This is an overview of the story of Bob Allston's three year struggle to get the legal profession to face up to its shortcomings and its psychologically, sociologically and economically destructive nature; taking productive people out of the middle class placing them into crime, drugs, the homeless or the militia which in Allston's case cost taxpayers a wasted $70,000 or more.
It is also the story of corrupted state power, how government and the legal profession hide crooked dealings and destroy criticism. And for this reason, as the case itself demonstrates, it may be somewhere between very rare and unknown that such a case becomes available for analysis.
And this begs the question of how many citizens have been subject to this kind of (civil or criminal) legal system, what they perceive they can or should do about it, and how many of them are joining militias or paramilitary groups; something that, by its nature, is all but impossible to know.
It is about 9 typed pages in length. You may read it from beginning to end or link to any of the table of content entries below.
On March 26, 1994, the day of my arrest on a bomb threat charge in Fort Myers, Florida, at 57, I was firmly planted in the middle class of the community. I had never previously been arrested, never seen a mental health person, never received any welfare of any kind, never received any kind of unemployment assistance, never made a claim under employment insurance, never been involved in a car accident, never sampled any illegal drugs, rarely drank liquor of any kind and I was heavily involved as a community volunteer.
My Speech of March 23, 1998, at the Plaza of the Americas on the University of Florida campus.
Some newspaper articles on me:
Previous to my arrest I had accused the Lee County Attorney's Office of lying to me about the law (letter of 3/22/94 to Commissioner Ray Judah) and advised them I was SEEKING THE TRUTH from other county governments or academia. I was and am sure that their interpretation was wrong because my real estate attorney of seven years, Terry Lenick, had previously worked in the County Attorney's Office and written the administrative code in question for the County while there and he advised me their interpretation was wrong. As well the law had not been applied to previous situations as it was being applied in my case.
To address the problem, I wrote a 10 page paper and delivered it to the County Attorney's Office as well as to the offices of all five County Commissioners. Three pages out of it were entitled "MY ARGUMENT AGAINST CORRUPTION" which as far as I know is as good a critique of the problems of Lee County's variety of the "good old boy" system as Lee County government has received from a citizen; employing main stream philosophical, historical and mostly economic arguments in defense of main stream democratic and economic principles that they were consistently transgressing to the detriment of everyone in the County except of course the "good old boys".
Part of the problem that such government brings upon itself as well as upon innocent government employees is of course terrorism. Indeed the paper was written long before the Oklahoma City bombing but I think it fairly anticipates the motivation behind much of the terrorism that has transpired across Florida and the country since.
Bombs are of course a common element of terrorism and perhaps the most common type of bomb to make is a pipe bomb which I intentionally described in detail to demonstrate that it was easy to do and anyone could do it. Indeed, as the article explains, I thought it up in five minutes even though I had never even made one.
It is not necessary here to address whether or not the section of my paper entitled My Argument Against Corruption meets the requirements of the criminal statutes I have been charged with. (To me its a long way from it.) Government was lying to me and thus had a strong motive to jail me and assassinate my character to render it impossible for me to proceed with exposing it; so government proceeded with a long list of patently crooked dealings in support of getting a conviction to justify my arrest. In any event, for its part, it would appear government didn't believe it had a very good case, otherwise it wouldn't have bothered with all the crooked dealings.
I did not know the name of the assistant county attorney in the County Attorney's Office who had issued the incorrect rendering of the law when the paper was written; only learning this when I delivered it. As the record clearly shows, he was the prime mover to have me arrested. From his testimony at the trial resulting in a hung jury it turns out he had previously been a Tampa policeman for seven years, gone to law school, been a prosecutor in the Lee County State Attorney's Office for three years then moved over to the County Attorney's Office where he had been for seven years and was in a senior position there when I was arrested. He thus knew all of the criminal procedure and the people personally, to carry out his plan of arrest, character assassination, and false charges.
I delivered the paper on March 23 and 24, 1994. I was arrested on Saturday, March 26, and the next day, Sunday, stories appeared in most of the local media. The largest print media in Fort Myers is the Fort Myers News-Press and two similar stories appeared in different places in it. They are characteristic of stories that appeared on all the media; and the character of the story presented to my fellow citizens was totally different from what I had written in order to present the "mad bomber" image needed to assassinate my character, justify my arrest and avoid responsibility for lying about the law:
The matter is SET FORTH on another page.
In the event someone might go to the record of the case in the Clerk's file to actually see what I had written, they had this base covered as well. For, when my ten page paper was placed in the record, the page numbers were removed from the bottom of the pages and the page that had the alleged bomb threat on it was reversed in order with the previous page and incorrectly numbered in the record making it all but impossible for anyone not familiar with the paper to locate the alleged bomb threat paragraphs or know what I had written ; moreover making the paper appear incomprehensible which was of course the image they wished to portray.
None of the media contacted me for my side of it prior to carrying the story. Because I was in jail I didn't even see the News-Press story for some time after the arrest. When I tried to contact the News-Press from jail they refused to communicate with me at all or accept my telephone calls. Thus I sat in jail completely unable to defend myself against the smear campaign.
After being contacted by some of my few remaining friends over several months while I was of course in jail, the News-Press promised to print a more objective version but never did. The other media continued to ignore us.
I could relate many other things but this will suffice to give an idea of how the character assassination campaign was carried out.
Thus being characterized as mentally unstable and dangerous in the press, I lost most of my friends and business associates virtually overnight making it impossible for me to function in either business or personal affairs thereafter except for a few kind friends who stayed with me.
Not being satisfied with the smear campaign, more crooked dealings were in store for me as I sat confused in jail; now regarding the criminal charges against me.
The paper (called an "Information") charging me with the bomb threat came out of the State Attorney's Office about three weeks after my arrest (although I knew nothing about it for three months). Two out of the four charges (counts 1 and 2) were false on their face, claiming Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah was accusing me of threatening him when he wasn't. For, as I understand it, in order to make a charge against me, an alleged victim must give prosecutors a sworn statement to that effect. However, they had no such statement; although it would appear the government legal establishment must have done everything they could to induce him to give them one. As well, it would appear the accompanying affidavit claiming they had it was thus falsified as well.
None of my four consecutive taxpayer paid public defenders ever advised me of this or were willing to discuss it with me or would help me get it when I brought up the subject over the following several years. As far as I know, the sworn statement would have been in the State Attorney's discovery file which I had the right to have but was being withheld from me. Obtaining this file was the major but not only purpose of two peaceful sit-ins in the State Attorney's Office; in which I was arrested, spending four months in jail on a trespass charge at a cost to taxpayers of something over $5,000 ($40/day in jail plus legal expenses). This was among many other things I did in an attempt to find out if there was such a sworn statement. I didn't know for sure there was none until 2 years after my arrest when News-Press reporter Bob Norman talked to Commissioner Judah about it.
The Information .
Two and a half months after my arrest, although I didn't know of the existence of either document, the Information discussed above was replaced by an Amended Information. Here counts 1 and 2 of the first document appear somewhat modified as counts 3 and 4 of the Amended Information. However they still had no sworn statement from the Commissioner or anyone else that might fit the description given; thus it appears to me count 3 is a false charge and the affidavit is falsified again. Further, count 4 appears to me to be just a meaningless jumble of legalese about two statutes; intended to induce me to believe it is a valid charge, when it isn't.
Again none of my four tax-paid consecutive public defenders ever advised me of these major shortcomings nor have they wished to discuss them when I brought it up. I never even got a copy of the Amended Information until I was offered a plea bargain ten months after my arrest and then nothing about any of these problems was explained in order for me to make an informed decision about the plea bargain, which I turned down anyway.
The Amended Information.
These and more issues are explained in more detail in a section of the papers I gave to University of Florida College of Law Dean Richard Matasar when arrested in his office at a sit-in demonstration against the legal system.
After my release from jail, I embarked on a campaign to get the legal system to acknowledge and deal with the crooked dealings in my case as well as to reform the legal system. This entailed 5 more peaceful civil disobedience arrests. However rather than address their crooked dealings, the thrust of the legal system remained to try to characterize me with mental problems as evidenced by the fact that I was baker acted three times.
I was also given a psychological examination the purpose of which was ostensibly to determine whether I was competent to stand trial while the actual purpose was an attempt to further discredit my civil disobedience and activism for legal reform and avoid responsibility for crooked dealings.
What is important to realize from the sociological standpoint is that there has been simply no help from the legal system or any other quarter in this situation. According to the profession's own ethical rules, anyone in the profession, lawyer or judge, who has knowledge of crooked dealings has an obligation to contact appropriate authorities about it, and one would assume the crooked dealings would thereby cease and be remedied one way or another.
However, I have written the University of Florida College of Law three times starting November of 1995, with no response except a simple rejection the first time. This was followed by a sit-in demonstration in the deans office. I have written to Nova and Stetson law schools as well. Much of it was described in a petition for writ of mandamus filed and accepted by the Second District Court of Appeal in the summer of '95; so the judges of that court are familiar with most of these things as well. Most of the government legal establishment in Lee County are familiar with it, as well I'm sure as many private attorneys, yet I have no information anything has been done to investigate any of it.
After my sit-in demonstration in the deans office, one of the law faculty expressed an interest in taking the case but after advising the court of this he ducked out on me leaving me in a compromised position.
There have been a number of stories written covering aspects of my case and campaign to reform the legal system. However none of them have been willing to expose the crooked dealings. In Lee County it would appear this is because either there are connections between government and the media or the media is afraid to offend prominent government people. For instance in the case of the Fort Myers News-Press, I sat in the paper's lobby for four or five days threatening not to leave at closing time, as a peaceful sit in demonstration, to force my arrest at closing time requesting them to straighten out my arrest story.
Finally the reporter who had done the first story smearing me did another one, but even though he contacted Commissioner Judah, finding that Judah had not given a sworn statement, he would not dig further or print it along with other crooked things. It was clear from talking to him, although he did not directly say so, that he was being gaged by higher-up people at the paper.
Also it appears that the media don't like to accuse the government of crooked dealings unless the legal system has made such a finding. Thus, as in this case, if the legal system itself is corrupt or indifferent to the point where it refuses to investigate such matters, the two major institutions, law and the media, that should be involved in exposing such corruption are silent.
The average person can't afford to go to the lengths I have to address this; nor of course should anyone have to. I can't speak for other counties or other places in the country, but there is nothing unique about this kind of problem in Lee County; and the simple fact is the only path people will see open to them to address it is to destroy government.
Most importantly, those people in such disciplines as sociology and criminology, dependent on data generated or collected by the legal profession, are going to have little or no knowledge of the extent to which corrupt legal practice is forcing people into terrorist and revolutionary positions, for two basic reasons: First, such matters are typically buried in the record, if not removed, and the legal profession is not going to point them out making it very unlikely it will be picked up otherwise. Second, the people who have converted to such a belief are, for the most part, not going to be advertising it.
Thus when I see the article about the people about to lose their house, I must ask whether this was an honest legal procedure or a crooked one regarding which the media and legal profession are silent.
Thus there are two major problems created under a revolutionary hypothesis: First of course is the indeterminate amount of anti-government sentiment. Second, at a certain point in most past revolutions, abuses of government or the courts, previously suppressed, begin to flood the media lending significant support to the revolutionary cause just when government is most vulnerable.
My case is also an example of how the criminal justice system uproots people from the mainstream working middle class, depositing them into welfare, the drug culture or the militia. And I don't mean to suggest here that there are similarities between the militia on the one hand and welfare and the drug culture on the other; for they are quite different. When I was arrested, I had a net worth of 1.3 million dollars. After I left jail I was penniless with debts of over $100,000 due to foreclosure actions against property I owned while in jail. Thus while out of jail, I have spent most of the time as a homeless street person, sleeping in the streets and dependent on such charities as the Salvation Army and St. Francis House in Gainesville and a few kind friends.
This is a common course taken by middle class people that are processed through the criminal justice system (corrupt or not) in drug, DUI or domestic violence cases -- they stay in jail for 3 months waiting for a plea bargain while family tensions build, the wife and kids go on welfare and the breadwinner loses his job. When he ultimately leaves jail he is lazy (there is nothing constructive to do in jail) anti-social and ready to take whatever welfare he can get, and is ripe for getting into crime and drugs as well. If he doesn't get into these things, he will be a prime prospect for militia recruitment.
Thus often the original problem is not cured and society now has a whole new set of problems to deal with, often far worse than what he was arrested for. The cost to taxpayers is significant. In my case this adventure has cost them over $60,000 already and I haven't even gone into crime, welfare or drugs nor do I have a family to be cared for.
Learning all this of course in jail, when I left jail I have stayed away from welfare and of course crime and drugs; although ironically, just recently it was necessary for me to apply and pass the criteria to receive $120/mo. in food stamps in order to qualify for medical help from a charitable organization (I just haven't picked up the stamps).
For those who have have been seriously injured by corrupt government for which there is no recourse, such as in my case, terrorism, armed confrontation and revolutionary psychology are largely the only avenues open to them in the way of recourse. There are a number of reasons I do not take this course but all of them are in effect statistically insignificant. There are for instance, to my knowledge, no other such people besides myself seeking legal reform at the University of Florida, although one can be sure there are quite a number that have joined various militias around the state.
For a wonderful Web site by a dedicated Texas educator working in the Texas prisons, embodying love, compassion and wholistic cultural, educational and economic perspectives in a very unwholistic world of cultural and class division see CORRECTIONAL EDUCATION CONNECTIONS.
If you have been falsely accused in a matter regarding children, child abuse, etc., a very helpful sympathetic site is Falsely Accused Citizens in Today's Society.
Obviously all of the legal profession's window dressing on professional responsibility and legal ethics have meant nothing in this case. An attorney or judge who knows about crooked dealings has an obligation to report it and as stated above any number of them know about this case. My perspective on it, discussed elsewhere, is that the legal system and criminal justice systems are highly dysfunctional; and dysfunctional social structure easily becomes corrupted. So to get rid of the corruption, making more rules about ethical practice for lawyers to ignore is of little value.
The approach must to be to design a functional legal system that actually addresses the problems encountered in both the civil and criminal courts, allowing legal professionals to take pride in their work rather than inducing them to be going around the rules (thus inviting corruption) to make the legal system only appear to be getting the job done as they now do in Lee County and most likely elsewhere.
To see a more recent discussion of the case but prior to May 18, 1997, when I was arrested in Gainesville, go to CURRENT CASE STATUS.
For a discussion of the events leading to and after the plea bargain of June 13, 1997 go to GETTING A CONFESSION
The main page of this web site is LEGAL REFORM THROUGH TRANSFORMING THE DISCIPLINE OF LAW INTO A SCIENCE.