Friday, September 27, 2013

Update on the Orlando Martinez de Castro hearing this morning!

Short and sweet, Judge Rodriguez denied Orlando Martinez de Castro's attorney's motions and it looks like Mr de Castro won't be coming back to South Miami any time soon. 

More later...

The return of Orlando Martinez de Castro to the City of South Miami?!

We'll know in a couple of hours, the former chief's attorneys have a special set hearing before the honorable Judge Jose M. Rodriguez this morning to determine whether or not he'll get his job back.  We'll update as soon as we have any information.

How do you guys think this'll turn out?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Still no information from my last public information request and an interesting court case...

As the title of the post says, we still haven't heard back from the City of South Miami regarding our last public information request where we requested information about the former police chief, Orlando Martinez de Castro, putting tracking devices on peoples cars.  As soon as we get any info, lol, we'll update.

On another note, I was cruising the Dade County court website looking for any new developments on the various stories we've been following and I stumbled upon this lawsuit that I knew nothing about...

It looks like former City of South Miami police chief, Orlando Martinez de Castro, filed suit against the city back in February, months before he was fired.  As always, click on the image to enlarge, the docket looks rather busy!  It also looks like there's going to be a special hearing tomorrow over at courthouse, anyone going that can fill us in?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

GPS tracking devices and stuff...

Since we started covering the goings on over at the City of South Miami, several people have been writing in about the former police chief, Orlando Martinez de Castro, putting GPS tracking devices on his foes vehicles in an effort to see what they were up to.  With that said, I don't think you can get any more on point than this video...

If we can take away anything from that video, it's this part:
Walter White:  Hank, isn't that illegal?  I mean isn't there some sort of unlawful search and something...
Hank Shrader: It's known as extralegal.  Trust me, it's our little secret.
Is that right?  Extralegal?  Extralegal means not regulated or sanctioned by law, so in essence, by placing a GPS tracking device on a subjects vehicle, essentially you're breaking the law.  I know there's at least one of our readers that got a warm and fuzzy feeling when they watched this episode of Breaking Bad.

So what's it take to for law enforcement to legally put one of these GPS tracking devices on a subjects vehicle?  According to Florida Statutes here's what's necessary...
F.S. 934.42 Mobile tracking device authorization.—
(1) An investigative or law enforcement officer may make application to a judge of competent jurisdiction for an order authorizing or approving the installation and use of a mobile tracking device.
(2) An application under subsection (1) of this section must include:
(a) A statement of the identity of the applicant and the identity of the law enforcement agency conducting the investigation.
(b) A certification by the applicant that the information likely to be obtained is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by the investigating agency.
(c) A statement of the offense to which the information likely to be obtained relates.
(d) A statement whether it may be necessary to use and monitor the mobile tracking device outside the jurisdiction of the court from which authorization is being sought.
(3) Upon application made as provided under subsection (2), the court, if it finds that the certification and statements required by subsection (2) have been made in the application, shall enter an ex parte order authorizing the installation and use of a mobile tracking device. Such order may authorize the use of the device within the jurisdiction of the court and outside that jurisdiction but within the State of Florida if the device is installed within the jurisdiction of the court.
(4) A court may not require greater specificity or additional information beyond that which is required by this section as a requisite for issuing an order.
(5) The standards established by the United States Supreme Court for the installation and monitoring of mobile tracking devices shall apply to the installation and use of any device as authorized by this section.
(6) As used in this section, a “tracking device” means an electronic or mechanical device which permits the tracking of the movement of a person or object.
According to F.S. 934.42 it takes a little more than waking up one day and deciding to put a tracking device on one of your foe's vehicles.  I wonder if a public information request to the fine folks over at the South Miami PD will produce the legal documents necessary to put a tracking device on someone's car?  I'll go ahead and put in a records request and see what happens.

Friday, September 20, 2013

With all the fuss over the Miami Dade County Police Public Corruption Unit lately...

It seems like a day doesn't go by without some mention of the Miami Dade County Police departments Public Corruption Investigations Bureau in the news.  A couple of months back Mayor Gimenez scales back the bureau by taking ten detectives, three sergeants, one lieutenant, three civilian analysts and an administrator and transferring them to other units within the department.  From the Herald article...
“I think the mayor sends a strong message he doesn’t have an appetite to fight public corruption,” said Police Benevolent Association President John Rivera. “It’s an embarrassment, especially in a corruption-rich community like Miami-Dade.”
What made this cut in staff over at the bureau even more suspicious was the fact that it happened while members of the bureau were conducting a major absentee ballot fraud investigation, again, from the Herald article...
The probe into ballot brokering, spurred by tips from a private eye, netted the arrest of one woman, Deisy Cabrera, who was seen entering Gimenez’s Hialeah campaign office. He denied wrongdoing.
Miami-Dade public corruption detectives, in an unrelated absentee ballot brokering case, arrested another man, Sergio Robaina, for alleged voter fraud. He and Cabrera are pending trial.
What can't be ignored though is the timing of the cuts over at the bureau, once again, from the Herald article...
But the union leader and police sources told El Nuevo Herald that key evidence was concealed for months in the electoral fraud case that exploded a year ago with the arrest of ballot collector Deisy Pentón de Cabrera a few blocks away from Giménez’s campaign office in Hialeah.
They also questioned why no warrant was executed for a raid on the campaign office, even though Cabrera was seen entering and leaving the place carrying absentee ballots in her hands.
What I find the most suspicious though are the recent stories about overtime abuse by members of the public corruption unit that have surfaced...
Officers with the Miami-Dade police public corruption unit collected more than $58,000 in overtime pay during an investigation that led to the arrest of four employees for stealing $3,000 in entry fees at a county park in Hialeah.
“This case has raised concerns,” Miami-Dade Police Director J.D. Patterson, told el Nuevo Herald on Tuesday. “And I say concerns because there was a significant investment of resources for such a small case.”
Patterson, who took over as chief last year, said in August he had concerns about the management of the public corruption unit. At the time, the police hierarchy was strongly criticized for the unit’s downsizing.

Read more here:

Read more here:
I for one don't buy all this bullshit and think this is nothing more than a smear campaign against the folks over at the Public Corruption Unit.  While they criticize all the O.T. hours spent on this case, why not mention the hundreds if not thousands of hours that are spent on cases that never end with a single arrest?  This latest story in the Herald is simply the mayor and his staff trying to justify the downsizing of the bureau to the public while glossing over the fact that they reassigned a number of cops that were getting a little to close for comfort with their absentee ballot investigations...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

For those of you who want to know why the Airways Auto Tag Agency case still isn't resolved...

A number of our readers keep asking us why the criminal case that arose from the alleged theft of tens of thousands of dollars by three tellers from the Airways Auto Tag Agency hasn't been resolved yet.  While I wish there was some great explanation as to why the case has been delayed, it's going on 2+ years now, there really is no excuse.  Perhaps the best way to sum up the situation is to take a look at this quote from the Justice Building Blog yesterday...
Law schools already churn out lawyers, the effects of which are price pressures for services in the marketplace. But you get what you pay for. And from our lofty perspective, the sight of poor families squeezing out a few dollars in the mistaken belief that a "private lawyer" will do a better job than a public defender results in lawyers who are nothing more than plea mills- incapable by lack of training in trying a case, and unable financially (based on ridiculously low fees) to afford to do anything more than plea out their client.
That's the sad truth behind most of the "private lawyers" running around the justice building these days.  They'll keep grinding their clients for more money, explaining for months at a time that they're working on the case, they're talking to the prosecutor (who happens to be their friend), they're working out a deal, etc all the while promising to take the case to trial and then finally putting you in a corner and trying to jam a plea down your throat.  You don't want the plea?  Well then, get another lawyer!

Monday, September 16, 2013

The fish demoted?

Last week we introduced you to City of South Miami Detective Jose F. Lopez who previously worked over at the City of Sweetwater and was somehow involved in the beating of 19 year old Peter Daniel back in 2003.  His involvement in this beating ended with Mr. Lopez resigning while under investigation for the beating after which he resurfaced at the City of South Miami where I'm told he became former Chief Orlando Martinez de Castro's closest allies.  

Immediately after posting the story on Detective Lopez, one of our readers sent us this...
Quit? Depart? No no no! That cannot BE! Dear Papa needs his little Ferminfish to stay right there with his sweaty ear pressed to the wall, gathering dirt and spewing bile on the usurpers of the Chiefdom, and preparing the dear faithful few for the Third Coming of the Greatest of all Chiefs. And so shall come unto SMPD the Rapture, and all who hold faith in these dark times shall be taken by Him up to Hialeah. So, until that glorious day, stay the Fish must, bearing his cross for Papa, even if stripped of his gold badge, even if put on motors... at night... in the rain... on Sundays... and holidays. 
Ok, now the day after I got this, someone else sends me this...
Lopez has a shit load of open cases that he hasn't closed... But that's not a problem cause he's back on patrol.
I take that to mean that Detective Lopez has been demoted to patrol?  YIKES!

I don't know much about the inner workings of the SMPD, but what I do know for sure is that Detective Officer Lopez, was one of former Chief de Castro's main conduits for information after his departure and still one of his closest confidants.  I guess the only information he'll be able to convey to him now is whatever he can glean from behind the wheel of a marked police car!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

You'll never believe where shitty cops from Sweetwater end up...

We left off last time discussing a video showing a Sweetwater cop beating the shit out of a man with his hands cuffed behind his back who was being beaten because he wouldn't put his hands on the counter in front of him.  While this incident occurred back in 2010, it's not the first case of a horrendous beating at the hands of the Sweetwater PD.  Take a look at this story from back in 2003, here are some of the salient points from the article...
A 19- year-old man has accused three police officers of severely beating him, and says the mayor later saw them punch him in the head before driving them all to the station.
I guess the beating had the mayoral seal of approval!
Four Sweetwater police officers have been suspended with pay while the Miami-Dade County state attorney's office and the police department investigate what happened to Peter Daniel on June 18.
Suspended with pay? What kind of punishment is that? Someone please suspend me with pay!
Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Marono said that his city- owned Ford Excursion was used to take Daniel to the station, but he refused further comment.
Sweet! I suppose ex Mayor Morono was a hands on kind of guy!
A police report filed by another of the suspended officers, Allen St. Germain, said Daniel threw himself several times against the floor of the police station and the wall of his holding cell.
Of course he did!
Boros said that at the police station, police kicked and beat Daniel. At one point an officer lifted Daniel off the floor as another officer punched him in the stomach, he said.
Daniel said at one point, Boros said, the mayor sat next to him and saw one of the officers punch him in the head.
Is this how mayoral meetings go over at the City of Sweetwater?
Then, Boros said, the mayor returned to the driver's seat and drove Daniel and his friend, Danny Izquierdo, back to the station, where Izquierdo was questioned for a while, then released.
Like I said, former mayor Morono was a hands on kind of guy!  Here's the best part though...
The other officers suspended were Jose F. Lopez and Sgt. George I. Alvarez.
While I don't recognize any of the other officers, I certainly do recognize Mr. Jose F. Lopez. From the Herald Tribune's Florida police officer database...

Jose F. Lopez
SWEET!  So he's involved in beating the shit out of this poor guy, get's a complaint filed against him, miraculously the Sweetwater PD find no cause and don't discipline him yet quits while under investigation and ends up becoming a detective over at the South Miami PD under former police chief Orlando Martinez de Castro!  

I know very little about this Lopez character, perhaps our readers can fill us in?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Sweetwater police!

With all this talk about corruption over at Sweetwater recently, this video of a Sweetwater cop beating a poor guy that in custody has begun making the rounds again, take a look...

From the CBS4 story from a couple of years back...
But other questions are raised by the officer’s sworn arrest affidavit from the April 17, 2010 incident.
(officer) Abreu claimed that once they arrived at the station, he ordered Dominguez “4 to 6” times to place his hands on the counter inside the police department. He said Dominguez refused to comply with his demands. Abreu also swore that “suspect launch forward toward officer” and that as a result the suspect was “taken down to floor.” Abreu added the charge of resisting arrest with violence against Dominguez.
OK! But...
A review of the video, however, shows that Dominguez, 38, could not possibly comply with Abreu’s command to place his hands on the counter because his hands were cuffed behind his back. Also nowhere on the video is Dominguez seen launching himself toward the officer. On the contrary, Dominguez was standing still when Abreu grabbed him and threw him to the ground.
And of course...
Neither the State Attorney nor the Sweetwater Police Department addressed the issue of whether Abreu may have filed a false report under oath or whether he intentionally charged Dominguez with a crime he did not commit.
Did you expect any different?  That brings us to the old joke, How many Sweetwater police officers does it take to throw a defendant down a flight of stairs?  None, the defendant fell on his own, repeatedly.

So what's this got to do with our ongoing stories about South Miami?  Stay tuned, on Monday we'll illustrate the link between Sweetwater, police brutality, cover ups and the South Miami Police Department...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

With all the mayors being arrested last month...

With all the mayors being arrested last month, you almost get the feeling that the tides might be turning against public corruption down here in Miami Dade County.  Not so fast though, this isn't the first time a sitting mayor has gotten arrested down here, unfortunately the people handling these cases down here have nasty habit of bungling them.  Case in point, former South Miami mayor Horace Feliu who was arrested back in 2004...
Horace Feliu, who became South Miami's mayor in November, was arrested Monday night on suspicion of elections fraud, city officials said.
Feliu, 50, was charged with receiving a late contribution, receiving a contribution of more than $500, and receiving a contribution in a public building -- all misdemeanors, South Miami police spokesman Charles Barzek said.
What's worse than the lame ass case they put together against Feliu was the timing of the arrest...
His arrest comes a day before a city election in which he was seeking another term. 
Feliu was finishing the term of former Mayor Julio Robaina, who is now a state representative.
Feliu's vice mayor, Mary Scott Russell, said she was surprised by the allegations. 
"The night before an election, this is the last thing you want to hear. I wanted to win a fair fight," Russell added.
Anyone notice the similarities between Mr. Feliu's arrest and the spate of recent mayoral arrests?  While Mr. Feliu's arrest came the day before the election, the other mayors arrested recently, Pizzi, Maroño and Bateman, were all arrested just as their respective campaign seasons were about to start.

With that said, before we start getting all excited about these guys getting convicted, let's not forget how things ended up for Mr. Feliu, who not only was acquitted of all charges in court but then went on to serve two more terms as mayor of South Miami and sued the state attorney and three county investigators...

Another thing to consider is the timing of Homestead mayor Steve Bateman's arrest.  The state attorney's office has known about Mr Bateman's misdeeds for years and turned a blind eye to him.  Is it possible that the feds arresting Pizzi and Maroño shamed the sao into arresting Bateman after years of inaction in order to save face?