Comment: The following is a complete copy of a psychologists report resulting from a 2.5 hour session with him. I have added my comments as indicated.
Deborah C. Silver, Psy.D.
David C. Blackmon, Ph.D.
Tom Baker, Ph.D.
Jody A. Galloway, Psy.D.
May 20, 1996
The Honorable William J. Nelson
Judge of the Circuit Court
20th Judicial Circuit
Lee County Court House
1700 Monroe Street
Ft. Myers, Fl 33901
Re: State v. Robert F. Allston, Case No. 94-803CF-WJN
Dear Judge Nelson:
I was court requested to perform an examination of Robert F. Allston in order to provide the Court with relevant psychological information for determining Mr. Allston's competency to stand trial.
Comment: It is not clear to me just who ordered this report but the News-Press story about me indicates it was the prosecution.
Mr. Allston was interviewed on April 9, 1996. Mr. Allston is charged with two counts of corruption by threat, and written threat to kill or harm.
The basic facts of the case are these. For many years Mr. Allston has petitioned the Lee County Commission for creation of a Municipal Service Benefit Unit (MSBU) in order for him to construct a road to his property.
Comment: My recollection is that this wasn't actively a problem for more than a year and that the problem concerned the County Attorney's Office not the County Commission.
Thus far, his requests have been denied. Frustrated by what he perceived as political stonewalling, Mr. Allston composed a treatise entitled "Notes on Institutional Corruption in the Lee County Attorney's Office." On or about March 23, 1994, Mr. Allston presented himself at the Office of David Owen, an Assistant County Attorney and left his treatise. In this tract he details the problems he feels he has experienced with the Lee County Commission, and why they should be more sympathetic to his entreaties.
Comment: Dr. Silver is dodging the issue. As I explained it to him the problem was that the County Attorney's Office was lying to me about the law on a thing called MSBUs; claiming it didn't apply to my property when it did and I had advised that I was going to other counties or academia to get the truth. This is set forth in my COVER LETTER to the above mentioned paper addressed to Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah.
In his writing he uses the political philosophies of Aristotle and John Locke to bolster his arguments. However the part that really grabbed official concern was the following statements:
"So let me relate how easily I could apply my talents to blow up the Lee County Attorney's Office."
He then goes on to detail how this could be accomplished. He states:
"I would then buy the cheapest briefcase I could get, place my creation in it, take the elevator to the floor with the County Attorney's, light the fuse, set the briefcase down, and exit briefly down the stair."
After these statements were read and interpreted as a treat he was arrested and put in the Lee County Stockade for the next 10 months. While incarcerated he used the time to write and file all kinds of motions. The brunt of these has been that he is being illegally prosecuted by "corrupt authority" and his rights are being denied.
Comment: Again, Dr. Silver is not relating what I said. I don't recollect filing more than a couple of motions and I'm sure I told him that my public defender was refusing to communicate with me month after month. Inmates usually wait about 3 months to be offered a plea bargain not ten months as I had waited, and I didn't know the charges against me all that time. Dr. Silver knew all this. There is a class of inmate that files endless meritless legal papers. Dr. Silver's objective is to associate me with them to discredit me.
Interestingly, at age 57 this was his first personal experience with the criminal justice system. But, a result of his experience, he decided to devote himself to becoming a reformist-crusader. In framing his argument, he seems to be taking the model of the Founding Fathers of our country.
Comment: This is pure fabrication. I certainly view myself as an activist for legal reform and I have no problem with the founding fathers but my activism has nothing to do with the founding fathers
To his mind he likens the situation he faces with the tyranny of England toward the original American colonies.
Comment: This is more pure fabrication. It has nothing to do with the tyranny of England
Having read the Declaration of Independence and columnist Charles Reese, he believes "When a government rather than protecting and preserving rights, becomes abusive of those rights people have the right, even the duty to overthrow and replace that government."
Comment: This is more pure fabrication. Of course I have no problems with the Declaration of Independence and I can see why professional people like him and Lee County Government would cause people to pursue their rights under it; but it has nothing to do with my activism.
For, as Dr. Silver is well aware, revolution is just the opposite of what I was and am working for. I gave Dr. Silver a BRIEF ON EQUITY I had written in jail which quoted COLUMNIST CHARLIE REESE as well as COLUMNIST CAL THOMAS, both of whom were advocating revolution. My concern was not for promoting revolution, but how to head off the revolution they were advocating.
Rather than following the lead of the founding fathers, I am following the lead of Henry David Thoreau, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, in acts of civil disobedience. Rather than advocating revolution which I believe, (and he is well aware of it) would be an unmitigated DISASTER, I am doing what I can to reform the legal system before it gets this nation into a revolution. Again, it must be said, that Dr. Silver's motives in intentionally misconstruing these things is to discredit my civil disobedience and flavor it with mental illness as a smokescreen to avoid having to address the myriad of crooked dealings of lawyers and judges.
That has become his mission. In service to this, he is willing to sacrifice his health, his financial well-being, and even his personal liberty.
Comment: More fabrication. As Dr. Silver is well aware, assassinating my character in the press, throwing me in jail for ten months and destroying me financially was indeed hard on my health, leaving me penniless and without health care. But Lee County Government is responsible for it not me.
Mr. Allston has done this by becoming a thorn in the side of the Court and prosecution and even those attorneys appointed to help him. He is now on his third attorney, who apparently would also like to resign, having concluded he is a "nut case". That is, he is totally unreasonable.
Comment: Dr. Silver is well aware that I have accused the legal establishment of falsifying affidavits and falsifying criminal charges against me among many other things and that I have accused my own attorneys of refusing to address these things and he knows I expect them to address them. Dr. Silver is in no position to judge whether it is reasonable or unreasonable and has no business making such a judgment without examination of all the relevant issues which in any event it was not his job to do; nor, presumably does he have the legal expertise to do it.
One apparent reason for this is that he has steadfastly refused plea bargains and defeated releases from further jail time.
Comment: Thus, Dr. Silver finds it totally unreasonable to refuse plea bargains based on false criminal charges, among many other things. For, it was only my civil disobedience that finally got 3 out of the 4 crooked charges thrown out outright, as discussed in the section on the SETTLEMENT, as crooked as it was, compared for instance, to the PLEA BARGAIN that I was offered after having been in jail for ten months.
Another way he has fought the system and sought to highlight his cause has been to stage hunger strikes.
In a January 12, 1995 hearing, he was ordered out of jail, and released on his own recognizance against his wishes. Released from the Lee County Jail, he refused to leave the lobby, and was escorted to the Ft. Myers Rescue Mission, but then he returned to the Jail Lobby.
Comment: Dr. Silver fails to mention that I told him the reason for all this -- that I wanted the legal system to start looking at its corrupt dealings. He also might have mentioned that I thought the order sending me to the Rescue Mission was void for lack of jurisdiction over either me or the subject.
He was then taken to the Ruth Cooper Center, where he was deemed not Baker actable because they did not find he was a danger to himself or others, or that he could not provide self-care.
Comment: Again Dr. Silver fails to mention that I told him the reason they took me to the Ruth Cooper mental health center was to get me out of the lobby when an ARTICLE about me appeared in the Cape Coral Breeze so I couldn't talk to any members of the public who might come into the lobby to see me about the crooked dealings.
He then returned to the jail lobby, subsequently went to the State Attorney's Office and refused to leave until he got a complete copy of his files. He, therefore, was arrested again and spent another three months in jail.
Comment: Dr. Silver might have mentioned that the reason I wanted the files was because I wanted to see if they contained a sworn statement required to support the charges against me from Commissioner Judah among many other things. He also leaves out the fact that my public defenders were refusing to help me obtain the file or get this information otherwise even though I had the right to have a copy of the file and the right to this very important information. All of this he knew.
Indeed, it was my long struggle to prove the simple matter that the State Attorney didn't have the sworn statement that is the reason both of the charges concerning Commissioner Judah were thrown out in the plea bargain of 6/13/97; as crooked as it was.
Another attempt was made to send him to the Ruth Cooper Center, but apparently he was not even admitted. During the times he has been out of jail he has lived on the streets, or at missions, the Salvation Army, or with friends.
Mr. Allston says he is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in economics. He also said he was on the staff of MIT as a mathematician, and that he formerly worked for IBM, and that he has been a real estate developer and businessman in Lee County since 1986. But by his own decisions and course of actions, he has rendered himself penniless and homeless.
Comment: It appears that Dr. Silver's purpose here is to shift blame away from the corrupt legal establishment for my penniless and homeless condition. He clearly is in no position to make any judgment that it was my own decisions and actions that made me penniless and homeless.
He is of course well aware of the things I told him during the interview and which he has consistently distorted or omitted from this report. Clearly, I didn't have myself arrested under false charges, I didn't force myself to stay in jail for 10 months portrayed as criminally insane in the press without trial or the offer of a plea bargain while all my real estate went into forclosure and while my public defender refused to respond to me month after month. And I didn't have anything to do with creating the false charges, portraying me as criminally insane in the press, doctoring the record, falsifying affidavits etc.
The fact that he has chosen principle over practicality, idealism over reality, and sometimes prison over freedom, has caused many to question his sanity. In his mind he sees himself as a warrior on the grand tradition of American revolutionary patriots, an adherent to civil disobedience, upholding the noble tradition right of a citizen to redress his grievances. As far as Mr. Allston is concerned, the value and worth of his life is now tied up in his notion of integrity, which is to remain true to his principles, no matter how perverse this may seem to others.
There exist for him, though, a number of personal psychological motives and rewards for his behavior. First of all he is asserting himself as unique and distinct from the usual alleged criminal. By his behavior he is asserting that he is a man to be reckoned with. He is also trying to make the point that he cannot be dealt with like others, that is, with the usual criminal sanction alone. Now that all he owns has been taken away, the only thing he has left to sacrifice is himself. As far as he is concerned, his cause (i.e. citizen civil rights), is one that is important enough for any sacrifice. Also, by provoking authorities to "hit him with their best shot" he is attempting to make the point that he will not go away or give up because they have the power to punish. Thus, he has no interest in plea bargains or legal maneuvers because they do not provide what he wants, which is, redemption. In essence, he wants the charges dismissed and to be told he was misjudged and mistreated. Short of this, he seems willing to try to embarrass the system by forcing it to be vindictive and harsher than necessary.
It appears once engaged, Mr. Allston is unwilling to disengage the legal system. In his mind he has turned this into a psychological, emotional and legal quest that provides the potential for satisfying principle. It evidently fits some animating David and Goliath theme in his life. Thus, on his part, he is unwilling to compromise, and but instead, wants to press for the opportunity to use the court as a forum to exposing injustice. Thus only if the prosecution disengages, would it be hard for him to disengage his fight. Given his behavior thus far, it is certainly easy to understand why his competency has been questioned. Under similar circumstances the vast majority of people would want to talk things out rather than act things out and compromise and not chose a course of action with such high probability of a futile outcome.
Certainly, Mr. Allston is an intelligent, well-educated, articulate gentleman.
Comment: What can I say?
He provides no prior history of any mental illness or psychological treatment. He denies alcohol use problems or illegal drug use. He is alert, aware and oriented. There is no evidence of hallucinations, delusions or distortion in reality contact. He is, though rather obsessively involved in his legal case. Indeed, he has taken it upon himself to do legal research, and has filed a number of appeals which were denied. Thus, his knowledge of legal and judicial matters, and even philosophical issues related to his case is superior to the average individual. As such, he certainly is well informed on the charges, range and nature of potential penalties, the various pleas open to him, and what constitutes a plea bargain. He well understands the role of the prosecutor, his attorney, the judge and jury. He has an articulate ability to disclose pertinent facts regarding his case, and to realistically challenge prosecution witnesses. He was mannerly, polite and courteous, and has behaved appropriately in previous court proceedings. He can present his ideas in a coherent, relevant, persuasive fashion. Thus, he is well able to testify relevantly.
The areas in which his competency seems most likely to be questioned are his ability to relate to his attorney, to assist his attorney in planning his defense, and, his motivation to help himself in the legal process. However, there was no evidence that he has been hostile or threatening or abusive toward any of his attorneys. The issue seemed to be that he wanted to initiate a large, broad scale attack on the local judicial system, that would attempt to prove conspiracy and misconduct on the part of the State Attorney's Office. He was unwilling to accept the legal advice that this was an untenable legal strategy. One could also raise the question of possible active, self-destructive manipulation of the legal process on his part. Of all the competency criteria, this one seems most valid in Mr. Allston's case. That is, despite his high sounding rhetoric about rights, civil government and corruption, the end result of his campaign has been rather disastrous for him. But, what is the formula for deciding what is worth martyring oneself for. This seems to be the question in this case.
It does appear that Mr. Allston's life started off with promise. After college he held somhis petitioning Lee County Commission for a designation for a Municipal Benefit Service Unit. After repeated, unsuccessful attempts, he wrote and presented his polemic paper. His language was interpreted as threatening. He claims this was put in as an aside, and he apparently has no prior history of violent threats.
Comment: The above description of events is what the prosecution at trial tried to convince the jury of but it is not the way I presented it to him, suggesting further the prosecution had something to do with writing the report. His statements that I wasn't doing well are just false. For instance, my net worth at the time I was arrested was in excess of $1,300,000, higher than it had ever been before. This was in real estate that went into foreclosure while I was in jail and couldn't make payments on.
Generally he appears meek and mild mannered. While prior behavior is the best predictor of future behavior this, of course, is no guarantee that he may be an untypical case. Mr. Allston has never married and has no children.
While there is some question that Mr. Allston's behavior represents self-destructive manipulation of the legal system arising from his own personality dynamics, other than this, in my opinion, his knowledge and understanding of the elements that constitut e competency is quite good.
Robert B. Silver, Ph.D.
Diplomate in Clinical Psychology, ABPP, FACP
Fellow, American College Forensic Psychology
cc: Lisa Crane-Plattner, Assistant State Prosecutor
Throughout the report, Dr. Silver has avoided mention of the multitude of specific issues that prosecutors or my defense attorneys are sensitive about.
At the same time, the report fabricartes many things, the obvious purpose being to discredit me as a rational person, discredit my civil disobedience, discredit my demands that the legal system address its corrupt dealing, make a claim that I am responsible for my financial downfall (thus the County is not responsible for ruining me), and claim I am self destructive (thus if I should become ill or die as a result of an act of civil disobedience or hunger strike, the county can claim it was because I was self destructive.)
The report implicitly assumes throughout that the legal system is honest and functional. This is not objective on Dr. Silver's part because he is not in a position to make this judgment; and of course the fact is some legal systems are crooked.
Should Dr. Silver have merely put into the report the issues I discussed with him and merely conceded the possibility that the legal system could be unethical, it would have been almost impossible for him to have characterized my actions as frivolous, misdirected and unfounded as he does.
It would appear hard to find justification for going into all these other areas merely to satisfy the objective of the report-- to determine whether I was mentally capable of standing trial, which he finally addresses at the end of the report.
I think that by the time I had my session with him, the legal establishment, including the State Attorney's Office and the County Attorney's Office as well as my public defender were aware they were not going to be able to have me declared incompetent to stand trial; so the actual purpose of hiring Dr. Silver (at a cost of $430, to taxpayers) was to address these other matters the government legal establishment wanted to avoid responsibility for.
Thus although clothed in the purpose of testing me for the ability to stand trial, I think its purpose was to make me look foolish, discredit my campaign to reform the legal system, discredit my accusations of crooked dealing, absolve the legal establi shment from the responsibility of having ruined my life, and the event I should have serious medical problems or die in a hunger strike or some other act of civil disobedience to be able to avoid responsibility for it by claiming it was a nonsensical self destructive act. As such, this report is one more weapon in governments arsenal to avoid responsibility and destroy criticism.
It is difficult to believe that this kind of report is something new for Dr. Silver, and it is possible he has an operating relationship with elements of the legal establishment to give them what they want for a price. That poses the question of how ma ny people have actually been committed to mental institutions or been seriously harmed otherwise through such means by Dr. Silver or others.
It would appear that if Dr. Silver believed I had paranoid schizophrenia it would have been part of his job to say so. See also information on another psychological REPORT ordered by the Court, stating I have paranoid schizophrenia.
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