On Monday, 3/10/97, I sent email introductions to my legal reform web page to many law and other university faculty members throughout the state; my ideas on legal reform being targeted of course toward academia. On the following Friday 3/14/97, unknown to me at the time, on the Court's own motion I was appointed another attorney, Brian Boyle, Esq., even though trial was scheduled within a week or two. My attorney at the time, John Hendry, Esq., had quit the practice of law and moved to the East Coast of Florida; so such a move could have been expected at some time and was in fact of course way overdue.
As with all my previous attorneys, I was not consulted nor did I have any choice in the matter although I had requested it on many occasions. The close proximity of the introduction of my web page to the appointment suggests to me the two events may have been related; the good old boys of Ft. Myers wanted someone to bail them out with a settlement of the affair, as always of course, without having to address their crooked dealings.
I received notification of the appointment through my former attorney, John Hendry's secretary. Subsequently I called Mr. Boyle about once every ten days or so to keep in touch. Each time I called, whether I talked to him or his secretary (his secretary most of the time) I requested that he learn the case from my web page since it was the best exposition of it that I had by a wide margin. But although he said he had access to the Internet, each time I called he waffled on the subject and never did consult it, to my knowledge, even after I was arrested or at any other time.
Indeed, as time went on, although he was talking about getting the record from my former attorney, John Hendry (in another small town-- LaBelle-- about thirty miles away) and I assume he did get it, it became increasingly clear that he simply wasn't learning the case; either for the purposes of plea bargaining or for trial. On one occasion in jail I asked him what he was getting paid and he said $800 of which he would receive about $500 himself. Although he said he would fund it himself, I would assume this was far short of an amount sufficient to take the case to trial.
On Sunday, May 18, 1997, about 7 PM I was laying down on the concrete bench in the patio of the Alachua County Library in Gainesville, Florida, when I was approached by two Gainesville police for vagrancy (I assume). I had been there literally hundreds of times previously as it is a pleasant place. I would typically stay until about 9 PM or so; never having been bothered by police previously. They did a check and found there was a warrant out for me in Lee County (Ft. Myers) so they made no charges against me but arrested me so I could be transported down to Fort Myers which was done on Wed. 5/21.
When arrested I went on a hunger and medications strike. I have no thyroid gland (it having been removed for cancer some 15 years ago in an operation called a total thyroidectomy) so I have to take synthroid for a substitute.
According to my notes, I was on a hunger and medication strike from 5/18 through 5/22. In order to revive myself sufficiently to write a letter to my attorney, Mr. Boyle, and take care of a few other things, I ceased the hunger strike starting 5/23 through 6/1, Sunday. However I did not take the synthroid which slowed me up very considerably; it having to do with a person's metabolism.
I got a copy of my letter to Mr. Boyle off in the US mail to the Clerk's Office for filing and distribution to Mr. Boyle, Judge Nelson and the State Attorney, from the jail on 5/30; and hand delivered a copy of it to Mr. Boyle at a jail visit on 6/4, Wednesday.
My LETTER to Mr. Boyle requested him to contact the members of the Florida Legislature that had gone on record as favoring moving the discipline of attorneys from the Bar to the legislature and I was continuing my hunger strike pending their response. Thus I continued my hunger and medications strike in jail starting 6/2 (Monday), all that week until the evening meal of Wednesday, 6/11, of the following week.
Since I had hand delivered a copy to him on Wednesday, 6/4, and the Clerk noted in the record that he had sent a copy to him, Judge Nelson and the State Attorney on 6/4 also, Mr. Boyle probably received a copy of it from the Clerk the following day, Thursday, 6/5, also. I also asked him if he would do what I asked in the letter and he said he would.
Contacting these legislators was no minor point to me because I was being pushed into a settlement that I wanted nothing to do with; knowing that if I could have an honest trial or settlement otherwise, I would win it easily. At stake also was all of the crooked dealing that I had fought for so long over these three years to expose. After all, I had had a trial with another attorney (Mr. Hendry) who was no more inclined to give me an honest defense than was Mr. Boyle, that, even so, had resulted in a hung jury.
I was placing my life on the line in the hope that one or more of these legislators would take an interest in the case sufficiently to see that I could get an honest trial or otherwise terminate the case in an honest manner such as a motion to dismiss on the grounds of bad faith by the prosecution; and address the myriad of crooked dealings.
By Monday 6/9, I had had no synthroid since 5/18, and hadn't eaten since 6/1. The lack of synthroid was making me extremely tired and weak as was the hunger strike; although how much of it was due to either is somewhat problematical. On the following day, I was given a blood pressure check in the morning and then taken to get weighed. My blood pressure was checked at the scale again and found to be much higher.
Around 4 PM that afternoon, 6/10, I was taken in a wheelchair to Lee Memorial Hospital where I stayed in the emergency room for about three hours, refusing all treatment. The attending doctor said I could die.
I returned to the jail that night still refusing treatment, with the hope that Mr. Boyle had (or would) honor my request to contact the legislators. However, around this time or a little later, his secretary told me on the telephone that as far as she knew he hadn't contacted any of them. I continued my hunger and medication strike all the next day, Wednesday, until the evening meal which I ate.
However when I asked for the synthroid, having had none since before 5/18, I was told by the medical section that I would not get any until I got out of jail. This of course meant that if I was to get any synthroid I would have to settle the case because that was the only way I knew of that I would get out of jail.
It was becoming an increasingly confusing world and I was very weak from the on and off hunger strike and lack of synthroid. I had been without the synthroid longer than I had ever been previously and I was worried about what the doctor had told me. As well, trial was scheduled for around the 23rd of the month and I was concerned that I would be all but comatose if I didn't get the synthroid and even if I did I was concerned that I probably couldn't recover sufficiently to function reasonably at trial; whether or not my lawyer knew my case or whether or not he would address the "forbidden" issues. The synthroid is slow acting and it would take some time to bring me back up to normal mental and physical function; although I didn't know just how long.
Another worry was the testing in Gainesville about the prostate cancer. I had requested the medical section to get the results of the test which they agreed to but later when I continually asked them about it, they said they weren't going to get the results. I didn't want go get stuck in jail indefinitely with this issue unattended either. One must realize that I had been in jail already for ten months for no apparent reason and I knew it might happen again if from the standpoint of the legal establishment, the advantages outweighed the disadvantages.
Thus, the following day, Thursday, in the afternoon, I simply panicked, shaking the bars and screaming for my synthroid until I was hoarse. Immediately thereafter I was taken in a wheelchair to a small room with a telephone and my attorney was contacted. He got the State Attorney on another line. He wanted a settlement and I gave it to him. To the degree that I could think at the time, I knew I had to get out of jail at whatever cost; for I was simply in no position to allow myself to stay in jail longer.
That evening (Thursday) I received my first synthroid pill since before 5/18 when I was arrested. It has no effect just overnight so I was still about the same, feeling deathly tired and shaky the next morning, Friday, 6/13,97, when I was taken in a wheelchair to a hearing before Judge Nelson.
I felt I simply couldn't afford to say anything at the hearing that could put me back in jail. That is, I couldn't afford to have Judge Nelson say something like "Well, it appears we don't have a settlement here" which would have put me back in jail without bond; for a possibly long time.
For although I had received one synthroid pill there was no guarantee about the future; particularly if I backed out of the settlement. Virtually all inmates will tell you that if they don't accept a settlement offered to them they will be put back in jail for an indeterminate time period; often quite long. And after all, I had already spent 10 months in jail for, as far as I could see, nothing; for, even according to the SETTLEMENT, three of the charges were being thrown out, adjudication was being withheld on the fourth, and I wasn't being sentenced to the 10 months I had already served in jail ("time served" in jailhouse jargon). (Not to mention all manner of crooked legal dealings, smear campaigns in the press, phony psychological reports, etc.)
It was however vastly better than the PLEA BARGAIN that had been thrown at me as a price for my freedom after I had been held in jail for the ten months. In that case I was to be sentenced on all four charges to five years of community control and probation as well as the 10 months I had already spent in jail; so my long painful campaign of civil disobedience had brought me at least some reward.
As well, I had brought all manner of crooked dealings to Judge Nelson's attention on many previous occasions; which he had always ignored so there was every reason to think he could easily ignore these circumstances and just put me back in jail indefinitely if I complained of these immediate problems also.
I also only saw the written settlement agreement itself for the first time at the hearing so being as exhausted and nervous as I was I couldn't very well digest it and make an objective decision about it right at the hearing. (However, presenting settlement agreement documents to defendants for the first time at settlement hearing may be standard procedure-- I'm not sure.)
However, in the latter part of the hearing I did venture so far as telling Judge Nelson that the case against me was crooked, even twice as I remember, which as mentioned above I had said on many previous occasions, but as usual he just ignored it. He has been on the case since its inception in 1994 and he is well aware of the issues I have raised.
At the hearing I requested to stay at the medical section of the Salvation Army for 4 to 5 days to recover sufficiently to get about on my own. Consequently I was wheeled down for processing for release the same day after the hearing. However just about at the end of the processing I was taken out of processing and returned to jail. There was no explanation other than it was suggested there was some problem with the Salvation Army. I returned to jail that evening and was given another synthroid pill.
I was given another on Saturday evening but Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I got no pills. I also had no idea why I was being held in jail. When every inmate goes through processing, he gets an arm band which can't be removed with his name and number on it. He also must go through a First Appearance hearing within 24 hours of arrest. He also has charges against him. I had none of these as far as I knew. They had removed my arm band while processing my release the previous Friday. So on Wednesday afternoon after not having received any synthroid for three previous days and nobody willing to tell me why I was there, I placed the following sign on a letter size piece of paper on my cell bars:
I. NO CHARGES
II. NO FIRST APPEARANCE
III. NO ARM BAND
WHY IS ALLSTON HERE?
After a number of hours and being unable to get anyone to address why I was there, I panicked again, this time banging on the metal bars with my slipper and screaming as loud as I could for attention.
After about an hour, one of the corrections officers appeared and said he would check on it. Subsequently, another officer appeared and said I would be released on the following Friday. I agreed to wait since I was totally exhausted and happy to get anyone to tell me anything; having no choice in the matter anyway. I was in all probability being illegally held since it was agreed I was to be released the day of the settlement.
Later, in the hope of getting my synthroid that evening, I placed a sign in the bars that stated:
MEDICAL'S VENDETTA FOR MY HUNGER STRIKE:
ILLEGALLY HELD WITHOUT SYNTHROID FOR 4 DAYS
I was lucky and they gave me a synthroid pill that evening and the following evening (Thursday) as well. As promised, I was released on Friday, 6/20, just a month and two days since I had been arrested up in Gainesville, and transported to the Fort Myers Salvation Army.
Here however, another shock was in store for me. I was told at the Salvation Army for the first time that I had been diagnosed with what I gather to be a rather serious mental disorder, PARANOID SCHIZOPHRENIA. I spent the following 5 days in the Salvation Army medical section, which I needed, after which I was released. When I was released my hands still shook, probably from the nervous stress, and they still did several months later, but to a lesser extent.
This exercise of my arrest in Gainesville through to my release a month and two days later probably cost the taxpayers another $5,000, added to something over $60,000 they had already spent in the good old boy's frantic drive to get me convicted of something. The medical section probably costs something like $100/day; and I had been there since being transported from Gainesville. Indeed the extra week I was probably illegally held probably cost them something like another $700 alone.
All my dealings with my newly court appointed lawyer suggested he had no intentions of giving me honest representation; or indeed of taking the case to trial. He was hired for the single purpose of getting a settlement as a bail out for government and the legal profession.
Moreover, I had written him a very polite LETTER explaining the problem to him, placing my life and health in jeopardy and enduring great pain, requesting him to reach out to these legislators. However he was willing to let me die rather than do so; although what I had requested of him was clearly perfectly legal and may have been within my right as a client to expect of him.
The main page of this Web site is LEGAL REFORM THROUGH TRANSFORMING THE DISCIPLINE OF LAW INTO A SCIENCE.