Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Former South Miami police officer Richard Munoz's federal indictment and subsequent plea agreement.

As the title of today's post states, here they are...

Considering that Mr. Munoz was indicted by "information" it means that he had cut a deal early on and was cooperating with the feds.  It should be interesting to find out what the result of his ongoing cooperation with the feds will be.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ex South Miami cop federally indicted...

Our comments section has been abuzz about this recently, from the Herald...

By Brenda MedinaThe Miami Herald 
Authorities arrested a former South Miami detective on extortion and fraud charges in a case that reaches into Sweetwater.
Richard Muñoz, a 15-year South Miami veteran until his retirement last year, pleaded guilty March 14 on charges of taking advantage of his position and using false information with intent to commit fraud.
Muñoz’s crimes may be linked to charges against Sweetwater officer William García, arrested in August on charges of identity theft and credit card fraud, but public documents in the federal case did not provide details. However, sources familiar to the case said Muñoz, 45, will be an important witness against García.
Muñoz, who was arrested on March 10, reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors last week after he agreed to be on a list of more than 50 potential witnesses against García when his trial begins in April.
Muñoz had pleaded not guilty when he was first arrested. He is now free on bail and his sentencing has been scheduled for May 9, at which time he could face up to five years in prison.
Muñoz’s lawyer, Gustavo Lage, could not be reached for comment.
South Miami Police Chief Rene Landa said on Wednesday that the crimes committed by Muñoz do not reflect the culture of his department.
“We were not aware of these activities until now, when they were made public,” Landa said. Muñoz was detached to the Drug Enforcement Administration on a task force for more than a year, Landa said.
According to the agreement with federal prosecutors, Muñoz was not charged with giving false information in an official DEA statement.
Sweetwater suspended García after his August arrest. He has maintained his innocence. His defense attorneys say their client acted within his authority as an officer and, in several cases, under orders from his supervisors.
In early March, García asked the city to pay his legal fees. Sweetwater commissioners denied the request.
FBI agents arrested García in August, accusing him of using counterfeit credit cards and stealing credit card numbers, including the card of a suspect he had arrested. García worked with an informant, who later agreed to cooperate with the FBI.
García’s arrest was another scandal that shook Sweetwater in 2013. The FBI also arrested then-Mayor Manuel “Manny” Maroño on charges of accepting bribes in exchange for official favors using his position as an elected official. Maroño plead guilty and is now in federal prison, serving a 40-month sentence.
The scandal also affected other officers. Octavio Oliu and Reny García have been suspended with pay since September, while federal and county authorities conduct an investigation of the Sweetwater force. Auxiliary police officer Richard Brenner also was suspended, but was reinstated, then fired late last year.
Also, as part of the investigation, authorities are reviewing the activities of a towing company linked to Maroño in connection with the police department.

Interesting, we'll dig up the criminal file and discuss tomorrow.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Miami Dade Commission on Ethics and Public trust fines City of South Miami Vice-Mayor Josh Liebman.

Back in October we wrote about City of South Miami Vice-Mayor, Josh Liebman, campaigning for one of his friends while on the dias.  You can see him babbling on here in this video endorsing his friend Donna Shelley...

Mr. Liebman's plug for his friend clearly violated several different laws and last week, the Ethics Commission saw it fit to punish Mr. Liebman for his actions.  From their press release...
South Miami Vice Mayor Josh Liebman agreed that there is Probable Cause he violated the “use of public property” section of his city’s Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics Ordinance when he endorsed a candidate for office in his official capacity during a televised and web-streamed city commission meeting. To avoid the time and expense of litigation, Liebman reached a settlement to the complaint (C 13-41), by entering a plea of No Contest and paying a fine of $250 and investigative costs of $500, which was approved today by the COE. His support for candidate Donna Shelley in last month’s election came during the “commissioner’s comments” portion of the October 15, 2013, city commission meeting. The Code prohibits the use of publicly-supported property to the advantage of the official or any other person.  Vice Mayor Liebman was speaking from the dais in a meeting that was broadcast throughout the city and is maintained on the city’s website, which is considered a public resource.
I suppose the punishment fits the crime in this instance, no children or animals were hurt, so I slap on the wrist and $750 in fines and costs seems more than appropriate.  

It's refreshing to see the Ethics Commission get something right for once after years of disappointments and free passes for the politically connected.  With that said, back to our regular programming tomorrow...

Friday, March 7, 2014

It's a matter of perspective.

Really, it is a matter of perspective.  Two different people can view the same situation in two completely different ways.  Let's cut to the chase today and compare the two accounts of what happened that fateful night back in 1986 at 2:26 am when a future detective gets pulled over by a sworn officer for having an improper exhaust and see just how different their accounts of what happened really are.

We'll start with what the suspect claims had happened in a letter that he sent in as part of his job application to the City of South Miami PD.  I'm going to skip the part about why and where he got pulled over as there's no dispute about that, here we go...
"While reaching for my driver's license and registration, I realized I had left my wallet at my friends car earlier that day, so I turned around and told the officer I did not have my drivers license with me but I did have my registration and handed it to him."
The cop said..
"...he stated that he didn't have his license with him and began looking for the registration and began looking for the registration in a black zipper bag." 
Ok,  so the subject said he left his wallet at his friends house but then after arresting the subject, the officer finds of all things, THE SUBJECTS WALLET...
"Search of wallet produced a Florida restricted drivers license #____________ which was altered by changing the expiration date with D's year of birth from 67 to 63."

Not only did the police officer find the subjects wallet that was allegedly left in a friends car, but he also managed to find the subjects drivers license as well!

Let's keep going, in his letter the subject goes on to say...
"The officer then lit the inside of the vehicle with his flashlight and noticed there were three passengers in the vehicle and also noticed a small empty vile (sic) lying inside the vehicle.  The officer pointed to it and asked me to get it for him.  As I handed it to him, I informed the officer that the vile (sic) did not belong to me and that I had never seen it before."
Ok, it sounds plausible, let's see what the officer saw...

"...he began looking for the registration in a black zipper bag.  This officer saw in the bag and observed a small brown glass vial containing a white powder residue suspect cocaine (sic).  Search of D's black bag further produced an envelope containing job cigarette papers and D's insurance papers, court records in D's name."

Wait a minute now, the subject says the vial of cocaine was on the floor while the cop said it was inside a black zipper bag along with a bunch of other crap that was undeniably the subject's!  Unless then we are to believe that the subject asked the fellows riding in the car with him to hide "their" vial of cocaine inside his "black zipper bag" that contained all his personal stuff.  Honestly, WTF?

Obviously, someone's full of shit.  I'll reiterate, it's not a matter of a young kid making a mistake and getting caught with some drugs in his car, it's a matter of a "man" several decades later deliberately misleading a police department about a mistake he made decades before.  Big difference, especially when the position he's looking to fill requires the utmost honesty and integrity and to uphold the laws of our state.  It's more than a matter of perspective, it's about deliberately misleading someone.

More coming, until then, have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Maybe it's all a misunderstanding?

While the detective who lied on his employment application about his previous drug arrest never admits why he forgot to tell the police department that he's currently working for about his past criminal history, he does make a fairly novel attempt at explaining away the whole incident in a letter I found the other day.  Take a look for yourselves...

Now, go back and compare that narrative to the police report we posted a few days back, take a good look, we'll discuss in detail tomorrow.

Friday, February 21, 2014

If you claim you've never been arrested on your job application, how do you explain this?

We left off a few days ago discussing a police detective who claimed that he had never been "arrested, convicted, or plead no contest to any violations of the law, police regulation, ordinance, traffic violations which resulted in fines or(sic) of more than $100.00" on his job application for the police department where he's currently employed.  We also raised the issue of the detectives integrity being compromised because of his dishonesty on his job application.  Since we made that post, our readers have been running wild in our comments section with all sorts of different comments ranging from arguing about the legality marijuana to allegations of the subjects of my recent posts being some sort of vendetta.  Whatever.

With that said, it's time to take a look a the police report from the incident that the detective forgot to mention on his job application, take a look and as always, click on the image to enlarge...

So from what we're able to glean from the report, the subject gets pulled over for some sort of improper exhaust on his car, the officer pulls the guy over then asks him for his drivers license and registration at which time he pulls out a black zippered bag and starts looking through it for his registration.  While he was doing so, the officer spotted a vial with some cocaine in it then decides to arrest the subject.  It gets better, once the officer starts searching through the bag, he finds some "job cigarette papers" aka "rolling papers" and a altered drivers license where the date of birth was changed from 1967 to 1963 which coincidentally would have made the subject 23 years old instead of 19, IE the perfect fake id to use to buy alcohol.  At the end of the day, the subject was then transported the the Dade County Jail where he invariably spent several hours in a holding cell after being booked.

The question that begs to be asked though, is considering how traumatic this experience must have been and the impact it must have left on the subject, how could he have forgotten all about it when it came time to fill out his employment application for a job as a police officer?

We're going to dig deeper into this story next week, in the interim, for all our readers that have been going on and on about marijuana and who's smoking and who's a pot head etc, please tell us, what exactly were those rolling papers found in the subjects vehicle used for?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

So you lied on your job application...

Like the title says, so you lied on your job application.  Under normal circumstances, this may not be that big of a deal.  After all, whats a little white lie on a job application?  Maybe you added a few years of work experience on your resume, made bogus claims about your education or even made up a job to fill in long spells of unemployment.  No biggie, right?  How about lying about past problems with the law?  I can understand why people would be reluctant about disclosing prior arrests and convictions, after all, as an employer, I certainly wouldn't want to hire someone with a questionable past.

So what if you have had past brushes with the law?  I guess if you lie on your employment application, you run the risk of the prospective employer checking your background, maybe you get lucky and they don't and perhaps you get the job?  That may work for some, but what if the job you want is in law enforcement?  Shouldn't you disclose everything about your past, even if it involves an arrest and a conviction?  After all, if you want to be a cop, isn't it a prerequisite for a cop to at the very least be honest, especially on an employment application?

Here's what were getting at, take a look at this screen shot of a particular detective's employment application (click on the image to enlarge)...

Now, clearly where it says "Have you ever been arrested, convicted, or plead no contest to any violations of the law, police regulation, ordinance, traffic violations which resulted in fines or(sic) of more than $100.00?" the applicant checked off "NO".  What we're going to find over the next several days is that indeed the individual who filled out this employment application was indeed arrested, convicted and plead to a violation of the law.  Furthermore, the individual who filled this application out was subsequently hired and made a detective.  

Now, you all tell me, how can any of the cases that this fellow put together during his career or any of the testimony he may have given for those cases be worth a shit when he perjured himself at the very get go when filling out his employment application?  This situation seems like a steaming pile of shit to me.  Even worse, if I were a defendant in a case put together by this fellow, I'd want my attorney to know about this situation with his employment application as it shows that from the very beginning of his career, the subject cop was dishonest.