city council election. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Clovis Watson is Alachua City Manager which is an unelected position. Even so, he's the figurehead in the local political machine. Grapski challenged the way ballots were handled in that city election (I forget who was running) with good reason. But it's been a long twisted path since then.

          •  Making "fun of Clovis Watson" is not (0+ / 0-)

            an appropriate response to a corrupt public official.  What is a corrupt public official?  It's a person who holds public office, requiring the performance of certain functions to serve the entire community and, instead of serving the interests of the whole community, provides that service selectively to special interests.  If there is additional compensation, that's called a bribe and that's a crime.

            Now, since it was long accepted that the main function of public officials was to dispense public resources and assets to their supporters, it's possible that the change which commenced with the Federal Tort Claims Act of 1947 and subsequent court decisions hasn't yet penetrated the consciousness of Florida politicos.  But, it is way past time that it should.

            How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

            by hannah on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 11:10:18 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Right there with you... (0+ / 0-)

        Used to... no more!

        I used to do it in my newspaper column, but no more.

        In my best Montoya imitation, "Who are you?"

  •  They will face Obama's DoJ (0+ / 0-)

    I pity them ... this kind of stuff will have consequences.

  •  In THIS case.. he had it coming (0+ / 0-)

    Come on people... READ!

    Grapski banged on the door, and police arrested him. Grapski kicked Jernigan in the leg, head-butted another officer in the chin and kicked a third officer in the hand, police said.

    Following his first appearance after his arrest last year, Grapski was taken back to the Alachua County Jail where he was to undergo a routine strip search before entering the general population of the jail.

    However, Grapski refused to be strip searched, and officers sprayed him with pepper spray.

    He reportedly became violent, and detention officers had to place him in a restraining chair. One detention officer reported an elbow injury as a result of the scuffle.
    Alachua County Today

    These are not the actions of a passive individual. He's pissed off just about everyone in this county (lib's included).

    •  Do you always take police reports (4+ / 0-)

      at face value?

      I've had perhaps 200 written about me. 10% fully accurate, 20% with the big picture right but a gratuitous cheap shot thrown in (usually putting swear words in my mouth,) 25% trying to get it right but colored by the officers' preconceptions, and 45% flat out lying.

      The War on Drugs is $40 billion a year of Government waste.

      by ben masel on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 09:29:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "routine strip search" (0+ / 0-)

      is no longer a legal practice in Wisconsin jails. You get patted down, but only stripped if the patdown finds something suspicious.

      I don't recall "routine" strip searches in the lockups of, NYC, DC, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Portage County, Ohio, Chicago, Kansas City, or Dallas either.

      Further proof your jail's a shithole.

      The War on Drugs is $40 billion a year of Government waste.

      by ben masel on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 09:54:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Alachua County Today article is just POLICE LIES (0+ / 0-)

      c obviously places far too much credence in a local weekly rag that is little more than a mouthpiece for the Good Ole Boy network and the developers. He clearly has no respect for Charlie's right to a fair trial or a competent defense.

      Listen up. The last time Charlie was arrested in Alachua, ON THE SAME CHARGES, BY THE SAME OFFICER, (and also under orders by Clovis Watson) was on February 12, 2007. Jernigan LIED on the arrest report and accused Charlie of Resisting Arrest With Violence and Battery on a LEO. This was after dragging him out of a city commission meeting and threatening to Taser him for going limp (only the intervention of witnesses and a video camera prevented the Taser from being fired). There was a video of the entire meeting and the arrest, proving that a) there was no legitimate reason for the eviction from the meeting and the arrest, and b) that Chief Jernigan committed perjury on the arrest mittimus when he claimed that Grapski committed the crimes.

      The State Attorney's Office was given sworn statements by witnesses and a copy of the video. Instead of tossing out the charges and investigating the criminal conspiracy by Watson, Jernigan and other Alachua officials, the SAO kept the charges pending for over six months, during which time Grapski was prevented from attending meetings under his bond conditions. The charges were only dropped after Jernigan made up new charges.

      The story cited by c in the Alachua County Today is full of false statements by police. He was set up in the jail to be pepper sprayed in the shower, the only place in the jail where there are no security cameras. The "attack" on the guards consisted of involuntary convulsions suffered by Grapski from being repeatedly pepper sprayed in the face as he lie prone and handcuffed on the floor, surrounded by six guards. He couldn't even see. It was probably just routine payback for his "assault" on the APD officers earlier in the day (the original arrest) and a "welcome" to the jail.

  •  Ol' boy networks are (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mataliandy, under the bodhi tree

    notoriously vindictive and feckless, and largely the rule in Northwest Florida.  I don't know about Alachua specifically, but Escambia County positively lousy with nepotism and incompetence.  A lot of what I am reading through links here is that, yes, Mr. Grapski may have crossed some lines throughout this ordeal, but the fact of the matter is that he is being detained under unreasonable conditions and on unreasonable charges.

    And trust me, if you dare even address certain issues of social justice in some of these ass-backward little communities down here, you can wind up on the wrong side of the law really quickly.

    every heart to love will come -- but like a refugee.

    by brokenhallelujah on Tue Nov 25, 2008 at 09:34:27 AM PST

  •  More abuse at the Alachua County Jail (0+ / 0-)

    Charlie's experience as a victim of ongoing police and prosecutorial abuse should be of concern to all who care about democracy and civil
    rights in Florida...

    The latest on Charlie Grapski in Alachua County Jail:

    Thanksgiving week
    Jail guards cut off the telephone as Charlie was attempting to speak to his attorney's paralegal about his case. He was then arbitrarily put on "suicide watch" by the watch commander and strapped to a chair in an isolation cell, even though he protested that he was not depressed or suicidal.

    Charlie said he had accidentally hit his head on a metal bench in his cell and had a bump on his head, but he later discovered that a report had been filed by a guard falsely stating that Charlie had been banging his head against the wall and was trying to hurt himself. THIS APPEARS TO BE A DELIBERATE ATTEMPT TO SET CHARLIE UP.

    Charlie claims the guard who did this boasted that he listens in on his telephone conversations, including the legal consultations with his attorney Joe Little. The guard told Charlie "Joe Little isn't a lawyer, he's just a law professor" and made light of his criminal violation of Charlie's rights. He said the experience of being strapped to a restraining chair by the guards felt like a form of psychological torture.

    When the shift changed and another guard took over, he released Charlie from solitary and allowed him to take a shower and return to his cell. When friends attempted to visit Charlie during his weekly visitation time (two hours total per week, on Thursday evening) they were told Charlie was in the infirmary and could not be visited.

    Whether the guards who put Charlie in solitary, under suicide watch, were acting out of ignorance and incompetence, or under orders from someone to set Charlie up, is at this point unknown. What is clear
    is that there is a political purpose being served by Charlie's continued incarceration, and that Charlie's health and personal safety are in jeopardy so long as he is held in this jail.

    The public officials responsible for safeguarding the rights of the accused in Alachua County Jail need to know we're watching, and we're concerned.

    Contact information:

    State Attorney William P. Cervone
    cervonew@SAO8.ORG 352-374-3670
    State Attorney's Office website:

    Judge Phyllis Rosier
    Alachua County Criminal Justice Center
    220 S. Main Street Room A303
    Gainesville, FL 32601
    (352) 374-3606 (Phone)
    (352) 264-7010 (Fax)

    Sheriff Sadie Darnell
    Alachua County Jail website:

    Gov. Charlie Crist  850-488-7146
    Office of the Governor website:

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